From: Annie McDevitt
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 20 Oct 1996
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
Marissa, 8 yrs., Ivan, 8yrs., Arianna, 10 yrs.
Today was an eventful day. I feel like things are coming together and I feel some direction as to what to focus on. I spent a large portion of my time working with kids on an interesting program- "The Magic School Bus". This was probably the most intricately detailed program I've ever seen. Within the program, there were different settings, such as a classroom with a bunch of kids and a teacher, all kinds of educational tools such as a computer and a model of a heart. As observed Marissa playing on it, I found that everything she clicked the mouse on responded with some sort of action. If she clicked on a student, the student would start to say something educational. If she clicked on the model volcanoe, it would erupt.It was very interesting. I gathered that the goal of the program was to teach about different parts of the body. You could take a bus ride through the small intestine for example. One game I thought was interesting was where a disassembled skeleton appeared and the user had to put the bones together in the right places.The amount of different things you could do on the program amazed me. I watched two sets of kids use it and I'm sure I didn't see half of what it entailed. I thought it was a good program, not just because of the amount of information it held, but also because it was conducive to use by more than one student. Ivan and Arianna both worked on it , offering help to one another, and with some prompting, sharing turns on the mouse.
In the readings we have been doing lately, such as "Kids and Computers", we've been hearing a lot about kids working cooperatively in the classroom, learning from one another, and using their individual strengths to compliment one another. The computer program I observed gave me some vision for how that might occur. I would like to see our program be a one in which kids and adults strengths are affirmed through one another as well as one in which we work on our weak areas.
I'm beginning to see the importance of encouraging the skill of cooperation in the classroom. I think too often in the traditional classroom, too much time is spent working individually. There is a lot for kids to learn from one another, not just from adults. Through encouraging cooperative learning, social skills, which are also valuable, would be learned. I wonder if more cooperative learning was encouraged in the classroom, if less social problems such as exclusivity would occur on the playground. Maybe kids would learn to value one another if they were dependent on one another for learning and accomplishing.