FN#4 :draft#1:Oregon Trail, Victor left

From: Jakob Schulze
Submit: Post Field Note
VisitDate: 10/25/96
Unclear-Philosophy: Selected
Bottom-up: Selected
Top-down: Selected
Unclear-Approach: Selected
Informal: Selected
Date: 27 Oct 1996
Time: 00:27:41
Remote Name: as215-sparc-11.ucsc.edu


refers to Annie's message: Programs at BU not challenging enough?


Victor, 6th grade (and Filogono) Jakob


In monday's debriefing we agreed that most games are too easy for the older kids like Victor and that they seem bored. So I had made up my mind to try the Oregon Trail with one of them. I was convinced that it would become a good experience for the kids and me, because I like this more sophisticated type of games very much.

Victor came as one of the first kids. He came my way, because even though he not always knows what to do, he likes to "posses" a computer with cd-rom. there was a short fight (again with Filogono) about who was going to use the computer, which he won. I asked Victor if he would like to play Oregon Trail and told him that it would be more challenging and included some reading. He said he would like to play, so we installed the game (which took some time) and began to play.

But when we came to the first passage where some thoughts and reading were required, Victor became uneasy and finally got up, telling me he had to leave. I asked him where he had to go, and whether he just didn't like the game. But he just went away.

I waited for another kid to show up to play, but there weren't any. That was strange today: we were so many undergraduates and so few kids! Since no kid seemed to need my help and even my fellow students did pretty well I decided to try Oregon Trail on my own.

While I was playing, some other students came and watched and asked questions about what I was doing, but nobody stayed, so I played all alone until the end of the class.

Victor came in about twenty minutes after he had left, just saying that he really had to go now.


Victor, who had always seemed very good at all the games, seemed not to be willing to encounter a challenge that he might fail. Especially the reading seems to be aversive to him. I should try to find out how good his rerading really is. I believe the game might help him to come to enjoy reading once he is grabbed by the game and sees that reading is only a tool he needs for playing the game (as Ayal discussed earlier).

I was not really shure about what to do when Victor left, but my understanding was just to question what he was doing without further effort to stop him.

I can't tell much about his learning, but maybe I have aroused his interest. I learned that kids don't function the way I wish them to, and that it is not so easy to predict what suites them.

I also learned to play the game, which was very nice!


Was I too preoccupied with my idea about playing Oregon Trail?

How can I motivate kids to overcome their sluggishness, so they experience things they would not experience alone? This touches the concept of the ZPD, without necessarily meaning assistance in cognitive tasks.

How should educational game software be? see message !

Why seem kids tend to run away from me (us)? [not too serious]