From: May Sarmac
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 27 Oct 1996
Remote Name: mingong-mac-18.ucsc.edu
These are my fieldnotes for the 22nd and 23rd of October.
Brenda, female, age 6; Karina, female, age 6; Alex, male, age 7
On Wednesday, October 22, I was mainly helping Brenda. At first she tried to find a game that interested her on the computer. She went through different programs trying each one of them and then moving on if she didn't like it. After trying all the games and the painting program, she wanted to type. So, I opened up MS Word for her. For a long time she just randomly typed letters and numbers. I could see that she was getting bored because she kept looking over her shoulder at her cousin, Karina, to see what she and the other kids were doing. When I asked if she wanted to play a board game, she asked if Karina can play too. I told her that Karina can play if she wanted to, so Brenda went to ask her. Since Karina didn't want to play, Brenda went back to the computer she was working on and continued to type. It seemed to me that she didn't want to play on the computer anymore because she kept sighing and didn't have the enthusiasm of playing anything on the computer anymore. As she was typing, I asked her if she knew how to spell some words. When she replied yes, I asked if she wanted to type some words on the computer for me. She said no and continued to type random letters. Once in a while she would turn to me and point to what she had just typed. Sometimes when she did that, I asked her what it said. She would shrug her shoulders and continue to type. After a long time, she looked over her shoulder again and saw Karina had left her computer, so Brenda left too. Brenda ended up playing Mancala with a girl that Miguel was working with. While Brenda was playing, I noticed that she lightened up a little and was enthisiastic about learning how to play Mancala. On Thursday, October 23, I was mainly helping Karina. She too went through a lot of games on the computer, trying to find one to play. After going through several games, she worked on the painting program. For a long time she was just doodling with the different tools and colors. I was amazed, though, that when she made a mistake and erased it, she would know where to click and what to do to continue with what she was doing without having to start all over. Since she was painting for a long time, I started asking her questions about what she was doing. I asked her questions like what color are you using, what other colors do you like, what are some nice colors on this program and so on. She responded to my questions well; she would tell me the colors to answer my questions, then click on them to show me. The last thing we did on the painting program was identifying letters. See, she put together three straight lines by using one of the tools. I asked her what letter did the figure look like and she answered, "A". Then she made more letters and I would ask her what they were. Every time I asked her about a letter, she would tell me what letter it is then draw another one. After a while, I asked her if any of the letters she drew were in her or my name. If they were, I asked her to point to it on our name tags. She seemed to like this activity because she had a pretty big smile on her face the whole time. While I was working with Karina, Alex was playing a game that enhances math on the next computer. He needed help reading a word problem, so he asked me to help him read it. The word problem asked how many apples were left on the tree if there were nine apples at first then three fell off. Alex kept guessing the right answer and kept asking me if he was right after each guess. Since he wasn't really trying to solve the problem, I held up nine fingers in front of him. He held up nine fingers as well. Then we both tried to solve the problem by putting down three fingers because three apples fell off the tree. Once Alex figured out the answer, thanked me and continued to play. Actually what he said when he figured the answer was, "Six! Okay, now I know it's six!". As he kept play the game I occassionally looked over to see how he was doing and saw that he was getting the answers right by using his finger
I thought that what I observed was Children-run because they were the ones working to figure out a problem. I don't think I actively taught them in a sense that I didn't directly tell or teach them anything. I don't know what approach it was and I thought it was informal because they learned by playing solving most things by themselves. It was frustrating to see that Brenda wouldn't leave her computer though she didn't want to play on the computer anymore. I tried to talk to her and ask her questions, but she seemed like she didn't want to talk to me. I kept my patience with her and let her do whatever she wanted.
I noticed these events it seemed like the kids were not having fun. I tried to help them have fun and learn something at the same time. But different approaches work with different kids.