FN# 5:draft#1:1 A good time with computers

From: Ayal Goury
Submit: Post Field Note
VisitDate: 10/30/96
Children-Run: Selected
Unclear-Approach: Selected
Informal: Selected
Date: 10 Nov 1996
Time: 16:08:27
Remote Name: lang-lab-mac29.ucsc.edu



Marvin, 5 years, boy; and myself


Marvin is a new boy who has little understanding of English and was starting out his first day at BU. We put on a game in which the objective was way too hard for him. It's this guy with a lazer gun who dodges these robots and is supposed to go from room to room solving math problems. This was way beyond Marvins level. Not only was he not ready for such complicated math problems but also the point of the game was too much for him to understand. So I decided to sit back, let him have fun, and try to learn what I can.

Marvin loved the game. He loved it when his character would bump into the wall and fall down. One time he let out a huge laugh that woke up the room. He loved making the character jump and run and use his lazer gun. At first Marvin had no idea of what to do. I slowly got to see him learn how to make the computer character go left, then right, after that up and down. He learned how to make the character jump and flip. He had such a good time playing with the game even though he didn't understand what it was about at all about.

After a bit I called him over to play memory. I felt he had had enough of the game and his enthusiasm to start a new activity with me proved that. He had a wonderful time at memory and when he got one right I would get all excited and shake him around and he couldn't stop smiling. Unfortunately I had to gobecause I had section to be at, so he felt pretty sad that I left.


It was such a joy to watch Marvin. He's so cute and when his smile lights up it reminded me of why I wanted to be a teacher. Althoguh I decided to let him alone, and although he didn't understand the game, much learning was going on. At first I thought about changing to a game more to his level but then I decided to let him stick it out. And it worked.


It was really one of my favorite moments at BU. While we talk much about computers taking over education I don't think it will eliminate the role of the teacher. The one who can validate a child's learning, when the child answers something right he looks for someone to validate it or be aware of it. Even in games like reading rabbit when the rabbit yells "alright" or "good job" that's not enough the child if you pay attention almost always looks around to see if someone saw her get the problem solved.