From: Christie M. Thomas
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 19 Nov 1996
Remote Name: tsa-32.ucsc.edu
Ariana, female, grade 5 Iban, male, grade 3 Filogonio, male, grade 5 Christie, female, undergrad (me)
I was walking around the lab looking for a child to work with. Most of them were already engaged in a game with an undergrad when I came in. Maurice was having trouble starting the CD game Treasure Cove for Ariana who sat quietly in front of the computer waiting. Maurice asked me to help so I came over and "ran" the cd to load the game. This process was a little confusing because the way the computer is set up (the process is a little different than the way I'm used to doing it on my computer at home). Consequently it took awhile. This resulted in about a 5 to 7 minute wait before Ariana could start the game. I finally got it set up and Ariana began to play. She had not played the game before and neither had I, so I watched as she clicked around trying to figure out what was going on. Iban(Carlos) came and sat at the computer next to Ariana and watched as she played. Iban would occasionally advice Ariana where to go and what to click on by pointing at the screen and talking. He spoke in Spanish so I did not quite understand what he was saying. Iban eventually took hold of the mouse and Ariana moved her hand, sat back, and watched. Iban clicked around a while continuing to talk to Ariana as if he were still instructing her how to play. By this time Iban was playing completely by himself and Ariana was just watching. So I suggested they both play together one using the mouse, the other the keyboard. Ariana's hand slowly inched toward the keyboard but waited. She then got up ans said she didn't want to play anymore. Iban played for another minute or two by himself but he was not able to find the teasure the hints talked about. Then he got up and left. I sat there for a minute and then Filogonio excitedly plopped in the chair to continue the game. After clicking around for a while unable to get anywhere with the game, he also got up and walked away.
There were several interesting things I noticed in the events I just described. Ariana waited quite awhile to play this game, yet she played for only a short time and got up. Iban was intially very excited about the game, he basically took over, and played for awhile then when Ariana left soon he did too. Filogonio also approached the game very excitedly yet clicked around only a few times and got up.
Three kids sat down to play this game, then in less than 6 or so minutes of play the all got up and left. Treasure Cove seemed to be very fun and attractive looking to the kids but it was much more confusing than it looked. The kids where able to click around but they (and I) were unable to find the "point". The intial excitement dwindled and they left the game very quickly.There were also some interesting dynamics happening with Ariana (a girl) and Iban (a younger boy). Iban's unwelcomed take over may have been an additional factor that dimished Ariana's interest in the game.
It became very disappointing for me that not just 1, but 3 kids attempted to play this game and stopped when they couldn't figure it out and I sat there unable to be of much assistance because I couldn't figure out the game myself.
I noticed these event because it seemed unusual that they let the game so quickly. Did they get bored?
Should we (the undergrads) be trained in the software BEFORE we begin working with the kids. How might this situation been different for the 3 kids if I had some knowledge of the game and how to play it?
Might this have enabled me to assist (guide) the kids along in those confusing places in the game so as to keep them motivated and help them maintain their initial interest and excitement?