From: Christie M. Thomas
Submit: Post Field Note
Date: 20 Nov 1996
Remote Name: tsa-24.ucsc.edu
Iban - male - grade 3, Christie, female, undergrad (me)
There were not many kids here today so most of the undergrads didn't have kids to work with. We decided to play the games by ourselves. I never really understood the Magic School Bus Human Body game so I decided to take this time to play it. I got everything just about set up when more kids came in and Iban came over to play with me. I remembered Ed's comments in class about acting like a novice and allow the kids to teach us. So I did (even though I really was). I asked questios like what's that? What's going on here? What are you trying to do? He willingly explained most things. Even showing me things that I hadn't necessarily asked about. I think Iban was learning as we went along too because for awhile we were in the mouth, without realizing conceptually that the little bus was traveling in his mouth and from there could travel down the throat to other parts of the body. When this clicked for me, I suggested we drive down and see what else was inside. He went into the heart and later to the lungs. I got tired of traveling on the Magic School Bus before Iban did.
I was glad to have a minute to play the games without necessarily being in "field note observation mode" with the kids. Most times I find myself joining in with the kids on games, gaining only a limited working knowledge of the game rather than seeing the big picture.
During this observation I paid a lot of attention to how I was feeling and what I was thinking. I appreciated being in a position of learning from Iban. I began quite interested in the game, fascinated most by new revelations. When we were lingering in the mouth for awhile I found myself getting a bit bored, looking around the room more often (maybe hoping to go join in on another game, but for some reason I felt compelled to stay and watch as Iban continued to teach me). I was more interested once we began traveling down the throat and into other parts of the body. Even still, I felt myself tire out with the game well before Iban who was for the most part actively engaged in what he was doing.
How do/can we maintain/retain interest in computer games for those individuals not directly using the computer. Many times you have a few kids at one computer while onley one is able to use the mouse etc., how do you keep the attention of the others? (I've seen many kids just get up and walk away, I felt the desire to do so myself.
Is it necessary to have 1:1 computer child ratio?
What do/can kids learn from watching besides how to be patient?
How important is it to be the "computer operator" when it comes to maintaining excitement/interest so that kids stay with games longer and thereby learn more?
I noticed these events because kids interest/or lack of interest in these games has been an emerging theme in a number of my observations. I'd like to find a way to encourage them in games and activities they've show interest in, looking at what factors are involved in maintaining it.