From: Christie M. Thomas
Submit: Post Message
Date: 11 Dec 1996
Miguel wrote: "Also, will we be able to test these games before we work with the kids? Since I haven't even played all the new games we got this quarter. This will help so much in being able to guide the child through the game and keep their interest."
Miguel this has been an issued we've considered all quarter (or a least I have), and I invite others comments on this. The question is 'Do we (the undergrads) need prior training on the software to help the kids?' My take on it is yes. I think saying "training" here worries some people. I don't mean training sessions where all the undergrads need to come into the lab and be taught all the games. What I mean is, we (the undergrads) would benefit from an orientation session (if that sounds better) on the software. This would accomplish several things:
1. Undergrads could familiarize themselves with what is availble in the lab. What different programs can do, what skills are needed to play certain games. etc. This is important so that WE know what's out there. No we don't have to know how to play all the games, but it would be helpful to know what the games are and what they can do (even without knowing exactly how to play them). In my paper I'm also looking at how we can better make use of those special opportunties (the kids initiate) to expand kids learning by introducing things to the kids they may not have known was there. This can't happen if we the undergrads don't know what's there. As it stands now, we mostly got a feel for things, in the process, trial and error, and there is nothing wrong with that. The thing is, I believe we could make better use of the 10wk quarter, and our brief time with the kids if we could plan a little more and not have everything learn as we go. About time we learn what's going on in the lab (the games etc.), the quarter is over. Especially since the maze may be implemented soon, undergrads need to be better prepared/oriented on the programs. The maze can get intense, and maybe frustrating for kids, undergrads are going to be in a position where they are able to helpfully "guide" and hopefully help sustain the interest of the kids. (I think familiarizing yourself ahead of times may help).
2. This was good in itself (for our own learning) that at times we (the undergrads)spent time playing with the games just to figure them out and see what they are all about. A prior orientation would not make this unecessary. Again, it would only familiarize us with what's availble in the lab, it wouldn't teach us how to play every game. You probably won't even use all the games by the end of the quarter (i know i didn't).
3. Since this is not a computer science course, and it doesn't advertise that computer knowledge is needed for the class. This orientation session would be useful to get students who may not use computers often, students who may feel unsure about computers etc. a chance to feel around so that they are more comfortable, and effective at assisting the kids. (ie. installing games etc). Also Miguel mentioned earlier about familiarizing new students with the internet (since the class in really web oriented). This would help ease all the intial confusion had about the web format etc. and since next quarter the writing to the wizard on the internet will probably begin. etc)
4. I would give us a chance to preview the games. Of course, we will work with kids on them and see how they go, but previewing the games lets us know if they are worth the money the project is investing... I guess that's whats happening with the new games right now.
Thoughtfully yours, Christie
of course everyone may not agree with what I wrote, and that's what makes this learning experience worth while. We all have good ideas, coordinating them together to make a program that works for everyone is what's counts.
have a great break everyone!