to computer or not to computer

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Pros:

  • The kids are talking to each other about how to do the ‘game’
  • Turn taking and much negotiation
  • Fine motor skills
  • Laughter
  • I don’t have to ‘do’ anything
  • No cleaning up

Cons:

  • Now it’s all they want to do, I’m having to exercise control over myself as they continue to ask to play again…
  • That addictive rush you get when you click something and the computer makes a congratulatory noise.
  • Their brains are achieving the kind of torpor you get from reading crappy magazines at the doctor’s.
  • They think it’s all about the facts that the computer is ‘testing’ them on.
  • Inside and very little body movement.

So will the game get used up? Will Helena get sick of dressing up the skeleton – there are over 600,000 possible combinations of the skeletons’s clothes! (That fact did impress her) There does seem to be a lot of information/facts we haven’t found yet. Some how it’s not as good as a book.

I was impressed with the speed at which the kids learnt to manipulate the mouse and how to navigate within the game, obviously not skills that need a lot of practice then. Helena hardly ever uses a computer.

Having said no the right number of times the kids are now playing lego and talking, taking turns, and negotiating… with a lot of imaginative play thrown in. Something about drinking the blood of unicorns!

 

I am now making Helena tell me 6 other things she could do before saying yes….

So the game itself has a quiz and if you don’t know the answer you can click on Find Out More. Helena listens to find out more then when she has the answer no more listening, there is no choosing of what facts that she might find interesting. She is doing things like repeating to her self “t for top p for bottom” to remember where the annotations go  on a particular screen – swotting to the test! No learning about the actual content. She does work out some answers using stuff she knows and logic.. that’s good, and we did go look something up in a book when the find out more didn’t tell us. Somewhat alarmingly she gets a little upset when she isn’t totally sure and may get the answer wrong, despite knowing nothing bad will happen!!

I’ve never understood the fascination of computer games. I am self aware enough to feel and see the effects of Facebook and even of writing this. How does one teach that awareness?

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