[Wolves] Eductional Games

Andy Wootton andy.wootton at wyrley.demon.co.uk
Tue Jan 11 00:41:21 GMT 2005

Katherine Goodwin wrote:

>Most of this for my
>brother and sister-in-law will be covered by mozilla and openoffice but
>they also have 2 kids.  One is nearly 2 and obviously not very
>interested in a computer, but the elder is 7 and I think she would make
>good use of it.

They only need special software to prevent them making mistakes with the 
complex parts of packages. RM made a simplified version of MS Word that 
could have features added as pupils gained experience.They found that 
pupils were very confused by learning a special schools package then 

Kids are far better than adults at learning about software because they 
aren't phased by the stuff they don't know yet. They don't have  
preconceptions and they learn far more by experimentation so they just 
need logically designed software. Lock down anything you don't want 
moving or deleting though because they will move or delete it.
If they can't read yet then they need icons with obvious meanings but if 
they can then choice of software is only limited by their vocabulary. 
Small children write much better stories with a simple editor like Gedit 
than with a pen because typing requires far less sophisticated motor 
skills so they don't have to give so much thought to operating the 

Don't underestimate them. Throw them into real software as soon as you 
can. If you give the 7 year-old a 20 minute lesson on OpenOffice I'd bet 
she'll be able to support her parents for all but the most difficult 

I find the way that my kids (now young adults) use IT in a hybrid way 
very odd. They think nothing of printing something off the Internet, 
cutting it out and glueing it onto a hand-written essay or word 
processing a document then colouring it in by hand; whatever gets the 
job done quickest since they only ever need one copy to hand in. Don't 
they know they are supposed to struggle for hours learning to do it 

One of my young ex-colleagues sold his first commercial software at the 
age of 10.


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