Ten years ago when teaching computer skills to 5 and 6 year old children, we would start the year with a game called ‘Dress Teddy’. This game provided the opportunity to develop mouse control as it essentially involved ‘dragging and dropping’ items of clothing onto a teddy bear. Most children successfully achieved the objective, although it took some a while to develop precision and speed. There would often be teddies who looked a little like they had been ‘dragged through a hedge backward and then dropped from a great height’ as their clothing was a little askew to say the least! However, the children loved completing the programme and were fascinated by how they controlled what was happening on the screen with the mouse.
Fast forward ten years to the present day and I have just delivered a lesson to the same age group of children who created an algorithm, executed their programme and debugged where necessary. Developing ‘mouse control’ for this generation of children is still part of the teaching process but not quite so high on the priority list as they often choose to utilise the ‘touch screen’ function given it is something with which they are far more familiar (I am fairly confident the poor old mouse will soon sit in a cupboard gathering dust along with the video machines and cassette players!) I think if I were to have presented these children with ‘Dress Teddy’ they would have been rather bemused!
ICT is undoubtedly the area of teaching which has kept me most ‘on my toes’ during this time in an effort to try to keep abreast of new technologies and how they can be integrated into the classroom. I cannot profess to be a champion in this area but I am certainly having fun learning so much along the way and I especially enjoying all that the children are teaching me! It reassures me that I am not quite a digital dinosaur just yet!