I belong to a really good organisation involved in Primary computer education called Ictopus www.ictopus.org.uk. Every month I receive a new e-newsletter which usually has a theme. This month it is related to health education.
The start of the newsletter though was different from the monthly theme and was all about a little girl’s problems in using a computer program teaching her about time because of the physical size of the mouse! Below is the entry in the newsletter:
Dawn’s Small Mouse
Our local library has a computer in the children’s section, which invariably attracts
more attention than the books. It has about 30 programs on it, designed to help
young children with various disciplines, including ICT. Some of the programs
require the children to use drag and drop techniques, for example, or clicking in
Dawn enjoys learning time with Percy (Percy Learns
Time available from Neptune Software
hard to control. For a start, the mouse pointer moved
far too fast for her to be able to make any precise
movements. She had to move the mouse left, right,
left, right, forwards and backwards, gradually getting
closer to what she was aiming for but always
overshooting. It was very frustrating. Then when the
pointer was finally in the right place, she couldn’t just
click like adults can because of the size of the mouse.
Her finger was nowhere near the button, and in
reaching for it, she just pushed the mouse and the
pointer went whizzing off again. It was very
frustrating, because she found using the mouse much
harder than telling the time, which was supposed to
be the purpose of the exercise.
We managed to solve both problems. We set up her own account on our Windows
computer at home, in which we’ve slowed the mouse pointer down, and we bought
her a small mouse which fits under her hand. In no time at all she was using the
mouse with confidence, and with a bit of practice on it, she found she was more
competent on the library mouse too. We asked them to consider replacing their
mouse, which they did – with an even bigger one!
Now this got me thinking about a number of things…. do we actually think about the logistics of use when we get our children onto a computer? I was also interested if there were other designs of computer mouse that could be bought for home or school use that would help the children’s motor skills as well as I.C.T. awareness and development.
Doing the inevitable Google Search I came across a really good mouse called “The Tiny Mouse” which I then looked up on Amazon.
This mouse is small enough for a little child to use but has the added advantage of having very clear colour buttons for left and right use.
I have to admit that I was impressed by the design and would certainly think that it would be something that educators as well as parents can think about when they seek to get technology use by very young children (which I personally think is a very good thing in the development of our digital citizens of the future).
I would welcome your comments and opinion on this.