Thursday, November 17, 2005

Computer Class

Remember this list of developmental milestones that Sean had not yet reached?

Well, I'm pleased to report that he has now mastered drinking through a straw and pedaling his tricycle. He still shows no sign of being able to spit out his toothpaste, but we are working on it.

Which leads me to add another item to the list: mouse manipulation. At what age are kids able to point, click, and, most difficult of all, drag? Sean has the clicking part down, but he seems utterly stymied at navigating the mouse to achieve the desired outcome. It seems to me that this kind of activity takes a fair amount of dexterity and spatial awareness.

We don't play too many computer games; right now we've been focusing on the free games at the Sesame Street site and, much less impressively, at the Thomas and Friends site. Most of the time I drive the mouse and, with some prompting, Sean tells me what to do. When I'm feeling exceptionally patient and teacherly, I guide Sean's hand on the mouse. And on those few occasions when I let Sean do it all himself, Explorer and even Windows itself tend to close unexpectedly as the mouse careens all over the mousepad.

Sean's classroom has a few computers, and he tells me that he has used them. When I ask for further details, though, Sean retreats to a noncommittal mode of communication that would make a teenager proud.

Any thoughts on how kids learn this skill?