Move over, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The next generation of Computer Whiz is coming.
Before Christmas, Liam hadn’t been on the computer at all. Aside from sitting on my lap or Brian’s to watch a You Tube Video (Anybody remember his obsession with the Carescrow from Wizard of Oz?), the computer meant nothing to him.
Oh, my, how things change…
Upon realizing that Liam’s Pre-School curriculum included “computer class” once a week, and that most of the kiddos in his class had started with computers the year before, I decided it was time. For Christmas, Grannie Vee got him the Fisher Price Computer Cool School keyboard and learning game set up. Aunt Eva passed along his cousin Jeena’s desktop computer. We had an extra 22″ flat screen monitor as a result of the “Great HP Customer Service Debacle of 2009″. Santa brought him a Thomas the Tank engine computer game. Project “Jr. Techie Immersion” was prepped and ready to go.
Well, sufferin’ succotash. We were NOT prepared for how quickly he would acclimate to using a mouse, a touchpad and a keyboard. He’s all over the place! In about two weeks, he had mastered all three levels of the Thomas game. The Cool School keyboard came with a pen/stylus and while he went to town drawing with it, he knew that “Mama and Daddy didn’t use a pen to ‘click’ on things.” He wanted a mouse, too.
So, I dug around in a closet and found our only extra mouse – a trackball, which generally is more sensitive and trickier to control…
Not for Liam. In about a half hour, he had discovered that he could spin the ball with one hand and click the button with the other hand. Worked like a charm.
Next he realized that there were games on the internet that featured his favorite TV charcters. (Thanks LOADS, pbskids.org, for the informative commercials during Sesame Street.) Since his computer didn’t have internet access, he sweetly asked if he could try the games on OURS. Since we couldn’t deny that he had been very careful with computers up till now, we acquiesced. Our desktop has a cordless mouse – didn’t slow him down one bit.
Now when my old Toshiba laptop finally bit the dust last year, (RIP, Big Blue. 2003 – 2009), we opted for as inexpensive a replacement as possible. (Y’know, since I’m not working now.) BJ’s – our local Warehouse Store – had a great deal on Acer Netbooks, so we got one. It’s great for what it is – lightweight, compact and basic. And it was fine for our needs…until I decided to try to really make a go of my “Media Business.” Blogging, Video Editing and HTML Coding takes more muscle. So, I finally broke down during a Post Holiday Sale at Best Buy and grabbed a new Toshiba laptop. This purchase relegated the Netbook to the kitchen, where it has been used mainly to play music when I do the dishes.
Well. Today Liam, ever the observant one, was watching me work on my laptop. He thought for a few minutes, then said
“Mama! There’s a little computer in the kitchen like your big one. It’s just my size! May I try it, PWEASE???”
Now, how was I going to say “no”? Besides, I was curious about how he was going to handle a touchpad versus a mouse. Well, that was just silly of me…
So, this morning we enjoyed an hour of time on our “Waptops” – me on my big one and Liam on his little one. He went all over that PBS Kids site – matching games, videos, puzzles, virtual building blocks. He only asked for help three times. I offered to plug a mouse in for him, and he refused.
“My fingers work fine, Mom.”
(Proud? Oh, you bet. The geek in me is squealing with delight!)