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debian-kids: Asking the kids what they think

Christian gave these words of encouragement in private email (and many
others have written me back privately ... thanks to all for your interest
& support) which reminds me about some material that I have for the web
page but forgot to post here.

On 9 Feb 2000, Christian Leutloff wrote:
> IMHO it is better to create the list immediatly and put all your ideas
> visible on our web server. I hope that you get more feedback and help if your
> actions are as visible as possible. Btw., I really like your idea!

Yup.  I've come to that conclusion myself.  Last weekend I was to put
together some web pages but you know ... 4 kids and all ...

I did, however, make some progress towards collecting material for the
pages.  I asked my kids some questions about what their thoughts on kids &
computers just to get in the right frame of mind (i.e. addressing *their*
needs, and not just assuming I know what they are looking for in a
computer).  So I include below a transcript of my question/answer period
with them.  (Please keep in mind that I just introduced them to the
non-free xmame package, and while we all enjoy it, the emerging
debian-kids group's focus is necessarily on DFSG free software. 
Nevertheless, that's what's fresh in their minds, so their answers are
going to make reference to it a lot.) 

Victoria: 9yo
Maria:    8yo
Randy:    5yo

Jessica is too young yet to tell us what she likes about computers,
although you can see it all over her face whenever she gets to use them or
when she's watching her parents or siblings (which she loves to do).

"Do you like computers?"

Randy, Maria & Victoria - Yes!

"Why do you like computers?"

Victoria - We get to write stories, and we get to play games, and explore.
Randy - And that's because games are fun.
Maria - Because they are fun.

"What do you best about computers?"

Maria - I like to play games on it best.
Randy - I like doing all kinds of games and I like playing police car games.
Victoria - You get to go on the Internet and explore Altavista.

"What is the hardest thing about computers?"

Maria - I think it takes a lot of practice to learn how to write with
        the keys.
Randy - I think that the games are hard.  I need to practice.
Victoria - Sometimes the games don't work.  I can't fix them.

"What is your favourite game?  Why?"

Randy - I like the policecar game and "Foodfight" and "Digdug" and ...
        I like all of the games!
Maria - I like "Foodfight" and "Bubbles" because there's no fighting and
Victoria - My favourite games are "Digdug" and "Hopping Mappy" because
           they look so cute and are so easy to play.

"What would you like to do on the computer that you haven't done yet?"

Maria - The Internet.  Also, I would like to make a movie some time,
        and make my own background -- "wallpaper".
Victoria - Listen to midis.  Look at maps like the ones at school.
Randy - I would like to do stuff that I have done at school that I
        haven't done here, like "Sammy's Science House"

Naturally, your own kids will have their own thoughts, feelings, and goals
for using computers.  I think it's important for parents to perform this
evaluation on a kid-by-kid basis.  Perhaps if we each do this, it will
give us ideas for what, in particular, we'd like to focus on in
contributing to this group.

    nSLUG       http://www.nslug.ns.ca      synrg@sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca
    Debian      http://www.debian.org       synrg@debian.org
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