Wednesday, November 03, 2010

It all began with the bubble wrap

Remember awhile back when I posted this link to the bubble wrap website? Oliver had taken quite a liking to it and I predicted that soon he would have the mouse/cursor thing figured out. I had, from time to time, tried to get the boy to use the computer but learning how to use the mouse or track pad did not come easily to my boy who really struggles with eye-hand coordination. But I was right about the bubble wrap and learning this skill opened up a whole new world in terms of computer-based learning.

We own a couple of copies of Rosetta Stone language learning software -- I'm perpetually trying to learn German (and I'm actually making headway these days, danke!) so that one day I can actually converse with my mother-in-law. And RT studied Spanish throughout high school. If you aren't familiar with Rosetta Stone, it is marketed as the "Dynamic Immersion method." And now that I'm using the new, online learning system, I have to say that it is pretty remarkable. You never really have a grammar lesson but you are gradually introduced to more and more complex language through reading, writing, speaking and visuals. (And the pictures? They are goregous!) So, for a long time, I thought it would be cool to see how Oliver would do using the English learning software. But since he didn't have the cursor thing worked out it didn't make sense to try.

Last Friday we finally sat down to try. And do you know what? I was amazed at how Oliver breezed through the initial parts. Intuitively he knew what to do each time a response was required from him -- either speaking or matching a picture to a verbally given description. The verbs and the colors are easy. He does have trouble distinguishing between, for example, "woman" and "women", "he" and "she" but does usually get "they".

What is really cool about the program is that it gives me another little window into what Oliver understands and what he doesn't. Also, it was gratifying to see that he picked up the system right away -- no explaining necessary. Some of the content is hard for him but he LOVES sitting at the computer and going through the lessons. And every time he gets one right his face just completely lights up and he turns to me as if to say: "See, Mom? I get it! I know the answer!"

Kind of makes me realize for about the one thousandth time that usually it is all about how we ask the questions!


  1. Our son love's iPods and iPads. He's very good at maneuvering the pages of apps and using a few games, like tapping running sheep to get them to jump a fence.

    I definitely want to try the bubble wrap idea for mouse control. Thanks for the idea.

  2. That is so wonderful! Haven't gotten the mouse figured out at our house yet, but this gives me hope. Very interesting about Rosetta Stone!

  3. In the day, our son couldn't figure out the mouse either. We had a computer game that had dragons blowing bubbles and he had to click on the bubbles to pop them. We found an egonomic mouse (it has the huge roller ball on top) and he immediately caught on.

    I'm so glad technology has grown by leaps and bounds for today's kiddos.


  4. This is all kinds of awesome! Love it.