Friday, June 30, 2006

formatting images

I'm working with new arrivals from Africa, teaching them computer skills. Many of them have had very limited contact with computers.

It's very difficult teaching some of these students to format images or use the draw tools in MSWord or MSPublisher

The student has to have this knowledge:
  • click on (select) the image before you can manipulate it
  • be aware that when you move the mouse over the image then the icon changes
  • 4 headed arrow means you can move the image
  • 2 headed arrow means you can resize the image
  • to move or resize requires clicking in correct place with left button and dragging mouse
  • it requires manual dexterity to resize the image in the way that might be required
  • some images (draw tools) have other icons, eg. green circles for rotation and yellow diamonds for shape alteration
  • at other times to format the shape you need to click with right button
Much of this is very hard for students who have not grown up with computers. I have watched some student trying to rotate and resize a shape and they can be painfully slow at achieving success.

It's a combination of skills that is required to achieve success, eg. I need a two headed arrow, I need to click on this particular circle and I need to drag the mouse in order to make this rectangle wider - using the left mouse button for these features

I initially posted this to Paul Chandler's wiki about probing conceptual understandings of computer concepts on the 10th June.


Anonymous said...

Interesting Bill, Was doing something similar at a cluster school last week, when I was asked to work with a class of 5 and 6 year olds and their teacher. Many of whom had not used a computer before.

When you unpack the skills needed to use software and the sequence in which they have to be introduced and coordinated it is just wondrous that any of the kids I was working with managed to create anything at all. But they did. Perhaps it is young minds and a complete absence of fear.

This reminds me of unpacking the steps that lead to walking - or controlled falling if you like. Whenever I look at all the steps needed to animate 3-D characters I am in total awe that I remain upright most of the time. The brain is quite remarkable at making sense of things that appear at first glance intolerably complicated.

Bill Kerr said...

hi arti,

Some of the discussion at Paul Chandler's wiki has been about whether this sort of thing can be taught conceptually as well as the default position of immersion, more immersion.