As a dyed in the wool teacher of adolescent people, it has been a rare treat this week to hang out at a writing and technology camp with 6 and 7 year-olds. Their teacher had introduced them to kidblog and that's when the magic began.
Within 10 minutes, they had figured out how to navigate the program. They were posting and commenting to each other like crazy. They were also running across the room to tell the person they had just written to that this had been done. Then one kid figured out how to change the font and color of the text, shrieked it out to the class, and then immediately posts began to appear in techno color.
The teacher and I stood watching, and looking at each other, confirming that this was all okay, and even what we wanted them to do, right?
Most of the post looked something like this.
"KK&*()(*&*(&**( !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????????????????askjdhfvnienmcllein enckdie"
Two or three used words, like:
"Mason! WE WILL WE WILL ROCK YOU"
Dr. U. I LUV ICe creem. Do you ?????????????
We started to wonder about what outsiders reading these blogs might think these kids were accomplishing in their blogging. If the parents of these children saw this moment, would they think they were getting their money's worth out of this camp?
But then, Lacy's voice popped into my head. What these kids were doing was "play" for sure, but important play. The kind of play that people do when learning something new. All the crazy letters that seem to make no sense could be seen as "scribbling" on the key board. "Scribbling" - that thing young kids do as they are learning to write. Vygotsky says something about how children are mimicking what they see in the adult world in their play. Adults type FAST and furious.
So, here's what I want to think about . . .
1) What are the dominant narratives that are informing our ideas of "play" and what's "okay" in this camp environment?
2) Are the children's actions offering a counter-narrative to that - a critique even?
3) What's being resisted here?
I'm also going to go back into my Vygotsoy and that cool book on "play" by Vivan Paley's book on play.