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Hotchalk Global

news & tips

A collection of helpful articles on teachers and teaching

Technology Fun: Home for the Holidays Edition

So, I don’t know if I have ever shared this in the blog, but when I finish my Masters degree, I plan on rewarding myself with a Wii. We don’t have any video game systems, and for the most part, I am actually kind of opposed to them. But I love karaoke and all the music-based games that involve singing or playing instruments, so I figured I would go for it – when I actually have time to play. Which won’t be until after this summer at the earliest. In the meantime, I bogart other people’s Wiis.

Father and Son sledding

I’m originally from New Jersey, and I have been living in Northern California for the past twelve and a half years. This Christmas, my husband, son, and I flew back East to surprise my mother for Christmas. We’re staying with my sister and two of her three daughters (ages 10 and 16). My son is having lots of fun with his cousins and he got to play his first real video games. He’s almost six. (He also played/sledded in snow for the first time in his life.) But we really had fun setting him up with his own little Mii and showing him how to play Mario Kart (he’s pretty bad at it, and spent most of the time stuck up against a fence, spinning around in circles, and mowing down cows) and Wii Music. Few things are cuter than my kindergartner playing the handbells . . . except maybe that same kid playing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” in a virtual musical cat costume.

Cameron plays Wii MusicI’m not too much of an overprotective parent, but like I said, I am kind of opposed to most of the video games marketed to kids out there. And almost ALL of the ones marketed to adults. However, I enjoyed having this opportunity to introduce my son to video games that he actually may get to play at our house within the year – as long as he knows it’s a special treat that we don’t currently get to do at home. (Right now, as I write this, I look up to see him dancing around my sister’s living room to Rihanna’s “Shut Up and Drive” as performed in Pop Star by my niece.)

But what I have found even better is a much more low-tech kind of fun he has discovered during our stay here. Cameron asked Santa to bring him a “Magnet Doodle.” Just a couple of weeks ago, in the waiting room at his dentist’s office, he played with a Magna Doodle (or Doodle Pro, as they now appear to be called) and he was hooked. We went on a pre-Santa trip to Toys R Us to scope them out. I found a really cute Cars-themed one, but Cam insisted on the plainer one with no fancy extra anything. So, of course, when Santa’s helper went to pick one up, she lucked out and got one on sale for ten bucks. It’s the best ten bucks ever spent.

Cam and his cousins have invented several games that involve hiding things and writing notes and drawing maps back and forth to each other on the Doodle Pro. My normally reluctant writer – who is also a lefty – is scrawling away quite joyfully. AND he drew a pretty awesome stick figure of the Statue of Liberty after we went to visit it.Statue of Liberty drawing

Now, you may not have to plug it in, but I call the Doodle Pro “technology,” according to my definition: “some kind of tool invented by people to make some task easier.” These games the kids invented somehow also involve my son running around the house and going up and down the stairs a lot, so I am not worried he’s going to pudge out on all the snacks he’s had on this trip; plus, he’s having a great time (since we live in a single-story house) experiencing all these fun new activities he doesn’t normally get to do. But I am most excited by the bonding with his cousins and the writing – oh, my joy at his writing! It makes me want to call his kindergarten teacher right now and tell her all about it.

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