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Computer fun for the very young
ęSandton Chronicle
Computer News
Spring 1996









Tegan, Nozipho, Julian  and Rauf

ComputerFun for the very young

Karen Pritchard, (of Karen's Toys, Gauteng South Africa) enrolled son Julian on the ComputerFun course when he was three years old. "I looked for a place where Julian could learn how to handle a computer properly and have fun.

He was using his software but could not get in and out of his programs by himself and he had developed a strong interest in computers. He could use a mouse properly but the problem was Julian was messing about within Windows and having a great time destroying things - deleting icons and files on the hard drive.

My husband Dave and I have been in the computer industry for twenty years programming in COBOL, Fortran, and Powerhouse. Most of the knowledge we gained on PCs was self-taught. We decided on K-Net as the computer learning environment for Julian.

The mentors at K-Net who work with the young children are educationists who have experience in dealing with young children. Not everyone can take a young child and teach him/her how to use a computer.

K-Net's mentors are friends and they let the kids learn and advance at their own pace. The mentors do not hold kids back. They know exactly what the kids can cope with and what they are not ready for. Julian learns on Microsoft software that he has on his own computer at home.

At K-Net, he doesn't have to share a computer which means that he gains his own experience, his own knowledge and he can learn how to find things out for himself.

Julian loves the K-Net environment. He is normally reserved, shy and quiet. At K-Net he is full of life, talkative and highly creative. He loves computers and even attends the K-Net holiday courses which run from 09:00 until 13:00, a long time for a 4 year old.

What Julian could do before he went to K-Net * use the mouse * find his way around within his programs * destroy files! * generally mess about on the computer

What Julian can do after being at K-Net for 18 months * switch on the computer * get in and out of Windows * load his own CDs and programs * identify and use different tools * use the keyboard (he can recognise all the letters) * create computer pictures from his ideas * save his pictures * close programs * exit Windows properly

He also knows how not to destroy icons and files. Julian gains knowledge of computers every week. His vocabulary has also improved through the lateral learning that takes place during the K-Net sessions.

He is allowed to work on the computer at home unsupervised and he does not even call for help. He knows exactly what to do and he completes whatever he sets out to do.

K-Net's project-based approach gives kids direction and helps them to know when to use the computer tools available in the software. K-Net is a wonderful, warm and friendly environment for kids of all ages. I feel safe with the people there and know that if I am caught up in traffic and don't arrive when the session ends, Julian will be safe and happy there.

Julian is currently attending two courses at K-Net - TechnoFun and he is just starting the Advanced TechnoFun programme for his level. It's really quite amazing what he has achieved considering that he can't read yet.


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Date of update: 18 February 2009