We are a rather geeky household, if the truth be known. With more computers than people, and with both the adults making their living in the IT world, computers are a fact of life around here. When we were investigating schools for the kids, a strong computer program was a non-negotiable must-have item on the list. Up until now, we’ve been pleased with the school’s program, but at some point this year, I started to feel a vague sense of disquiet.
While the kids are confident computer users, their understanding of what computers are made of and how they work was sorely lacking. Oh, they had the general idea, but there were large pieces missing, and all of those pieces fell firmly into the category of “any geek-kid worth their salt would know this stuff.” Things like not really understanding why it is that when you put your thumb drive in the computer at school, it always shows up as F:, but when you bring it home, on your computer it is E:, but on Mama’s computer it is I: instead. And what exactly is a ‘drive’ anyway?
So we took one of our old computers and did this to it:
We exploded it. It was prefaced by a few lessons in the history of computers and robotics, and software vs. hardware, and it was tremendous fun.
We paid careful attention to the idea of information storage, which of course necessitated dragging out an old floppy disk and a hard disk drive too. And yes, before you ask, we exploded those, too.
We aren’t done our explorations yet, nor are the kids done their computer education — not by a long shot! But we are well on our way, and we’re having tons of fun.
Isn’t that what learning is all about?