Monday, March 24, 2008

Magic Desktop

I had read about this resources some time ago in Iram and John Siraj Blatchford's book on Foundation stage ICT. And if all this post amounts to is another shameless plug for their book then, so be it.

The Magic Desktop, allows an easily accessible environment for younger PC users, while also locking down websites to those that the teacher needs the class to use. Now I am not advocating heavy filtering or limiting children, and there are those that will try Magic Desktop,and argue that we are robbing children of the opportunity to experience real computing, but the Magic Desktop still requires mouse skills and conventional Windows navigating, it just means that some of the distractions are removed. This is ideal for Foundation and early Key Stage 1.

I hoped that this resource would provide the 'easy desktop' that I have been looking for both my Foundation work and for my boys @ home.

Why and what do I mean?
In some settings, children can be occupied by just gaming from or by the same 3 applications., the teacher could be oblivious to this or just lacking in the knowledge of how to change this informal ICT. While at home I'd like to gain greater independence for my children by making the desktop even easier to navigate. So that, they can find the relevant Clicker Grid, website or flash game.

I now think the answer is not the Magic Desktop, rather in a setting it is ensuring there are uncluttered desktops, while allowing for access to a range of good applications that meet DATEC criteria.Alongside this, we need to challenge the perception of the computer as baby sitting device, or a place to go 'if you have finished your work Joshua'. Gaming is not wrong, it is just that if this all that the children experience in a Foundation setting, then their experience is limited and they miss out on developing skills and exercising creativity. Boredom can also set in, if their computer or desktop account is only loaded with 1 or 2 Foundation Stage favourites.

While at home I too need to declutter the desktops and create meaningful icons, possibly with an increased screen setting.

But there may be another way.

But there are some downsides to this resources, firstly it costs around 30 euros a license and secondly