Computer Language Experience Approach
The West Virginia University Child Development Laboratory has successfully used microcomputers as a complement to their language experience approach to teaching three- and four-year-old children. The computer acts as a motivational tool, and gives children the opportunity to produce perfectly typed pictures or letters. The first encounter a child has with the computer is with the scribbling program. By pushing any key on the keyboard the child can make various lines, curves, and geometric shapes on the monitor that he or she normally cannot draw freehand. Just as a teacher may print a child's dictation when he or she draws freehand, the teacher types the child's verbalizations about the computer picture. The story appears below the picture and then a paper copy of the picture and story are printed for the child. Next, the child is introduced to a program in which specific keys draw specific objects, such as "B" for a boy or "D" for a dog. The child arranges the figures and composes pictures, then dictates an accompanying story, which is also printed. Results of a study conducted at the lab indicated that children verbalized significantly more about their computer pictures than about their hand-drawn works. In conjunction with developing language and motor skills, the children are developing a positive attitude toward the microcomputer. (Examples of children's computer scribbles and drawings with accompanying text are included.) (HTH)
Warash, B.G. Computer Language Experience Approach.