Friday, April 13, 2007

Making a Mouse Manageable

No, I am not talking about the ones eating my son's computer cable at his house in Philly, shared with other City Year volunteers. I'm sure he would appreciate any rodent advice, but I am talking about the mice we use to navigate our computers.

Some of our younger students cannot control the mouse to move around the computer screen. Programs that require a simple click are appropriate to use with these youngsters. This usually requires an adult to physically hold the standard mouse in one spot so the child can respond. Why not encourage independence and adapt the tool instead? Introducing the "Mouse House." A regular mouse is placed inside a small notebook. Pressing on the surface of the notebook activates the mouse button. It works well with cause and effect software or to advance slides in a PowerPoint. This makes the child an active participant rather than a passive observer. How simple can this be to create your own? Check out the directions found on the Simplified Technology website by Linda Burkhart.

Thanks to Linda Einis at the Adaptive Activites Library for passing on this site.

2 comments:

lastAutumn said...

Well, the people really spent a lot of effrot to invent this, but is it necessary for a pre-schooler to be able to operate a mouse? It more like we were teaching them how to use a credit card...

Beth said...

I understand your concern with preschoolers. I like to see "hands on", imaginary play as an essential part of any preschool and kindergarten program.

I used this adaptation with two kindergarten students, one with severe motor planning issues and one with compromised upper extremity control. Computer class is part of their schedule, so this allowed them to participate in a way that was meaningful to them.