Switching On

As I watched the kid making splodges by holding a paint-brush between her toes, I thought “fantastic… they’ve managed to identify a body-part which she has some voluntary control over”. And then I thought “I wonder why they don’t seem to have figured out that this might be a useful starting point for teaching her a communication system”. As I was lying in bed later I thought “I wonder what it would take to invent some sort of low tech switching activities to try out” and that thought led to “I wonder if we could get hold of an old computer and set it up with some software and different switches… I wonder if that mad guy still works at the place where I used to teach… I wonder if I could persuade him to help me…” and by the morning, I had most of a project designed in my head.
That was a couple of weeks ago. Today I was summoned into the Director’s office, I’m not sure why she was so formal about it, seemed like a bit of a chat to me, so I took my chance and dropped in a few switch-based ideas to see what she thought. My jaw nearly hit the floor with her response; “Oh, we’ve got a whole lot of things like that. They’re in a cupboard because no-one knows how to make them work”. Twelve hours later and I’m still not sure whether I’m more horrified that this whole amazing resource is languishing in a cupboard, or delighted that my middle of the night project proposal is halfway to being realised without even having to get out of bed yet.

Being married to techno-geek has its advantages… high on the priority list for post-UK-visit will be the techno-geek-goes-to-school-to-set-their-stuff-up event. Then we’ll need to think properly about matching kids with technology… might still need to get in touch with the mad guy… anyone know if he’s still there? And how to get hold of relevant software given that the big-name products seem mostly to be sold in pounds (Dollars/Euros) by companies who assume that their customers are northern-hemisphere based institutions and thus able to afford same. And finally how to involve and enthuse at least one or two of the staff at the school, which I suspect may be the most important part of the plan, otherwise presumably they might have tried a bit harder to find someone to set the hardware up in the first place.

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