Access, Books, Computers - Community Lit. ABCs (Part 2)

Getting my in-home learner a new PC turned out to be more work than I'd wanted - mostly because I've forgotten almost everything I knew about DOS 6, Win98se and the joys of restoring device drivers. Thankfully, my laptop gives me access to the high-speed internet and a cd burner. (See the back story here.)

First thing I did was dismantle the two machines I've had underfoot in order to get the best mix of memory, processor and HD.

Then I started installing and rebooting and installing and rebooting and swearing at being stuck with 640 px and 16 colours for the longest time, and never getting the freaking audio driver to work! (Thankfully, I was able to uStream a b-ball game and then a 70s rock v-j show to get me through the longer reboots and spin-ups.)

I'm talking about community literacy work, here, you understand. I'm talking about the part that's in addition to dropping off readers and workbooks, or running a drop-in class at the library.

Anyway, too many cups of coffee later, I had Win98se humming along. Now I was ready to load some freeware. I put on a few educational games I had stored in my skydrive for just such an occasion, and found two more on a freeware site. Once more, everything was fussier - took longer - than it needed to.

Then it was off to bed for a couple of hours before delivering my prize hog.

It was a cold, bitter Sunday - seems like it's been cold all month down here - so I called a cab. I packed the PC tower and an assortment of books in an over-sized gym bag.

Ten minutes later, I plunked the machine down in her place, and invited her to hook it up.

"Me?!?" she said, with that practiced I can't do anything tone.

"Listen," I grumbled, "I've been hooking it up all night. Now it's your problem." (Of course, what I really wanted was to create a sense of independence and ownership on her part. If this was going to work, it had to start working right now.)

So, she stuck the cords in where they belonged, getting stuck only once. Then we booted it up.

Windows immediately recognized a new keyboard, mouse and monitor - and I immediately recognized that I'd forgotten to bring my Win98 cd with me... Oi!

Not to worry - all the right drivers got loaded, and the program chugged open. Yay!

We tested out the several spelling games. She returned to one she particularly liked. I watched for 10 minutes or so. And then I realized that I was done.

Before I left, she looked through the books I'd brought - more Quick Reads and other novels for adult readers - and chose two. She returned the ones she had borrowed last time, and showed me some of her writing.

Then I called a cab to take me home and to bed.

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