We are a family with a huge love of technology. Technology is a passion of Xander's, as is gaming. He first started out using my laptop, and then we purchased his first PC when he was 7. It was an amazing fit for him and we did make many upgrades over the following years. His interests expanded and the need for a better PC has certainly grown with him.
He has often enthusiastically helped daddy with replacing components, so the journey to building his own computer began. 😃
This post is not about recommendations in terms of components, because that is something that you would need to decide based on the needs of your child. This post is about what an incredible experience it was for Xander to completely understand his new machine inside and out, while building it.
There are so many amazing skills to be gained from this type of project, and we wanted to share a bit of the experience with you.
A great deal of planning and researching components came into play. My husband is a software engineer and gaming enthusiast, and he spent a good deal of time with Xander working out and understanding components that would offer growth and expansion. Xander watched some great videos on Youtube checking out all of the components and how they are handled, especially the CPU.
It is amazing how many generous people have posted their experience to help others.
Xander was most interested in how everything fit together. He either installed or helped with all of the component installations, and helped to wire it.
Dad went through the process after ward, of setting up the machine and moving all of his data over.
It's no small process and certainly not for everyone, but was incredibly rewarding!
Xander plays all kinds of games online with friends, and he has done a great deal of work configuring his own servers for various group play. It's an incredible collaborative community, and an amazing thing to watch 💕
Those who have been following us know, that we have a great love of all things including nature, gardening, animals, anything outdoors, travelling, exploring and experiencing, as this is our life. Technology has become an extension of all things that we love as a family. We use it creatively, to research, to connect, to share, and to collaborate.
The online community of sharing has literally changed the world. I am humbled and astounded by the amount of hours and years that people have spent recording their talent, knowledge and efforts to share with the global community. Humanity is connected in a way that is so beautiful in so many ways, but greatly by technology.
Our connection as a family to our global community has been nurtured and strengthened by our online connections, and we are so grateful for this. We would love nothing more than to visit every corner of the globe, but as this is just not possible. We can experience the life and love of so many, online. Technology is fed (in my opinion take it or leave it) by the collective passion for connection that most of humanity shares.
Xander has moved on to many things, but I thought I'd share a few things that have been really interesting to watch, especially those who are looking for a more traditional learning experience.
Most everyone is familiar with Minecraft, so given this was Xander's first collaborative game experience that he started when he was around 6yrs online with other children.
I thought I would chat about our experience. He started with a group of children that we all knew. The kids connected through kype with parents all in the background providing support. Some families created servers for their children to connect and play together.
Technology Learning and ChallengesThere were an incredible amount of skills that we all developed not just our children.
Our children over time learned about downloading and installing games, and applications to modify those games (mods).
Xander did a huge amount of reading and research required to find correct versions of games and mods that meshed. Learning about system requirements and optimizing settings in their games to reduce frame rate and lag. In some cases configuring server settings and changing worlds on various servers. They all research various games to better understand and compare features.
Xander has learned to use recording and video editing software. There are a huge range of other technical skills they have developed.
Safety onlineOne thing to note is that our children all have great parental support. We have great conversations about online safety and privacy. Also safety in terms of protecting their machines from viruses.
Learning to play the gameThis may sound really obvious, but there is a great deal to take in in terms of playing any game, weather it be a board game, console game, or PC game. It's much like when you get a new piece of software that you need to completely research and learn to use. This is a skill that your child is developing every time they start a new game.
As your child learns a new game like Minecraft or others, there will be many features and controls, materials, resources, and stats to track.
Communication and Problem SolvingWhile it can be difficult with a group playing online it was incredible to watch them negotiate one another. I must say that I personally can find it difficult coordinating a project with multiple people who may all have a slightly different direction for the project in mind.
Our children create projects and plans by brainstorming ideas together. They create role play story lines, and design entire worlds and environments to support the vision of their stories and ideas.
They design structures, homes and businesses. There is a constant give and take happening.
Organization, Strategy, Time Management, and PlanningThis is much like the experience our children gain when collectively planning and building projects through gaming and online. They plan and come up with a strategy based on the strengths of those who are playing, and delve out tasks to be completed in effort to reach an objective or level.
There is a great deal of planning, and organizing happening. They are building storage for countless materials and resources needed to progress, and craft materials. All of this is happening along side monitoring the stats and health of your character. In some games your child will even be monitoring weather conditions and temperature, and the health and welfare of their animals.
Have you ever found yourself saying, I have no idea how to play or even understand what my child is doing online? There is a reason for this. It is not easy and requires an incredible amount of determination and learning, to essentially learn new software and develop the skills to play these games.
Language, Math, Finances, ScienceAll of this traditionally sought after and recognized learning is happening during play. While many games are very icon heavy to help your child/player easily recognize features in a game, there is a huge amount of reading, and in turn new language that your child will be doing and absorbing during play.
Math is a given when dealing with large numbers of resources that require tracking to craft and create large building projects and materials. There is constant monitoring of levels and stats that are most often numeric, and in some kind of menu or chart style form. Often resources must be divided between players. Concepts like estimation, multiplication, squaring, cubing, calculating area and volume are all concretely explored in a game like Minecraft. Proportion and ratios, are explored in crafting recipes.
Resources or money are often saved in effort to purchase larger materials or resources later on in the game, encouraging a wise and frugal use of resources for future planning.
Games in general are about exploration and experimentation. Physics tend to be most represented in the games our children have played especially when constructing machines and other mechanisms in certain games. The game Scrap Mechanics comes to mind as of late, because Xander and friends were building a fully functioning monorail.
The most exciting part is that all of this is happening while your child is excited and passionate and jumping at the chance to explore and create. When you think about it, are these not all skills that you are using right now in some form?
The skills that are acquired pretty much fit most job descriptions.
It has been an incredible evolution to watch all of this take place, between friends who live all around the world connecting online together. The most helpful thing I ever could have done was to hop in and play, or really watch to see what our children loved about technology and playing together online.
I thought I would leave you with this precious video of Ava playing Minecraft.
She was new to the game at this time 💕