Just over a week ago, while I was sleeping in, seven-year-old Vivian wrote and self-published a book. It was Sunday. My husband had left for work, William was watching cartoons, and Vivian was bored. Because I’m a good mother and had been out until 1 a.m., I told her to go play computer games. I turned over and went back to dreamland.
One hour later, when I shuffled into our office to inspect the silence, I saw this.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m making a book,” Vivian answered.
“How did you do that?” I asked.
“Well,” she explained, “I took a piece of coloured paper and folded it a certain way. Then I ripped it here.” She unfolded the book to show me. “And then I folded it a special way.”
I was lost after step one. “How did you learn how to do that?”
“I watched a video,” she said.
“A video?” I asked.
“On the computer,” she said.
“How did you find a video?” I asked.
“I googled it.”
“I googled it. You know, that empty box in the corner?” She pointed to google rectangle at the side of the screen.
“What word did you google?”
Vivian said, “’How to make books.’”
I nodded, still processing that my Grade One kid knew how to search and had started to use Google as a verb.
“The first one I clicked on and watched wasn’t very good,” she said. “They used thread. And I knew I couldn’t use thread by myself.”
“Right.” I shifted, listening intently.
“So I watched the next one. At first I watched it just to enjoy it. Then I watched it again to see all the steps. Then I watched it three more times while I was making it.”
“Right,” I said.
“Then I had to write a story to go on the book.”
“That makes sense,” I added.
“So I did that in Word.”
“Word?” I asked.
“Ya, it’s where you type stories.”
“Right. How did you learn that?”
“In computers at school. I changed the font size too and made it bold.”
“Are you going to put this on your blog?” Vivian asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe.”
She smiled. “Do you like it?”
“I do. It’s amazing. Mommy’s just a little surprised you figured all this out on your own.”
She smiled again. “Let’s go downstairs,” she said and walked out of the room.
“Right,” I said, before following.
In case you’re interested, this is the video Vivian watched:
Come back Wednesday for Part 2 of this story, “Kids Using Google: The Cons,” when I’ll share what Vivian googled (and discovered) yesterday morning. Sigh.