Thursday, May 14, 2020

Kids and Steno

Someone recently posted this video on the Plover Discord. I'd seen it before, but I watched it again, because the subject's been on my mind lately. My own kid has really been getting into writing lately, both with markers and crayons and on my computer. Just about every day he asks me if he can "play Vim", and his favorite thing to do is to make little guys going \o/ and /o\, and also mashing random alt codes to see what special characters he can dredge up. But yesterday he asked me how to write "catlike tread" and "Rude Buster". (Two of his favorite songs these days, from The Pirates of Penzance and the Deltarune Soundtrack, respectively) He already knew how to spell "cat". I walked him through figuring out "like", told him that "tread" had an A in it for no discernible reason, and helped him sound out "Rude Buster", which he typed letter by letter as he matched the sounds to the word.

Then I asked him if he would like me to write them in steno, and he said yes! So I wrote the outlines, broke them up into pieces, and told him what each chord sounded like. He grasped the concept pretty quickly, which thrilled me to my toes. The moment was fleeting, and he soon moved on to banging out random special characters again, but I'm excited about moving forward with him, bit by bit. Lately he's seemed frustrated whenever he's gotten to play on my steno machine, preferring the simple transparency of the qwerty keyboard to the mysterious seemingly random output he gets from hitting steno keys, but I'm hopeful that I'll be able to bring him into the steno fold sooner rather than later.

Has anyone ever taught their kid how to read or write steno? I was thinking about breaking out one of my old manual machines from storage and using it to write secret messages to him on paper steno rolls, if I can locate any in these strange times. What do you think?

a vim window reading catlike tread and rudebuster in English and steno, plus some random special characters

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