Exploring Our Solar System. (Documentary-Based Programs)_ (Software Review) (One of Ten Evaluations of Multimedia Science Programs in 'Multimedia Science Programs: Moving Science Education beyond the Textbook') (Evaluation)

Article excerpt

AIMS Media's Exploring Our Solar System videodisc, which targets grades three and up, offers a film documentary introduction to the sun, planets, and asteroids, the astronomical forces that act among them, theories on the solar system's origins, and more. Its visuals include photos and film footage from space, plus artwork and three-dimensional models. The disc is available for purchase without software as a level-I product. But when you add to it accompanying HyperStax software, the degree of integration between the and videodisc content makes this interactive program.

The software provides numerous links into the video material by way of on-screen graphics based on images from the videodisc. The links are cleverly implemented for speedy access. Simply pointing--never mind clicking--at the planet Saturn can bring up an image of Saturn on the video monitor. Slide over to Neptune to see that planet. Clicking on the graphic can then display a whole series of images of the planet.

Organized around interesting topics in astronomy, the "hot" graphic images provide rapid and comfortable access to the videodisc. There's even a map of the links between different sections of the program, making it easy for users to jump from one section to another. The factual information provided is interesting and well illustrated. …