Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

The Magic School Bus Explores the World of Animals

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

The Magic School Bus Explores the World of Animals

Article excerpt

Scholastic, Inc.

The Magic School Bus Animals CD-ROM uses the Auto-Start function and features sharp multimedia opening credits that impressed me and my 10- and 12-year-old sons. I was disappointed in the documentation; the brightly decorated box only yields the CD-jewel case and a somewhat hard to read CD-booklet.

Students begin by signing in to Ms. Frizzle's class, but the limit of 16 characters will aggravate the older children who wish to use their full names. After signing in, the student is presented with Ms. Frizzle's classroom, a point-and-click "living books" style environment. If the student doesn't catch on to the red arrow needed to view the other side of the classroom, Ms. Frizzle and the Magic School Bus might never appear. Eight notebooks filled with facts about fish, birds, snakes, and other animals pop open off the shelf when clicked. They make a very nice presentation, but the resolution is surprisingly low. My wife, a kindergarten teacher, found the background music in the classroom to be annoying.

The program improves greatly once we find our way onto the bus. The bus can be driven to seven different animal habitats, where games, puzzles, and examinations teach about animals in fun ways. The ultimate goal of traveling is to return four misplaced animals to their proper habitats. Compared to the games and puzzles, this was actually the most challenging aspect of the program. Each of the games and puzzles can be accessed several ways: through the classroom, through the "equipment" in the back of the bus, or by clicking on bones, art rocks, and game rocks in each of the habitats. …

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