Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Study Buddy Handheld Tutors

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Study Buddy Handheld Tutors

Article excerpt

Company: Brainchild Corp., 2706 Horseshoe Dr. S., Suite 102, Naples, FL 34104. Phone: (800) 811-2724; internet: www.brainchild.com.

Description: The Study Buddy Handheld Tutor looks like a small handheld game. The device, which is designed for students of all ages, offers electronic multiple choice practice that allows students to learn and work with study material before testing.

Specifications: The Study Buddy unit is slightly smaller than 4"x7"x1". The device is very light and easy to hold; it looks like a small handheld electronic game with seven buttons on the front, a speaker, and a cartridge port. The 2"x3" screen displays simple animations in color with sound. The device comes with a nice carrying case and a charging plug. The unit is rechargeable, but the batteries cannot be removed from the device. If the batteries fail, the unit must be sent to the company for repair.

Price: The Handheld Tutor unit price is $299.99. Program cartridges are individually priced at $49.99. Quantity discounts are available. The purchase of at least one cartridge is required to use the Study Buddy handheld unit.

Minimum System Requirements: The Study Buddy is a handheld electronic device that requires the installation of a plug-in program cartridge to provide the study materials. The unit must be charged with a provided plug; a single charge keeps the device working for about 8 hours.

Warranty: The Study Buddy Handheld Tutor is warranted against defective materials or workmanship for 1 year after purchase. The screen, if damaged due to carelessness or misuse, costs $100 to replace.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: There is no real installation required. The Study Buddy may need to be charged. Other than that, a cartridge is inserted, the unit is turned on, and the device is ready for use. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Despite being a reasonably complicated electronic device, the Study Buddy Handheld Tutor unit is a pretty basic system.

A small on/off switch is located on the top of the unit next to the cartridge port. Four buttons on the left side of the screen (labeled A, B, C, and D) are pressed to answer test and study questions. Pressing a button a second time after answering a question brings up an explanation of why an answer is wrong and how to get it right.

Three buttons (selection, menu, and volume) are lined up to the right of the Study Buddy's screen.

In this day of multiple-function electronics, this unit can seem a bit too simple; the device does nothing other than use the content of the inserted cartridges. On the other hand, the simplicity is a plus; learning how to use the Study Buddy is very easy.

To get the device working, users must purchase at least one of the nearly 30 cartridges currently available at a cost of $49.99 each. The Achiever! study cartridge series offers seven math levels, seven reading levels, and seven science levels. These cartridges are aimed at state standards and are intended to help students prepare for state assessment tests.

The 11 Mechanics Basic Skills/ESL (English as a Second Language) cartridges address two levels of math and three levels of reading, vocabulary, and writing. These cartridges are available in English, Spanish, and Haitian/Creole.

For this review, I examined two of the cartridges: Achieve! Science and MEAP (Michigan Educational Assessment Program) Math Level 4, which specifically addresses Michigan GLCEs (Grade Level Content Expectations). …

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