Magazine article Multimedia Schools

Time Detectives for Hire

Magazine article Multimedia Schools

Time Detectives for Hire

Article excerpt

Company: Rand McNally, P.O. Box 1906, Skokie, IL 60076-8906; Sales and Technical Support: 800/678-7263; Fax: 800/934-3479

Price: $250--single user edition; site licenses available. Includes Teacher's Resource Binder and Bar Code Guide.

Audience: Producer recommends middle and high school; reviewer agrees.

Format: Level I laserdisc: photos, maps, text, video, and music

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Overall Rating

Installation      NA
Content/Features  A-
Ease of Use       C+
Product Support   A

Maximum rating: 5 stars

System Requirements: Laserdisc player and bar code reader or remote control unit.

Description: Rand McNally's Time Detectives For Hire asks students to solve American history mysteries. The laserdisc contains an "Investigation Overview" that serves as an introduction to each inquiry, six investigative segments, and five tutorials. The Teacher's Resource Binder and Bar Code Guide contain the bar code references and frame numbers to research specific resources for each mystery. Among these are 183 historical photos, 54 thematic maps, 25 simulated interviews of historical and geographic experts, and nearly 200 text screens. The photos, maps, and much of the text content are primary source material. A companion laserdisc on world history is expected.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: I tested Time Detectives For Hire on the Pioneer Laserdisc player CLD-V2400 with its companion hand-held remote unit. This laserdisc is not computer interactive and requires no installation. Installation Rating: N/A

Content/Features: Time Detectives For Hire approaches the study of six historical events as mysteries that need to be solved. With a team of young video hosts as guides, students are asked to analyze resources, identify relationships, and infer information from historical evidence. The investigative segments include: 16th century exploration of Florida, the Boston Tea Party, The Underground Railroad, cattle driving, and the building of the Transcontinental Railroad. The tutorials on using information from photos, maps, and poems are useful, and some of them can be used as stand-alone lessons.

I used this program with my 11th grade U.S. history classes. I divided each class into research groups and provided folders containing all of the investigation forms needed and a copy of the bar codes. Some groups investigated "The Family Feud," the story of the Texas to Kansas cattle drives, and others solved "The Treasure Hunt," the story of the first Transcontinental Railroad. I showed the introductory segment of each investigation and three others I found to be good starting points. Then I let each group cycle through the resources at their own speed. …

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