Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

World Walker Destination: Australia

Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

World Walker Destination: Australia

Article excerpt

Company: Soleil Software, Inc., 3853 Grove Court, Palo Alto, CA 94303; Customer Service: 800/5010110 or 650/494-0114; Fax: 650/4936416; Technical Support: 415/8130150 or techsupport@soleil.com; www. soleil.com.

Price: $45-hybrid Macintosh/Windows 3.ll Windows 95 School Versions; lab pack and site license available (can be networked for Macintosh or Windows); $10 surcharge for orders under $100.

ISBN: 1-885399-38-3 Audience: grades 3-7

Format: CD-ROM: graphics, sound, video.

System Requirements: Macintosh users will need a 68030 processor or Power Macintosh, 8 MB RAM, System 7.0; Windows users will need a 486 processor, 8 MB RAM, Windows 3.1 or Windows 95, and an 8-bit sound card. Both will need monitors with 640x480 resolution and 256 colors, and a 2x CD-ROM drive.

Description: World Walker Destination: Australia is part science program, part language lesson. To earn the points that will get them batteries for the flashlights they need to explore the caves, students must identify plants and animals as they tour Australia on foot. They may play the Food Chain Solitaire game, visit the Reference Library, or spend time in the Puzzle Room. In the language explorer area, they can learn 500+ words in English, French, or Spanish and makes sentences with them. A short demo of this product can be downloaded from Soleil's Web site.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: I installed this program on a Power Macintosh 7600, a 575 Mac, and on a Windows 95 machine without any trouble. The program instructions suggest turning off the virtual memory, but I left it on when using the Windows 95 machine and had no difficulties. On the Power Macintosh, I needed to turn the virtual memory off to be able to open the interactive manual on the CD-ROM. I also could get more sound on the Windows 95 machine than I could on the Power Macintosh. Installation

Rating: A

Content/Features: Upon entering World Walker Destination: Australia, students arrive at a playing field where they are asked to sign in and choose which language-English, French, or Spanish-they want for the Help option. Although language will remain constant, students may easily hear and see the program in the other languages by simply clicking on the retractable tool bar. From the playing field, they may go to any one of five areas: Spelunker, where they can search for clues to the dinosaur skeleton puzzle; Walkabout, where they can solve the riddles that will earn them the batteries needed for the flashlights to search the caves in Spelunker; Language Explorer, which introduces them to a beginner's vocabulary in Spanish, French, or English; Food Chain Solitaire, a game based on the concept of predators and their prey; or the Reference Library, which contains multilingual and multimedia information cards about the country and its people.

The caves in Spelunker use virtual reality and 3-D images to make you feel as if you really are in a cave. You can watch the wall paintings transform into the real thing when you click on one. Your flashlight battery dims within a few minutes, so you will need to go to the Walkabout section to earn extra batteries if you want to explore the caves for any length of time. The Walkabout section presents desert, forest, and swamp scenes filled with the native plants and animals of Australia and asks students to solve riddles about the various species. According to the abbreviated paper manual that came with the CD-ROM, students who return to the caves will learn to navigate the maze, collect a significant number of dinosaur bones, and assemble them in the hidden Puzzle Room. …

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