In What Game Are Questions Answers?
Byline: Joseph Szadkowski, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
In a world of ultraviolent video games, where dexterity of the thumb and index finger is infinitely more important than the flexing of the cerebrum, there must be a place for children and their parents to interact and actually learn something from that overpriced multimedia computer/gaming system. Take a deep breath and enter the ROMper Room, where learning is a four-letter word -- cool.
Educational Insights upgrades its knowledge-packed homage to a classic game show with a new name and software-management elements to keep students mired in questions and learning.
Classroom Jeopardy combines wireless technology with televised entertainment for a nearly exact duplication of the 40-year-old television show currently hosted by Alex Trebek.
This expensive package comes with three wireless remotes for players and a host remote, three erasable name cards (with a marker), wireless antenna, power adapter and the important base unit. The base unit acts as an electronic scoreboard and brain center for use with the pre-programmed cartridge, which contains five sampler games.
Connect the base unit to the back of a television (preferably 27-inch or larger) using the included A/V jack cord and pop a total of eight AA batteries into the remotes to turn any home or schoolroom into a quiz-show studio.
A moderator is chosen, and three players view a category board, choose a topic and buzz in to give their answers in the form of questions. Just as in the real game, all of the nuances exist, including Single and Double Jeopardy, Daily Doubles and Final Jeopardy. (Oh yes, the thinking theme plays, ready to irritate.)
For users who do not want to buy more pre-programmed cartridges covering elementary and middle school curricula ($27.99), the package offers a much easier way to create games and download them into the cartridge. There's even a way to share games with others in the world of Classroom Jeopardy.
Provided software, compatible with a PC or Mac, contains a template similar to common text and spreadsheet editing programs. Users simply type in the questions and answers to create a personalized Jeopardy game.
Once completed, the cheat sheet is printed out for the host and the actual game is uploaded to the cartridge via an included docking station that plugs into the computer's USB port.
The added beauty of the system is that users also can log on to the Classroom Jeopardy Web site (www.classroomjeopardy.com), register (which requires the product's serial number) and access a massive set of games already created and uploaded by an online community.
They all have been checked for inappropriate content (although not for factual accuracy) by Educational Insights and provide quizzes on everything from ancient China for the sixth-grader to Dr. Seuss for the second-grader to Ripley's bizarre facts for the high school student.
The caveat to this wonderful educational assistant is the price, which will overwhelm the typical family. For the home-school group or school district, however, the benefits are obvious, as the challenge to learn moves away from the book and desk to become a pop-culture event.
Classroom Jeopardy from Educational Insights, $499.99. Additional storage cartridges available for $14.99.
Trio of multimedia treats
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This Academy Award-winning effort transforms author C.S. Lewis' fantasy into a blockbuster movie that is celebrated in a two-disc DVD set.
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