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School Zone Interactive's Does it Belong? is an electronic workbook for preschoolers, designed to help children practice identifying relationships within sets. Remember workbook pages showing rows of pictures where you had to either strike out the misfit, or circle the matching objects? Here, those same images have been reproduced onscreen.
In Does it Belong?, the user attempts to answer the problems on two pages, and then is rewarded (whether right or wrong) with an arcade game: two that work on hand-eye coordination (think "Pong" and "Space Invaders"), and tic-tac-toe. The user's progress is measured on-screen with a map of bird footprints that allow easy return to missed problems, and with a printable report card. Users who successfully complete all the problems are also rewarded with a printable, personalized certificate.
Does it Belong's electronic workbook provides of 30 pages of classic workbook drills for problem solving involving matching, exception finding, and relationship recognition. The same problems are also provided in a printed workbook, albeit without the audio instructions, positive feedback, and arcade games.
Our young tester found most of the workbook problems to be "pretty easy". The same could not be said, however, for the two arcade "reward" programs that required pretty fair hand-eye coordination, even for an older child. Nonetheless, our parents reported that the program drew repeat play for some time, even after successful completion of all worksheet problems (for the arcade games more than the worksheets).
This program installed easily on our Windows 98 test machine. We could not report the same result, however, on our Windows Me test unit. Here the program seemed to install uneventfully, but would always 'hang' on launch.
In addition to the challenging hand-eye coordination required by two of the arcade games, our review team reported only one other concern about usability. After a new user signs on to use the program (an exercise that for almost all preschoolers will require parental help), he or she is greeted with several minutes of verbal instructions that are far too long for a preschooler to comprehend or remember. Actual usage is obvious, but the introductory instructions were overwhelming to a young user.
Does it Belong is a solid choice for parents or preschool teachers looking for an update to the classic workbook matching experience.
PC: Windows95/98, Pentium 166MHz or faster cpu, 50 MB hard drive space, 32 MB RAM, 16-bit 640x480 display, 4x or faster CD-ROM, 16-bit sound card .return to top of page
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