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SuperKids Educational Software Review. The parents' and teachers' guide to educational software
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Science Software Reviews

Odell Down Under
by MECC

For Ages 8 - 14

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons of other Science Software titles.

Reviewed on:
Screen shot PowerMac 6100/60 8MB and a 2XCD

Content
“It was the hit of the neighborhood.” That was how one of our parent reviewers described Odell Down Under. Odell transforms the user into a fish learning to survive. Just like a real fish, the user must eat enough of the right foods, avoid enemies, and stay clean and healthy. There are four games within the program: Practice allows the user to choose a fish and learn how to keep that fish alive without competing for points; Challenge assigns the user four fish, and the user earns points by keeping the fish alive and healthy; Tournament is the same idea as Challenge, but includes more than 50 fish and other reef dwellers; Create-A-Fish allows the user to select features for a fish and add that fish to the survival game.

Ease of Install / Use
Installation of Odell Down Under involves three floppy disks and a bit of a wait, but is otherwise simple. Initial use of the program is somewhat complicated, but as one parent said, “My children showed me how to play.” The manual is excellent.

Methodology
For better or worse, our kids reviewers thought of Odell Down Under as a game. That’s a neat trick, given that our teacher reviewers were impressed with the educational design of the program! By putting the user in the role of various sea creatures, Odell forces kids to think about which fish eats what (or whom) and which environment a fish prefers. The program provide the necessary information on each fish, and includes a solid glossary that defines relevant marine terminology.

Proxy Parent Value
Odell scored very well as entertainment and will keep many children happily occupied. “Odell Down Under has a great game component that attracts kids,” commented one parent. However, for the child to get the most educational value out of the activity, a parent should be nearby asking appropriate questions about each fish, underwater environments, and marine word definitions. In addition, both our parent and teacher reviewers noted, “As kids conquer the program, educational content declines versus game time.”

Best for...
Odell Down Under is especially popular among kids who are interested in the ocean or marine animals. All of our kid reviewers enjoyed the program and indicated that they would definitely recommend it to their friends. The manual suggests that ages nine to adult will enjoy the program, but our teacher reviewers felt that it is appropriate for ages six to thirteen.

Bottom-Line
This is an excellent program that provides information for kids to learn, and then forces them to think -- to use the knowledge they’ve acquired. Kids love Odell Down Under and parents can rest knowing that it has educational value. “It’s a fun program,” wrote a kid reviewer, “and I learned a lot about fish.” One teacher also suggested that it would be great in the classroom as reinforcement after a unit on marine life.

SuperKids Rating: 4/5

See also the:
Summary Rating Table for Science Software

Children's Software System Requirements


PC

Macintosh
Operating System Windows 3.1 or higher System 6.0.7 or later
CPU Type and Speed 386 or faster Macintosh LC (68020 or higher CPU)
Hard Drive Space 1 MB n/a
Memory (RAM) 4 MB 2 MB for B/W, 4 MB for color
Graphics 256 color monitor (SVGA) 256 color monitor
CD-ROM Speed floppy floppy
Audio Windows compatible sound card standard
Other Needs n/a n/a


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