Friday, October 8, 2010
TOS Homeschool Crew Product Review ~ The Digitial Field Trip Series( Digital Frog International)
Today's product review is for the CD curriculum "The Digital Field Trip Series" by Digital Frog International . There are 3 levels included on the CD; The Wetlands, The Rainforest, and The Desert. Using the product is easy - put the disc in your PC and choose a destination! Student and teacher workbook materials are located on the disc - you access them by opening the folder for the corresponding geographical area (wetlands, rainforest, or desert). I also received PDF Review's Guides for each of the 3 options (all products received free of charge for review purposes). An informational/instructional guide is included inside the CD case - very handy for finding info quickly and easily.
The Wetlands digital field trip is the original title in the series; it uses virtual reality technology to explore Cloud Lake (Algonquin Park, Canada). The CD has more than 80 screens and are hybrid (allows you to use the same disc on Windows and Macintosh platforms). QuickTime is required for The Wetlands to work properly. Five sections make up The Wetlands; the Field Trip, Wetlands Types, the Study of a Bog, Mechanisms of a Wetland, and Our Endangered Wetlands. As you explore the different sections simply move your mouse pointer over the Virtual Reality pictures and drag to have a panoramic view. You will see Field Notes with information about what is seen on the screen, including animals and plants. Tabs under pictures display extra photographs and movies. The Hot Text cursor feature allows the student to click on a word and display it's definition. The Say-It icon play a spoken pronunciation. The easy to use Menu is accessible at all times from any screen by pressing "M" on the keyboard or by moving your mouse to the menu tab in the top left corner of the screen. Help is never far off - simply press "H" on the keyboard and help is on it's way :)
The Rainforest section is similar to The Wetlands in operation and consists of the following segments: the Field Trip, Rainforest Study, Rainforest Types, Mechanisms of a Rainforest, and Our Endangered Rainforests. From the main menu screen of The Rainforest the student can access the Quick Tour, which contains 5 short videos. These videos give students an overview of CD navigation - they are short and informative, a busy homeschooling mom's dream come true! A total of 30 rainforest plants and animals are profiled in the Digital Field Trip portion of The Rainforest and 29 movies are accessible by clicking on the projector icon. There is more to be explored than can be shared here; your child won't be bored in a few minutes while using this program.
The third section is The Desert which visits 5 North American deserts and uses over 150 screens. The Field Trips, Desert Types, Desert Study, Mechanisms of a Desert, and Human Impact are the CD's five sections for The Desert; this was hands down my favorite segment of the 3 regional topics. I love the panoramic views at each post in the Digital Field Trip. Deserts are fascinating habitats and I only wish I had this resource available to use W-A-Y back in 3rd grade when I wrote a paper on kangaroo rats. I would have learned, and retained, and enjoyed the process so much more!
My personal thoughts on the product are that the maps are a great idea - they make navigation easy and the clickable puzzle pieces in each sub-category allow the student to easily see what they have learned and where else they need to explore. All of my children are able to use this curriculum (ages 10 through 17) although the 10th and 12th graders are probably a bit beyond this curriculum; for them it would be best used as a supplement to their science or geography studies. The fast find keyword search from anywhere in the program is a handy tool. I like the preference settings for sound and screen size, too - with 5 students of varying ages, it's a nice way for each of them to customize their learning experience. The bookmark feature makes it simple to find a topic later on without hunting for it - and it's a nice teacher tool for marking what needs to be reviewed. The cost per CD set is $125 for home licensing and the products are available at www.digitalfrog.com Other products available from The Digital Frog include The Digital Frog 2.5 and Science Matrix; Cell Structure and Function, and each of the aforementioned for sale individually. Look around the website and view the demos. For a variety of learning styles, these products make science fun and interesting.
Happy Science Studies & Remember to Be Encouraged Today!
Day 45 done :)
Jan L. Burt