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December 08, 1995 - Image 140

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-12-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

POlVIEROYS

CD-ROM page G57

S

will support, the version of your
operating system and if you need
a sound card.
No. 2 on the return list is that
the software turns out to not be
age appropriate for the child. A
big caution sign to buyers is that
most software retailers do not
Pure Fed Amish
Poached Fish Trays r
take returns. At the Edutainment
Turkeys
&
Chickens
Catalog they will allow a return
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for credit on another purchase.
All
natural
-
no
additives
Whitefish
Each store and catalog will have
Wholesome and pure
its own policies, so check careful-
DAILY SPECIALS
Breads Cakes, Pies
ly before you buy.
Warren Buckleitner, editor of
& Cheesecakes
Children's
Software Revue, sug-
Baked daily on
gests
that
buying
software is not
premises
unlike choosing a toy. "You have
to know your child's interests
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and what will appeal to him." He
feels it's important to check the
Lobster Dinners
copyright date of the software.
with all the fixin's
"Be real careful if it's older than
1994," he explains. "The newer
Homemade Gefilte
titles will have improvements in-
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Fish & Free
corporated and give you less
when ordering
trouble with your newer hard-
fish grinding
ware."
"Our kids are very sophisti-
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cated viewers," says McNulty of
Over 60 Varieties
Learningsmith. "Look for pro-
Finest Fresh Fish Daily
grams where the learning process
6535 Orchard Lake Rd., W. Bloomfield • Old Orchard Center
is well thought out and the ani-
mation well done." Quality can
be judged by the animation (is it
smooth or jerky?) and the crisp-
ness of sound. "Kids are used to
high production values from TV
and will get bored quickly if a CD
doesn't measure up," he warns.
Experts suggest asking if
things can be explored in the pro-
gram in different ways and on dif-
ferent levels of difficulty. Can a
TRAVEL
SET
®
program progress with the stu-
VAN
GOGH
VAN GOGH®
dent from the basics to more com-
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plex learning? Encourage
children to work their way
through all levels of a program to
make sure they are using its full
power. Magazine articles on pro-
grams will often give suggestions
for using them in creative and dif-
ferent ways as well as examples
of how other people have exploit-
ed the software to its maximum
power.
Many stores now offer com-
puter stations where you can sit
and test-drive software. Spend
some time checking out programs
with and without your child be-
fore buying them. Nothing can
really replace hands-on trials
I where you can gauge the quality
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w
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on your own.
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Using the computer as a
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babysitter is no more valid than
plunking a child down in front of
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the TV. "Lap time" is an impor-
m
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tant concept, especially with
=
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(810) 489-8070
younger children. This is time for
a parent and child to enjoy a pro-
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gram together. The more inter-
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58

stronger the learning experience
is likely to be. Parents can sug-
gest options a child might not
have discovered or explored,
thereby creating a bond and aid-
ing the learning process. The
same holds true for older chil-
dren. Although your lap may no
longer be an option, if you ask in-
telligent questions about projects
or programs they are working
with, you may help them think
the assignment through more
clearly.
Diane Kendall, editor of Chil-
dren's Software Press, feels that
the high-end companies have
been working hard to build pro-
duction quality into their pro-
grams so that customers might
begin to rely on a brand name.
On the other hand, Buckleitner,
of Children's Software Revue,
says that even a product bearing
a known label might conceivably
be produced by two separate com-
panies. An example are the Al-
ladin and Lion King activity
centers by Disney. While both are
enjoyable, especially for children
who are into these characters,
they were designed by separate
development companies. The con-
sensus is that Alladin has more
to offer for the dollar value.
Of course you will need to be a
more active participant in pur-
chases for the younger child. "By
the time the kids are older, they'll
be telling you what they want,"
says Barbara Markusson. As a
mother of three, and a techno-
logical (computer) specialist, she
speaks with the voice of experi-
ence. "In my own home I felt it
was important to have a good
keyboard learning program. Kids
will be happier with the cornput-
er if they keyboard well." She
feels that as children grow, they
become more and more interest-
ed in on-line services.
The older the child, the more
likely CD-ROM requests will be
for straight-out entertainment
purchases, rather than those with
redeeming educational value.
Kendall, of Children's Software
Newsletter, suggests that for
these children the important con-
cept is to build in-home reference
materials. "Older children use
broader resources for homework
projects and research. Start with
a good word-processing program
and add an art program that will
allow you to insert pictures in re-
search papers and book reports,"
says Kendall. "An atlas program,
an art gallery CD of masterpieces,
clip art, photo disks and a CD-
ROM encyclopedia can all be
called into use on an as-needed
basis."
Predictions are that it won't be

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