Ozzie's World

A science and ecology learning program featuring games, stories and activities by Digital Impact. Recommended for ages 3-8 (Grades K-4). $29.95 including Parent/Teacher Guide. School discount price: $19.95 guide. Also available in lab pack: $75.00 for 5 CD-ROMs and one copy of the guide for multiple computer installation. Not networkable. Windows/Mac.

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A broad range of topics is covered ranging from building a bird house or miniature rainforest to cooking with solar heat, cleaning an oil spill and making a rainbow. Although not treated in great depth, the experiments provide factual scientific information and are good introductory activities. An exploratory emphasis is used throughout. For example, Ozzie says: "Why don't you hang out and explore all my cool stuff while I water the garden." There are five settings in which to explore. They are a beach, vet's office, forest, garden, and Ozzie's bedroom. After Ozzie introduces each area, he disappears to attend to other ecological matters and the student can view experiments, games, coloring books and fun facts relevant to each area. There are standard games in each section such as the Silly Sorter, Hidden Pictures, Match-a-Pair, Coloring Books, and a Jigsaw Puzzle. Three difficulty levels are provided for each game and good audio explanations accompany each. [Top of Page]

Educational Merit

This material is colorful and engaging but randomly organized for an exploratory approach. The science content of the experiments is simple and well explained by the audio. The sound effects are varied and amusing and the visuals are colorful and basic yet thorough in the "experiment" sections. This program could be used effectively in sparking science project interest even at the Kindergarten level.

A 56-page Parent/Teacher Guide provides transcripts of the experiments and games with educational objectives, lesson planning aids and material suggestions. [Top of Page]

Ease of Use

Even young children should be able to navigate the well explained click and shift-click procedures. However, young non-readers will probably need tips on getting around since some sections (i.e., the Ambulance-Help section) rely on print only. Other sections (games and experiments) contained clear audio instructions and each of the five settings uses standard exploratory features and similar entrance and exit methods. [Top of Page]

Installation Details

System requirements: Macintosh: LC III minimum, System 6.0.5 or later, 4MB RAM, CD-ROM Drive, 640 x 480 256-color Video Display. Windows: MPC 1 minimum, MPC 2 recommended, 386DX 40 minimum; 4MB RAM, CD-ROM Drive, 8 Bit Sound Card, 640 x 480 256- color video display.

This program was installed and tested on a Macintosh LC II 8/80, a Compaq 486 DX2/60, and on a Dell 486 DX33. Performance was slow on the Dell, due to the slower processor. On the faster systems there were no problems and the software ran smoothly. No technical support was required during testing. Sales staff were friendly and efficient when called. [Top of Page]

Other Reviews

Technology and Learning. April, 1995. Page 9:
     ...This software will surely find a welcome place in the
     classroom as an entertaining reward or support activity.
Also reviewed in:
Reviewed by Mary Swan, B.S. in Elementary Education (Math/Science),
MBA, and graduate student in library and information science at UT Austin.
Comments to: mswan@gslis.utexas.edu
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