French Software Reviewed

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Software Title:      Jump Ahead French   
Publisher :   Knowledge Adventure
Age Group : 5 - 8 years
Curriculum Area : Modern Foreign Languages
Year of Publication : ‘97/’98
Mac, PC or other :    Windows 98 / 95 / 3.1 Power Mac
Summary

Jump Ahead French is a useful resource for the Modem Foreign Language class.One is welcomed into Rabbits colourful and interesting Clubhouse.  The player is encouraged to explore and investigate items in the Clubhouse.  Each item is linked to a particular number, the town, the calendar.  By clicking on items within the chosen theme, the player hears the word in French and sees it printed on the screen.  The game facility within each theme allows the player to revise, practice and consolidate the vocabulary which he/she has learned at two levels in a fun and stimulating fashion.

Overview of Teaching with this Title

I used this software in conjunction with class lessons on the topics.   The children had already heard and used these words prior to their work on the computer.  The children using headphones, in order to minimise class disruption, worked individually.

Content

The content is accurate, reliable and up-to-date without cultural gender or racial bias.  Pronunciation is of a high standard.  Within some of the themes e.g. The Town, The House, I felt the range of vocabulary which the children were introduced to was too broad and unnecessary, particularly for the recommended age group.  The software is designed in a multi-sensory fashion, appealing to a variety of learning modes - visual, aural and linguistic.

Design and Navigation

The pictures presented in each theme contain plenty of action which is more appealing to young children than motionless pictures.
The background music is cheerful and appealing to young children and clever use is made of the friendly rabbit character who is available for assistance.  Clear distinct instructions are issued at all times.
Displayed on each window as the children proceed through the software are distinct symbols which provide for assistance, repeat of directions, change of game level, progress report and awards scheme.  The player can move easily between each of these.

Installation and Use

The progress report facility provides a detailed account to both teacher and student of the topics covered, the number of games played within each section and the score achieved.  This report can be printed. One can edit the programme easily - a necessary facility for the classroom setting.  The product runs on auto load and launches quickly.  Response to child input is automatic.

Supporting Documentation

Unfortunately, there is no support documentation to accompany this software.  It is only through exploration of the software by the teacher, that one becomes familiar with its content and operation.
In general, this is a useful resource and one which appeals to the children.

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