Friday, October 8, 2010

The Digital Field Trip Series Review

I got to explore The Wetlands, The Rainforest and The Desert without having to pack a diaper bag! As a member of TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was sent a DVD (interactive for use on my computer) from the company Digital Frog International .  Digital Frog International is the creator of natural science software which includes dissection and anatomy and ecosystems.

The Digital Field Trip Series includes The Wetlands, The Rainforest, and The Desert and costs $125 for a Home License or purchase each disc separately for $60. The series includes workbook materials for teachers and students in various formats to make the series as educational as possible. To purchase the material you can visit their website and you can check out the other products that the company offers.

For the purpose of this review, we chose to focus on The Desert portion of the DVD. We were able to choose from 5 different North American Desert locations to explore, such as, Saguaro West, Big Bend, Painted Desert, Black Rock and Death Valley. We had traveled near the Painted Desert on our trip this summer and saw much of the landscape, so I thought it would be fun to dive a little deeper. According to Digital Frog "each location contains photos, videos, animations and interactive exercises". Children (and adults) will "learn about such topics as adaptions and homeostasis; desert types and mechanisms, desert plants and animals and impact of humans on the diverse ecosystem."

I was impressed with the amount of information the program contained, you really could spend a lot of time exploring the various habitats as well as learning about all the animals, plants etc. For example, if there was an animal that  you wanted to learn more about, you could click on it and another screen would come up with more detailed information. This program would be excellent for a child who loves science and is very computer savvy and is able to read well. Younger children would enjoy looking at the pictures and watching the videos, but a parent would have to sit with them to navigate the program as well as read all of the information. Unless you are willing to commit the time to walking a younger child through this program, I would say don't use it with children under a Grade 4 level.

I was a bit disappointed in the viewing screen size. You can enlarge the screen, but the picture just becomes grainy, so working with more than one child at a time would be very difficult. It is also a secular program, which means it does not give credit to God for His creation and has an evolution slant. I would still use the program, but I would make sure that I was there to guide my children correctly.  Lastly if the price seems a bit high to you, grab an encyclopedia and log onto google Earth and you will be able to see pictures of the different locations for free.

Overall, the program is stuffed with loads of information and teaching tools. If you were unable to physically visit places and your child really had a natural bend towards this type of science dicipline, then you would like this program. Don't just  take my word for it though, head on over to the TOS Crew Blog  and see what my other Crew Mates are saying.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was sent this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

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