TDK Mediactive Movie Book

Contact Information
TDK Mediactive, Inc.
Calabasas, CA
(800) 877-4778

From preschool to middle school, the TDK Mediactive Movie Book software package offers a variety of fun, educational and skill-building adventures with recognizable and popular movie characters. Students can practice their reading skills or fine-tune their math skills with characters from An American Tail, Babe, The Land Before Time, Casper and Lost In Space. The characters will appeal to children of all ages and get them involved in these educational activities.

The package includes a variety of games and an informational outline of each one. The three movie book games, An American Tail, Babe and Land Before Time, offer a wonderful way for students to practice reading a familiar story. The students can follow along while the computer highlights the text that is being read aloud, or the students can read it on their own. All of the movie books have fun games the students can play while going through the reading adventures, and also contain exciting video clips from the movies. While all of the movie books are valuable to any classroom's reading program, I found the Babe movie book to be the most fun and interesting to use.

The two early reader software games, Babe and Casper, are similar to the movie books but have a little less reading and a little more of the interactive games. While both pieces of software allowed for different levels of play and fun incentives for the different reading skill games, Babe is the more desirable of the two for classroom use. It has a parents' page that shows the student's progress in each of the different skill areas; the Casper game d'esn't offer that. The Casper game also has characters that make crude bodily noises as part of the game. I found those noises to be unnecessary and a drawback to classroom use.

The Babe Preschool Adventure is a wonderful tool for teaching preschoolers or young kindergartners a wide variety of skills, including counting, number, letter and shape matching and citizenship. The student "sells" tickets to a carnival by completing different tasks. When the carnival audience is full, the student is treated to amusing, interactive stunts by the characters. Afterwards, the student gets to present the money made from the ticket sales to a charity of his or her choice. I found that to be a wonderful addition to the game.

The two activity center games, Land Before Time and Casper, along with the Land Before Time Kindergarten Adventure, are entertaining programs that teach basic computer skills and problem solving. The two Land Before Time programs have a create-a-story game which would be a lot of fun for students to use in the classroom. However, these do not offer as many skill-building activities as the aforementioned software, and are somewhat less advantageous for enhancing classroom curricula.

The two math adventures, Land Before Time and Lost In Space, are vastly different in their potential for use in the classroom. The Land Before Time Math Adventure is a wonderful way to enhance a classroom's math program. It has different levels of play, explanations of math symbols and a progress report. It also allows the student to choose between activity or adventure mode. In the adventure mode, the characters tell a little story before you begin each game. The activity mode circumvents the story and brings you directly to the games. The Lost In Space Math Adventure has great potential for use in the classroom with older students. It is challenging and uses more grown up characters. Unfortunately, there is a significant amount of "shooting" in order to complete games and tasks: for example, shooting the correct numbers to fill in the math equation, or shooting space spiders as a reward. I don't think many schools would look upon this favorably, and therefore I find it unsuitable for classroom use.

The majority of the software in this package is fun, educational and entertaining. The movie books, early readers, Land Before Time Math Adventure and the Babe Preschool Adventure are definitely of educational benefit to the classroom. They offer a variety of important skill-building opportunities with fun, recognizable movie characters. The Activity Center games and the Land Before Time Kindergarten Adventure are fun and have educational value; however, they are not as beneficial as the others. The Lost In Space Math Adventure was a disappointment with questionable content. While this software package d'es not offer the user the chance to have multi-player games or an Internet connection for extending the students' learning opportunities, it is a good software package that the students and teachers will enjoy using together.

Kathy Kelleher
Former Teacher
[email protected]

This article originally appeared in the 02/01/2001 issue of THE Journal.