Thursday, October 7, 2010

Digital Field Trips from Digital Frog


Digital Frog International is an educational software company whose focus is biology and ecology.   They desire to help students learn to appreciate and care for the world around them.  Digital Frog has 3 main products:


For this review, we were sent the Digital Field Trips Series, which contains 3 separate digital field trips on one disc.

  • The Wetlands (learn about a bog in Ontario, Canada -- grades K-12)

  • The Desert (visit 5 North American deserts -- grades 4-12)

  • The Rainforest (explore Blue Creek Rainforest Reserve in Belize, Central America -- grades K-12)


Each of these field trips is available individually, or together as a series.  They each include a 360 degree visual tour, workbook materials, information about the ecosystems, vocabulary definitions, information about plants and animals, and interactive maps.

When you first place the DVD in your computer, you are offered the option to autorun, install, or open the individual folders for each field trip.  If you open the field trip folder, you can access the teacher's guide and student guides for the workbooks.  The workbooks are available in several formats, including PDF, RTF, Text, and Word documents.



We enjoyed the digital field trips.   At first my children were disappointed that they weren't more like watching a movie, but my 9 year old son soon became interested in clicking through each of the field trips, learning about the animals, and learning more about the ecosystems.  He spent several hours one afternoon exploring the field trips, while I was recuperating from having the baby.  Yet, I know he didn't utilize every resource that comes with this Field Trip series.    We can still re-visit the field trips individually, explore them more systematically, and complete the worksheets that come with them.



The field trips are easy to use.  I spent a few minutes getting my son started, and he quickly figured out how to maneuver through the field trips on his own.  He led his younger siblings through the field trips, and his older siblings peeked in from time to time.   Be prepared to make steady use of the "go back" option, otherwise you will miss out on lots of information.   For instance, when you click on the jaguar in the Rainforest Field Trip,  it shows you several other animals underneath the jaguar.  If you click on the sloth, you are then shown several trees.  If you click on the trees, you don't get to view the rest of the animals, unless you "go back".



(Quick Note: I highly recommend changing your preferences to full screen as soon as you enter one of the field trips.  Otherwise, it is very difficult to view the field trip, especially with more than one person at the computer.)





These digital field trips are not game-like enough for my kids to beg to use them, but they are interesting enough that they won't whine and complain about using them, either.   In addition to the visual field trips, each field trip contains information about that ecosystem in a digital textbook, which includes the ability to click on a word and view a pop-up definition. The Digital Field Trips Series would make a wonderful supplement to a textbook or unit studies of these 3 ecosystems, or they can be explored on their own as a complete ecosystem study.    You can download free demonstrations of each software program HERE.



(Note:  this is a secular company, and these products do not come from a creationist viewpoint.)


There is an educational license version of the Digital Field Trips Series ($199), as well as a home license version for homeschools and families.    The home license version costs $125.00 (saving $55 over buying the field trips individually), and can not be used publicly.   If you're interested in using this with a homeschool group, you'd need to purchase the educational license version instead.  The materials are identical; the only difference is whether they allow for public use.




This item was provided free for our review as a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. We received no other compensation, and this review is our honest opinion. Visit the TOS Homeschool Crew blog to read more reviews on this product by other Homeschool Crew members.


Trusting In Him,
April

2 comments:

  1. I was interested to hear what other Crew Members had to say about this product. I was glad I got to review it - it will be a good resource for future study. There is a LOT on the DVD - it's definitely much more like an interactive textbook than an educational computer game.

    I'm glad the product gave you a bit of rest with your new baby!

    Samantha

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