Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 140 / MAY 1992 / PAGE 104

Barney Bear Goes to School. (educational software) (Evaluation)
by Carol S. Holzberg

Once upon a time, there were three bears--a mama bear, a papa bear, and a charming little brown bear named Barney. See Barney Bear. See Barney Bear sleep. Wake Barney Bear up. Help Barney Bear Bear dressed and eat his breakfast--it's time to go to school.

In Free Spirit's early learning program Barney Bear Goes to School, young children (ages 2-5) keep company with Barney Bear as he gets ready for school. When the scene moves into the classroom, children participate in a variety of gamelike activities involving letters, shapes, words, numbers, and electronic paints.

There are no written instructions to stumble over. A robotic synthesized voice tells children how to proceed. It may suggest they find Barney a shirt of a particular color to wear or a specific breakfast food to eat. It may invite them to play an activity. Whenever youngsters carry outspoken instructions, the voice speaks encouraging words of positive reinforcement.

Even young preschoolers will have fun with Barney Bear. Kids discover several interesting objects to explore. It doesn't take them long to learn that when the cursor changes from a hand pointer to a smiley face, they can select the underlying item--simply by clicking the mouse--to hear a realistic sound effect or music clip. There are words to spell, numbers to count, and 15 blackline pictures to color. The mysterious voice counts to 10 or recites the alphabet, if prompted.

Barney Bear Goes to School is an engaging early learning program reminiscent of Broderbund's Playroom--though not quite of the same caliber. It introduces preschoolers to computers while building basic skills.

Colorful graphics and realistic Sound Blaster sound effects elicit squels of laughter. Kids enjoy manipulating the mouse as they explore software activities.

So encourage your children to visit the little red schoolhouse with Barney. It's a great way to get them ready for their own first days at school.