Stickybear Learning Games
For Apple And
Karen G. McCullough
Requirements: Apple II-series
computer with at least 48K RAM and a disk drive. Joystick optional.
Commodore 64 version scheduled for release by this summer.
With their Stickybear series, Optimum Resources and
Weekly Reader Software have developed a reputation for producing
software that is reliable, educational, and entertaining. They maintain
those high standards with three new releases: Stickybear Typing, Stickybear Town Builder,
and Stickybear Spellgrabber.
Typing is an application ideally suited to
computerized instruction-it's an area where the computer can do a
better job than traditional methods of teaching. A good typing tutor
program provides immediate feedback-both aural and visual-for incorrect
keypresses, and allows a student to progress automatically through
levels as each is mastered, rather than dictating progress with a
schedule or lesson plan.
does all this and more. Each of the program's 30 levels introduces the
student to the keys covered in the lesson, then offers practice using
them. The lower half of the screen displays the keyboard; as keys are
highlighted one at a time, the student must press the corresponding key
on the computer's keyboard. A correct keypress prints the letter at the
top of the screen. Incorrect keypresses make a low "bloop" sound, and
the letter doesn't appear. At the end of each two screens of typing
practice, the student gets a progress report which shows the starting
level, current level, number of words typed per minute, number of
errors, and corrected words per minute.
A Typing Game
Another section of the program-Stickybear Thump-allows typing practice
in the form of a game. Stickybear and a robot throw things at each
other while the player copies lines of letters displayed on the screen.
The robot throws boxes at preset intervals; each time a line is
completed, Stickybear throws a ball at the robot. The faster you type,
the more balls Stickybear throws, the more points you get, and so on.
A third section of Stickybear
Typing, the Stickybear Stories Module, provides typing practice
of a more practical sort-copying amusing stories, paragraphs, and jokes.
has a number of nice features. Up to 25 names can be stored on the disk
with current level information for each person. The sound can be
toggled on and off, as can a hands display which illustrates proper
finger placement on the keyboard. In two sections of the program, you
can choose either typewriter mode (you must press RETURN at the end of
each line, and you can't backspace to that line) or word processing
mode (freestyle typing).
Typing is intended primarily for children, it can be used by
adults just as effectively. We found only one problem with the program:
A decent typist can outrun it. Particularly in the game sections,
frustrating errors can occur as the program drops letters which are
typed too quickly. However, most students won't be fast enough to
experience that problem, at least at first.
Stickybear Typing offers several ways
for youngsters to sharpen their
skills (Apple version).
Build A Town
Stickybear Town Builder, for
children ages six to nine, lets the youngsters build their own towns on
the screen, drive through them with a small keyboard- or
joystick-controlled car, hunt for hidden keys, and learn some
elementary map-reading skills in the process. Towns can be saved and
loaded again later, or you can use one of three towns provided on the
disk. The graphics are attractive, and the program is easy enough to be
used by children even younger than six. But children at the older end
of the suggested age range may not find the program challenging enough
to hold their attention for long.
If your child needs work on spelling, Stickybear Spellgrabber might be
the answer. Three different games help a child learn selected word
lists. All three games are fun, challenging, and really can help with
spelling drills. A nice feature of the program allows you to enter your
own spelling list or use one of the four lists included (keyed to
grades 1-4). Stickybear can be controlled with either keyboard or
joystick. While the joystick is slightly easier to use, both require
practice to master. Unlike Town Builder, all three games are difficult
enough to be challenging even to nine- or ten-year-olds, as well as
Stickybear Town Builder
Weekly Reader Family Software
245 Long Hill Road
Middletown, CT 06457
$39.95 each (Apple versions)
$29.95 each (64 versions)