Cursor Classifications Revisited
Marlene R. Pratto
Editor Note: Although Marlene Pratto is no longer a COMPUTE! columnist, she continues to serve as a computing volunteer/aide at a local elementary school. This excellent summary of CURSOR magazine programs for the PET provides useful information for teachers currently using CURSOR.
Cursor magazine continues to be a source of inexpensive and quality programs for PET/CBM microcomputers. Cursor has completed its 22nd issue.
The Cursor programs are classified by grade level and by the skills the children may gain from using the programs. Some games may seem to be classified as appropriate for an age which may seem too young. I think, particularly, of RATRUN on issue 13. This is a simulation of a rat running through a maze seeking its reward of cheese. Only a portion of the maze is shown at any one time (which is all that would be visible to the rat in the actual maze). With this limited amount of information, the children have been able to play and to master this game.
Children are not always able to comprehend the written instructions provided by the program or the printed sheet that comes with Cursor, but the children are able to play these games and to play them well. They learn the rules and strategies by playing the games. GODZILLA is a good example of this.
I have classified some of the classic games such as GOMOKU and KALAH as DT, drill and tutor, since the playing of these games with the PET/CBM as programmed on Cursor can help the player develop playing strategies against a consistent player, the PET. The player may stop the game at any time and start over in order to test his or her new hypothesis about how to best play the game. When playing with a human, the play may be more random and a clear method of play is harder to see. I think that this is a good use of computer games since the student can begin to perceive the pattern of the play.
There is a wide range of programs available on Cursor. These programs have helped to maintain a lively interest in the microcomputers at Erwin Open School. The teachers have benefited from the Cursor programs by having classroom enchancements provided in a new and stimulating way. The children have developed new skills and have learned more about programming and the possible uses of computers.
Note: There are two different MATCH games as indicated in the table.
HE = hand-eye
DT = drill or tutor
LS = logical skills
PS = problem solving
FF = fun & familiarity
|3-4||All of the above|
|5-6||All of the above|
|7-8||All of the above|