Publisher: ETI Date of Publication: 2005
Price: £ 7.95 ISBN:
Pages: n/a Format: CD Rom

Overall Score:

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Each CD has sections on browse, quiz and puzzle with high score and 3D (birds only).



The amount of information produced on biodiversity is such that it needs something to cut through the volume and provide students with some interesting ideas to stimulate interest. To this end, ETI has started to produce some Cds in a series called 'Biodiversity Challenge'. The aim is to get the student involved in ideas of biodiversity through a series of activities in a range of species. So far, these three have been released. The whole package installs easily on the computer and runs from there (just accept the default settings). It starts quickly and soon the viewer is presented with a series of options. 'Browse' opens a new window with a list of species (a button toggles between common and scientific names). There are three images the central one of which contains details about the species such as occurrence/distribution, measurements, flight period etc. depending on which CD you play. Clicking on either left or right image brings that one to the centre with details. The aim of having three is to show very closely related species. 'Quiz' is a chance to match names (either scientific or common) to species. There are 3 levels of difficulty to choose from with each level scoring more points as the difficulty increases. A 'high score' table allows those with the highest results to be noted. The 'puzzle' is a moving game where squares have to be moved to create a properly arranged image (a quite frustrating exercise). On the birds CD, there is a further 3D button which, when using the green and red spectacles provided, give a simple 3D image complete with sound.

There is much that is good in both the idea of this series and the production of the CDs. Images are excellent, virtually an identification guide in its own right (not surprising given the origins of the images from the identification CDs from ETI). The quiz is good but limited and there only seems to be one puzzle. However, to really capture the imagination there needs to be more. The quiz could be looking at different topics, the puzzle might have more levels and there could be a greater emphasis on science education. The identification Cds were packed with data but this hasn't been translated across. There could also be study or teachers notes included. It's this reviewers understanding that the series is just being developed. Overall therefore, so far, so good. There's a good solid foundation but there's a lot to do before this becomes a key tool in biodiversity education.


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