The software that was evaluated is a called Family Food, it is found on the sesame street website. The object of the game is to make 4 different healthy meals (a milkshake, salad, burritos and/or stew). The gamer gets the chance to pick different ingredients from different areas of the kitchen to add to the recipe besides these children are also learning proper hygiene. The game is enjoyable for children 2 ½ to 5 years of age.
The reason my group and I picked this educational software is because it was a colorful game, provided a lot of choice for the children. Choice is one of 5 main ingredients of active learning according to the high/scope curriculum model (Hohmann & Weikart, 2002). This is something that I identified just by play the game for the very first time. Next I saw this game engages the child by using silly language, this to me was a great of keeping the child engaged in the game. After evaluating the software further, I came to learn this software was age appropriate in more than on way.
The product uses extensive use of graphics, colors, shapes and objects that enhances learning in ways not possible in a written text – The Multisensory Approach (Goyne, McDonough, & Padgett, 2000). There is use of animation, video and proper use of audio. The program is sequential as it portrays the order of e.g defrosting the food before adding it to the recipe. This provides transferable skills that can be used in everyday life of the child. Even though it the topic hovers around cooking it manages to talk about safety, the daily sequence of events, hygiene and healthy eating.
The difficulty of the game does not change through out, although in the game there is a variety of foods that can be cooked the gamer does not get a chance to pick which one they’d like to cook first. The level of difficulty stays stagnant throughout the game thus not challenging the gamer to progress throughout the game. Since it is geared towards 2.5-5 year olds so it does stick to the basics in terms of attention, hand-eye coordination etc. Another limitation to this software is its navigation. Some may feel the navigation is age appropriate – the navigation in the game is giving the gamer no control of play, pause or main menu- but I feel adding a menu, creating different levels and different methods of adding ingredients (not just shaking on top of the rest of the recipe) would be great recommendations for the next iteration of this game. The method that is used of moving ingredients back and forth to add to the recipe may seem repetitive to adults but when thinking of a preschool child 2 ½ – 5 years, they are still mastering their skills and the use of repetition can be seen appropriate.
Here is a screen cast and an in-dept evaluation of the Family Food game.
Goyne, J. S., McDonough, S. K., & Padgett, D. D. (2000). Practical Guidelines for Evaluating Educational Software. The Clearing House. Retrieved from SLATE.
Hohmann, M., & Weikart, D. P. (2002). Educating Young Children . In M. Hohmann, & D. P. Weikart, Educating Young Children . michigan: High/Scope Press.