Monday, November 7, 2011

Ooka Island

Ooka Island

The Ooka Island Adventure is a downloadable hero-mission in 3D designed to teach young children how to read fluently and well. The Ooka Island Adventure combines the highly engaging components of a state-of-the-art virtual world with the scientifically proven OokaMethod that builds literacy skills.
Carefully embedded within the Ooka Island Adventure are dozens of interactive instructional activities that captivate the child and motivate them as they learn essential pre-reading, reading, spelling, and writing skills. After completing the Ooka Island Adventure, children will be on their way to reading fluently and well for life.

I must say, WE LOVE OOKA ISLAND...We spent a good deal of the review time dealing with issues with my computer, but once DD was playing, he was LOVING it. He really LOVES his "human" as he calls his avatar and would have liked spending countless time adjusting that, but, thankfully, the game does not allow for, below, I will recount our experiences.

The issues we had getting started:
Being the Techy dork that I am, when this came up for review, I thought...I have over 50% free disk space...I would LOVE to review this item...well, little did I know...Free disk space is NOT memory and there began my problems, but the customer service/IT help on the Ooka team was PHENOMENAL...truly outstanding. They helped me try to troubleshoot the problem and ended up sending me an installation disk, which had some issues of their own, not at all related to this game...again, my technical genius at work...a portable DVD drive solved that problem...I know just enough about computers to be scary! So, you need to have some MEMORY on your computer...the download is about 2 do not need a DVD drive UNLESS you cannot download the program. You do need internet access though, even though you download some to your computer...there you have my totally NON-TECHY explanation...So, moving on...

You progress through the game in a methodical order...advancing as you progress, but getting review as you struggle. As far as I know, you are unable to skip activities to choose where you want to go on the island...while frustrating at times for DD, I think this is a great feature which fosters practice and learning, rather going only to the activities that are enjoyable or easy. You do your "WORK" (or play...however you choose to look at it...) for 20 minutes and then you get 8 minutes of "PLAY". I love this feature as well...kind of an eat your veggies before dessert idea of keeping your child focused as they know play time is coming...which is silly to call it playing, because it really is all play as the activities are FUN and ENJOYABLE for the most part with rewards to skating down a mountain or placing a sticker on a chart along the way.

Challenges: Besides the installation mess that was my fault...the challenges we had were that the game would freeze up a few times during play...which very likely could have been because of my computer and DD's frustration level at times because he couldn't "do his human"...which was most likely due to trying to play our hearts out before review time....again my fault. I really love the approach presented in this game and look forward to walking through it a little more. The one thing I wish was here, and I understand is in the works is a parent feature showing student progress...I am not sure how he is progressing in his reading skills...he is a pre-reader...on the cusp of getting it...that feature would have been a great way to track his strengths and weaknesses.

Ooka Island has a blog as well, which offers more resources/tips, etc to parents/teachers with articles such as Motivational Tools (talks about the positive reinforcement build into the adventure), Ooka Island Activity Pages
...which is SO COOL...I will need to print this for more to come and Guiding At Risk Little Learners. There really is quite a bit of information on the blog and worth checking out.

Check out what my crew mates had to say about the Ooka Island Adventure here

Disclaimer: I received this item for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation. All the opinions expressed are my own.

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