Turntaking is the first program I have come across specifically aimed at babies and toddlers. But how old is a baby? The notes which accompany the tape tell us about the reaction of an eighteen-month old child, who realised the connection between pressing the keys and the image which appeared on the screen. I was interested to see If the program would appeal to even younger babies, and so I tried it out with thirteen-month old twins, Andrew and Gavin.
When the tape is loaded, the player can select the game required from a pictorial menu - obviously, for such young players, the printed word would be inappropriate. The easiest of the six options is Building Bricks, where the next brick is displayed each time a key is pressed or if the child lust watches, the next brick will appear after a short period of time without a keypress. The twins enjoyed seeing the colourful bricks appearing on the screen, though initially they did not grasp that they could use the keyboard to control the action. After a while, however, young as they are, they got the idea, but only when one key was selected for them to depress.
The attention span of very young children is obviously extremely limited, but the variety of games on the tape kept the twins interested for quite a time. The Grow a Flower game seemed to appeal to them, especially when the head of the flower began to appear on the stem, and the Engine game was also popular as the engine is seen to move across the screen when a key is depressed.
The twins' parents certainly felt that the program would he very useful to support the children 's learning, and that it would help older children learn to make choices, to take turns in playing a game and to control events. The only real criticism they had was that sound could have been used to even greater effect in the games.
The ideal situation for using the program would be to have it set up so the child could leave it and return to it at will, with, of course, an adult present to support the learning activities.
: any key can be pressedKeyboard play
: very responsiveUse of colour
: bright and attractiveGraphics
: simple but eye-catchingGeneral Rating:
A well-designed program, with enough variety to hold a childs attention. Parents should enjoy watching their childs reactions.