Albert's House (Hummec) Review | A&B Computing - Everygamegoing

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Albert's House
By Hummec
BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in A&B Computing 5.07

Albert's House (Hummec) (BBC B/B+/Master 128)

This is a program aimed at children in the four to seven age range, including those with learning difficulties. It aids development of good hand/eye co-ordination, fine motor control and also gives practice in sequencing. The disc contains a suite of four programs designed to enrich topic work undertaken on the theme of "My House", which is a much used topic in this age range.

"Albert is a mouse who lives with a rather affluent middle class family and a cat." (Don't let that put you off!) "He's a very creative mouse and the computer is used to explore his house as a means of playing with him and eventually rescuing him." The program is divided into four parts, each at a more advanced level than the previous ones.

In part one the children explore the house - nine locations in all - using the arrow keys to place the screen cursor over the door handles or direction arrows. In my early version of the program this is far too pernickety for young children, but I understand that later versions are more tolerant and a Concept Keyboard version will be available soon. There is no writing on the screen at any time, so it's an easy way to explore the house, discuss what's there and compare with their own.

Program two allows them to search the house and text is used for the first time. The cursor is used for movement through the house and to pinpoint items requiring closer examination. On entering a room for the first time, pressing H reveals several flashing dots. These indicate objects or locations about which the computer stores more details. Moving the cursor to a dot will result in options being offered on screen, e.g. Look behind, Look inside. A wide range of objects are to be found and a variety of positional words used.

Hide and Squeak is the third option, in which the program hides Albert for the children to find. A "mousemeter" in the form of a line on the screen or numbers up to 100 are available as a "hot/cold" guide.

In Save the Mouse, the children have to move around the house and save Albert from his dilemma. In order to do this they have to find various essential objects. Much of the information will be readily available to those who have explored the house thoroughly in the earlier programs, but it will encourage them to search the screen thoroughly for objects and information. No doubt most children will hope for a little more than the screen version of the prize for successfully rescuing Albert!

The handbook includes useful suggestions for using the program and the A4 master sheets of words and pictures the children meet in Search the House (program 2). This is another very pleasing program from RESOURCE and the keyboard of Derek Allen with the usual delightful graphics, which has been very well-received by my reception class - an excellent stimulus for language development.

Des Thomas

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