While Buzz Lightyear loves to ?fly to infinity and beyond,? he needs to ground himself better in the basics of what makes software work. Buzz?s entry into the academic software arena falls short of mark because of some programming flaws.
The software opens in Andy?s room, the familiar setting of the Toy Story movies. There, by visiting the various toys, children discover nine activities. The activities cover spelling, reading, math, telling time, music, geography, and logical thinking. The program also provides a way to print additional materials.
These activities are fun to explore at first; and six of them actually have special programming that adjusts the content presented to mesh with how the child is performing. Nevertheless, the software has some fundamental flaws:
1. There is no sign-in, so the program cannot keep track of a child?s performance over time. Every time the child plays, he must replay easy levels to get to material that is right for him.
2. There is no story line or motivational system to bring children back to the title. For most children, the activities alone are not fun enough to return to the software repeatedly.
3. The reading activities fail to highlight words when read. Most first graders are beginning readers and would benefit from highlighting.
4. Animations repeat and are uninterruptible.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.