When I was young and going to school (elementary school I mean) the roles of parent and teacher were defined differently. Teachers were responsible for the education and preparation of kids for the working future. Parents, well they were responsible for every thing else. And the line was never crossed.
This is now
However, with the ever increasing demands on the education system and it’s teachers, plus the increased expectations for our kids, many parents now take a more active role in their children’s education. They volunteer in the classroom or on field trips. They help with homework and class projects. And they’re interested in other ways that will give their kids an advantage or JumpStart
That’s where JumpStart comes in. If you have kids under ten you’re probably familiar with the name and its association with educational computer software. But are you familiar with JumpStart 3D Virtual World, an online award-winning 3D interactive educational environment for kids? Our family had the opportunity to play around in this virtual world.
Visit the JumpStart 3D Channel on YouTube for more videos.
JumpStart is personalized for each child and this personalization starts right at the beginning with the creation of their own jumpee. The jumpee represents your child as s/he explores the 3D world. There are numerous configurations you child can choose to customize their jumpee, including hair, eyes, and even clothing. And you kids can change their jumpee at any time during their adventure. Now worries if you have more than one child playing in JumpStart; each child can set-up their own jumpee. My little testers enjoyed this aspect of JumpStart almost as much as the games themselves, especially my seven year old daughter. She loved changing clothes and hair colour at the start of each adventure.
Welcome to the JumpStart Virtual World
Once your child’s jumpee is created, they’re ready to start their adventure. When they enter the JumpStart 3D World they will be greeted by a guide who will give them direction and guidance throughout their adventure. Your child’s jumpee is then able to walk around the environment, enter buildings and talk to JumpStart characters with the simple use of their mouse or keyboard arrow keys (note: talking with JumpStart characters is not a chat but rather the character speaking pre-scripted dialog as a why of guiding the kids through the virtual world). Kids can also move around the environment by accessing the map icon at the bottom of the screen. This will enable them to move their jumpee right into a specific area of the 3D world they want to explore. And here’s what is waiting for them:
Visit the Newsland to find out the latest additions to the JumpStart world, like new game levels or portals to new adventures. The Arcade contains various games to help improve mouse and keyboard skills. There’s something for everyone in there. Checkout the jumpees with the daily, weekly or monthly high scores in the Hall of Fame. In Adventure Land kids train for the ultimate online adventure. Through a combination of game play and exciting learning activities, kids improve their math and reading skills while earning rewards. The coins they earn as their reward for completing levels enables them to buy more items for their jumpee. While visiting Story Land, kids are encouraged to explore and meet the online characters. With each encounter they will receive a new piece of a story. Once all the pieces are complete, they can visit the library to read it or have it read to them. They’ll also discover art and music and other interactive activities to keep them entertained for awhile. Plus other areas like the Movie House, Buggy Racer and Ghost Town Grab to entertain and challenge kids. And there’s room to expand new portals and add new game levels.
Designed with Kids in Mind
The village is colourful with a cartoon fun feel. The navigation buttons and mouse cursor are large making them easy to use, even for a novice computer player. The JumpStart online characters act as friendly guides, helping the kids through sections of the village. The gaming instructions are either audio or in picture form so no reading skills are required. And the handy help button enables the kids to hear or view instructions again and again if they need to. But what do the actual kids think?
|7 Year Old Tester My favourite part was the pet adoption center in Story Land. I played a lot of the games, even the math and reading games were fun. It took me a while to figure out how to earn money in the game. Now I play those games all the time. I can’t wait until I have enough money to buy my jumpee some new clothes. I really like letting my jumpee walk around the town. You can talk to the other characters, find hidden suprises. There’s even these trampolines that you can bounce on to get around the town. This is as much fun as being on Webkinz.||4 Year Old Tester I like that it feels like a real world. It’s not just a game. I like Adventure Land best. There are lots of secret paths and the slide and hand glider are so cool. I like using the map so I can get to my games fast. It’s quicker than walking my jumpee around. The Speed Drome is cool because you can race cars. It’s a little tricky but I’m getting better.|
Downloadable Games – as a member you get exclusive access to interactive games you can download and play directly on your computer to those times when an Internet connection isn’t handy
Parent Zone – create an online profile, meet and participate in online discussions with outher JumpStart parents and the JumpStart team. Receive email updates when changes about new and exciting changes in the JumpStart world.
JumpStart Blog – have access to the latest information from JumpStart by visiting their new online blog. Share your opinions, discouver new changes and ways to incorporate JumpStart learning into your child’s life.
Enjoy it for Yourself
We’ve been playing with JumpStart for about a month now. I’ve never seen them having so much fun learning their letters and numbers, plus their ability to handle the mouse and keyboard has greatly improve. Because the JumpStart world is self-contained with no outside access, I feel completely comfortable letting my kids play online without me. And the overall environment’s design means the kids can enjoy the game, exploring, experiencing and learning all on their own. Plus, since it’s an online environment, I know I’ll get instant access to any new games instantly without having to buy additional software. JumpStart will continue to grow and develop, always offering my kids something new to learn. You can visit JumpStart to sign-up for your account (the cost is $7.99 US/month)
WIN! WIN! WIN!
And the great folks at Knowledge Adventure (creators of JumpStart) are offering one of my readers access to their own JumpStart world for 3 months, absolutely free. If you’re interested just visit the JumpStart blog and come back leaving me a comment telling me about something you found and liked. YOU NEED TO DO THIS FIRST BEFORE YOU CAN QUALIFY FOR ANY EXTRA ENTRIES.
Earn an extra entry for tweeting about this review and giveaway. Make sure to copy me (@cbadov) in your tweet and be sure to come back here and leave a separate comment with your tweet status. The contest is open to everyone and closes at 11:59pm EST on Thursday, June 11 (I’ll pick a name on June 12 using random.org). Make sure to leave your email address so I have a way of contacting you.
Addendum June 12/09
We have a winner. Congratulations Mandy. I will be forwarding your email address to JumpStart. They will get in touch with you shortly. Enjoy your 3 Free Months! And thanks to everyone else who visited and left a comment. JumpStart has some great things coming so stay tuned to this blog and JumpStart’s blog.