Title: Arthur's Teacher Trouble
Overall Rating: B-
Source: Brøderbund Software for Education; http://www.broder.com/education/programs/livingbooks/trouble/
Playing Time: story time: approximately ten minutes, play time: unlimited
Date: 1997
Cost: $ 39.95
Number of Players: 1
Special Equipment/Facilities Needed: mouse, CD-ROM
Subject Area(s): Spanish/English, elementary level
Objectives: to provide the child with a "living book" program that will read and present the book Arthur's Teacher Trouble.
Brief Description: the story can be read in English or Spanish, and it displays the words to the story as well.  The program is interactive; the children can select a character or object on the screen and it will respond (e.g. the clock will tick, etc.)
Entry Capabilities Required: the program is easy to use; young children could run this program with little computer knowledge.  The game requires the use of a mouse.  Installation is very easy, and it takes approximately four minutes to arrive at the main screen.

Rating: (1-5)

Relevance to objectives: 4 (The game does what it says it will do; it reads the story and lets the students "play.")
Provides practice of relevant skills: 2 (The only skills that are really "practiced" are auditory.)
Likely to arouse/maintain interest: 5 (It is fun to see the illustrations move and speak, and the program is colorful.)
Likely to be comprehended clearly: 5 (sound quality is very good)
Technical quality (durable, attractive): 5 (good illustrations)
Game: Winning dependent on player actions (rather than chance): NA (no real "game" situations)
Simulation: Validity of game model (realistic, accurate depiction): 5 (characters look like they are really talking)
Evidence of effectiveness (e.g. field-test results): 5 (My mother is a first grade teacher.  She used this program in her room and said that the children were fascinated with the "living book" concept.)
Clear directions for play: 5 (Arthur takes the player step by step though the directions and activities.)
Effectiveness of debriefing: 3 (The program doesn't really wrap up the storybook very well.)

Strong Points: The game is colorful and interesting.  It would be very likely to maintain the interest of young students, especially since they would be able to play in the story and make things happen.  The text is clearly read, and the words are highlighted as they are read by the speaker.  Elementary students would benefit from this program because it seems that playing with this interactive program would give them a fun way to become more interested in literature.  Students of Spanish as a foreign language would benefit from this program by being able to hear proper pronunciation, while simultaneously seeing the proper spellings and grammatical structures.
Weak Points:  It seems that this game would be much more effective as an educational tool if it provided more opportunities for the player to check his or her comprehension.  For example, the game could have offered post reading exercises that tested comprehension (i.e. fill in the blanks, matching, crossword puzzles etc.).  It appears that this particular program sets its players up to be passive learners; they simply listen and watch.  It is questionable whether or not students would have actually learned a great deal of new knowledge after playing with this program.
Reviewer: Cindy L. Stacy
Position: Student
Date: September 16, 1998
Computer System Reviewed on: Macintosh PowerPC 6500/250, 32mb ram.