Monday, November 7, 2011

Ooka Island - TOS Review


Catchy little song, huh?  I have this anthem committed to memory, because my lil' Caleb has taken an extended "working" vacation on Ooka Island.  Each day, he's excited to live vicariously through his super hero avatar.    He has reached the summit of the great Alphabet Mountain, spelunked in the Cave of Sounds, took a submarine into the water below, popped bubbles, had his fill of cake, and even befriended the island's inhabitants - Ooka Elves.  All of this under the guidance and tutelage of Zobot and Auntie Kay.
Photobucket Are you totally confused?  Then, like I once was, you are missing out on a wonderful resource for your Pre-K-2nd grade students.  From the website:  "The Ooka Island Adventure is a downloadable hero-mission in 3D designed to teach young children how to read fluently and well. The Ooka Island Adventure combines the highly engaging components of a state-of-the-art virtual world with the scientifically proven OokaMethod that builds literacy skills.

Carefully embedded within the Ooka Island Adventure are dozens of interactive instructional activities that captivate the child and motivate them as they learn essential pre-reading, reading, spelling, and writing skills. After completing the Ooka Island Adventure, children will be on their way to reading fluently and well for life."
The interactive games are leveled and build upon prior knowledge.  Following several educational activities, a new book is retrieved from the ocean floor.  It was read once to Caleb before he answered a series of comprehension questions.  Then, the book is read again.  There are also some games that concentrate on sight words from the reading.  After completing 20 minutes of instructional activities, Caleb would earn 8 minutes of free play.  At this point, he could return to previously played games, dress his avatar, and purchase items in the Mist Mart. 

Employing the Ooka Method, this game sets children up for success.  It completely adapts to their skill level and immediate needs.  If a player is mastering new material, he continually advances.  If he is struggling, by all appearances, the program appears to move on.  However, the player is actually continuing to work on the problematic areas only using different games.  This is very appealing to me as a parent because even when having difficulty, Caleb wouldn't lose interest in the game. 
A feature that was unavailable to us during the review was the Ooka Lighthouse. While it isn't operating yet, this up-and-coming feature will serve parents by providing progress reports on the player's activities. This will be so helpful to have because as a parent you will know where your child's strengths and weaknesses lie.   

So... are you ready to book your child a trip to Ooka Island?  He/she will love it, and just think...  NO SUITCASES to pack :-)  However, before travel and purchase, you may want to visit the Ooka Island FAQS page to read the installation instructions and program requirements.  With 85 leveled and sequenced Ooka Island books digitally embedded, music, and detailed 3-D animation and graphics, the download is HUGE - a little over 2G actually.  High speed internet is imperative!  Even so, it still took well over 2 hours to download. 

During the original installation, I had some issues.  The customer service staff were ready and able to rise to the occassion.  They provided solutions in a timely manner and even sent a new link for download when I believed the first one was compromised.  Once the download was complete and Caleb was able to play, he still experienced a few minor technical hiccups along the way. Thankfully, by closing out of the program and restarting they were easily solved.  Being a new product, a few kinks are expected, but they are being addressed and will soon be remedied. 

Prior to purchasing a subscription, you may be interested in the 14 Day FREE Trial!
If you are confident and ready to subscribe now, you will want to take advantage of the launch special.
Read Ooka Island Reviews by other TOS Crew Members HERE!

Disclosure:  I was provided a complimentary 6 month subscription to Ooka Island in exchange for my honest opinion.  I have not, nor will I, receive any monetary compensation. 

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