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Vancouver, Western Canada Wilderness Committee/Wondertree Learning Centre, 1990. Video game $25.00 plus $2.00 for shipping
Available from Carmanah Valley Program, c/o Wondertree Learning Centre, Box 35243 Station E, Vancouver, B.C. V6M 4G4

Grades 3 to 9/Ages 8 to 14

Reviewed by Fred Leicester.

Volume 20 Number 2
1992 March

The Carmanah Valley on the west coast of Vancouver Island has been, like many other dwindling and beleaguered enclaves of wilderness, the centre of controversy recently. Although no longer one of the few untouched watersheds on the west coast, Carmanah boasts giant sitka spruce trees 97 metres tall and is probably a nesting site of the elusive marbled murrelet. To support the preservation of this ancient rain forest, Wondertree encouraged students to develop the Carmanah HyperCard computer programme.

The end product is this set of three HyperCard stacks (that is, three 31/2" computer diskettes programmed using Apple Computer's proprietary Hyper­Card application), largely designed, written and programmed by eleven children ranging in age from eight to thirteen years old. Adults participated as co-coordinators and editors, and the scanned images of photographs and paintings include works by many people, including Robert Bateman and Bill Ivy. Part one of the stacks was adapted from the colouring book Life as Good as a Dream by Dorset Huntingford (Western Canada Wilderness Commit­tee, 1989).

For those unfamiliar with the terminology, HyperCard is an applica­tion - an information programme - specific to the Apple Macintosh family of computers. It can look for and store information in the form of words, charts, pictures, digitized photographs and sound. Any one piece of informa­tion can connect to any other piece of information so that layers, or stacks, of information can be formed. The set of stacks under review is for use with any of the Macintosh computers using system 6.0.5 or greater, and with HyperCard versions 1.2.5 or 2.0. One also ought to have a hard drive, as running this programme with an external drive is a chore.

Once the three stacks are loaded onto the hard drive the programme works beautifully. One simply clicks on icons. In the first stack one can move through a journey with a family through the entire Carmanah Valley. Many of the "pages" include moving objects on screen (an ant, a bear, clouds), and the sounds of bird song, waves, running water, and children speaking come through quite well. At any time one can investigate animals or plants in the other two stacks, which contain sets of cards on fifteen different animals and plants found in the valley. There is also a quiz about each, and one's score can be totaled and added to a QuizMaster card. One can also print hard copy of any of the pages on screen.

I found this to be a dandy little programme - accurate, entertaining, educational, and all at a very reasonable cost. It would be a superb way of stimulating one's own students to investigate, and work with, HyperCard stacks. Although the story-line of the family journey would be appropriate for younger children, say seven to eleven years old, the information on animals and plants would be useful to junior high level. Recommended for any school using Mac computers.

Fred Leicester, Golden School District, Golden, B.C.
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