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The Digital Field Trip to The Desert and The Digital Field Trip to The Rainforest Review by Jenny Thompson

Digital Frog International
Trillium Place, RR #2, 7377 Calfass Rd.
Puslinch, Ontario, N0B 2J0, Canada

Unless you have been afforded opportunities to travel around the world with your children, you may find it difficult to teach them about faraway places. There is no better way to do that from the comfort of your own home than through The Digital Field Trip software from Digital Frog. With these virtual field trips, you can take you children right into the depth of a rainforest or onto the shifting sands of the desert.

The Digital Field Trip to The Rainforest immediately immerses you in the sights and sounds of the Blue Creek Rainforest Reserve in Belize. Easy-to-use clickable screens take you from one aspect of a rainforest to another, as if being led by a knowledgeable tour guide. Through this field trip, you will learn the characteristics of 30 plants and animals that make their home in the rainforest. You will also find out about other types of rainforests, the science behind keeping them alive, and how important they are to our environment.

Now take a flight over to North America's deserts with The Digital Field Trip to The Desert. Here you will learn about the climate of a desert and the organisms that live there. You will explore various types of deserts and learn how deserts impact the earth. With this software, you can even build your own desert ecosystem. Over 50 organisms are featured here, and more than 3,000 vocabulary words have been defined for the user.

Features of both field trips include photos and videos of the surroundings, animals, and vegetation in each environment. An interactive map guides you through the many screens, while the built-in dictionary defines the new words and terms you encounter along the way. If you would like to reference a page later on, there is a bookmark function that allows you to return to that page whenever you like. Workbook materials, which students and parents can use as a study guide, are included on the CD-ROM for easy access and can be printed as needed.

These virtual trips are so full of information, they can be used several times with many different age/grade levels. Even your younger students will enjoy the multi-media aspects of this software. Older students will be able to use the information as a springboard into other subject areas. A home license for each CD in The Digital Field Trip series is $60, a nice discount from what schools pay. Software bundles are also offered on the website, giving you an even greater discount. These exceptional programs are well worth the cost. I recommend that every homeschooling parent, especially those with older children, add at least one Digital Field Trip to their supplemental science and social studies curriculum.

Product review by Jenny Thompson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010