I will be a father pretty soon and that got me thinking. Every parent wants their child to be educated or at least get through school with as little difficulty as possible. There are many tools to help children learn to read, understand mathematics, and remember important facts. There are television stations like PBS which has a wealth of educational programming. The world-wide-web is full of information, although some of it isn’t reliable. The good news is, there are reputable sites affiliated with universities and other schools. An online subscription to encyclopedia Britannica is a good idea too. There is plenty of educational software to purchase these days, but what if the year is 1984 and the most high-tech gizmo you have is a Coleco ADAM?
Richard Scarry’s Best Electronic Word Book Ever! – Coleco (Ages 5 – 8 )
This application, which comes on a digital data cassette, teaches young children the name of many objects in the real world (circa 1984). According to the program’s box, it will increase reading readiness skills, expands sight vocabulary, and build object recognition.
Monkey Academy – Coleco (Ages 8 – adult)
This is a game designed to accelerate learning basic math skills by making it fun. You assume the role of a monkey trying to get climb to the top of the screen. The way to do so is by answering the math problem shown on the screen. If you think you have the correct answer, pass it along to your assistant.
Electronic Flashcard Maker – Coleco (Ages 10 to adult)
As we get older, school gets more difficult and memorization of important facts is a must. This program creates custom study aids to help you remember geographical, historical, scientific and/or mathematic principles.
Coleco sold a modem which allows you to connect to electronic bulletin boards and online services, namely, CompuServe. CompuServe allowed you to e-mail other users, but in the case of learning, also provided Grolier’s Academic American Encyclopedia . Having access to an electronic encyclopedia would benefit children of all ages with their school assignments.
Looking back at these tools makes me realize that many of the things we do today may seem new, but the technology to improve our intelligence and gather information electronically has been in place for the past 30 years.