Start ‘em young is the admirable philosophy underpinning 2simple’s Infant Video Toolbox, which is aimed at children from nursery to Year 1 ages, and offers tools to help develop basic skills in literacy, numeracy, painting and computer use.
The title comprises five components, one of which is 2paint, a rudimentary painting tool that lets tots get to grips with computer basics, such as using a mouse. The Year 1 parts include 2publish – which combines the drawing features of 2paint with the ability to add text – and 2count, which introduces numeracy skills through the use of pictograms. Completing the Year 1 tool-set are: 2go, an element that illustrates the concept of distance and movement by allowing pupils to control fun features such as a car on a race track, and a spaceship zipping through the skies; 2graph, which offers block-, bar- and pie-chart features; and 2question, the mostadvanced element, aimed at helping young children develop questioning skills. Schools should find Infant Video Toolbox an invaluable aid in equipping young children with elementary, yet crucial, skills.
However, what many infant-school teachers will find less useful is the program’s bugginess. 2publish, for example, kept crashing the package – something that was resolved only by giving it more memory. And the New File icon in 2question triggered an error message that read: “This file may be currupt” (sic). Neither the bug nor the lousy spelling is likely to endear the title to educators.
Infant Video Toolbox covers many of the basic ICT National Curriculum requirements, and is designed more for classroom use than home use, as plenty of adult supervision is required. 2simple assures me that the bugs I experienced are “rare”. Maybe, but that won’t make them less annoying for any school unfortunate enough to encounter them. One shouldn’t have to make software-support calls over primary-school learning tools, and spelling mistakes in education titles is simply unacceptable.