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Aesopolis CD-ROM offers teachers and students an entertaining look at Aesop's fables. The setting is a museum displaying classic paintings of Aesopic fables. Students can explore the museum by clicking on the credits, to find out more about the paintings, or clicking on the pictures, to read and hear the fable itself. The amusing narrator, Uncle Bits, comes complete with interchangeable costumes, disguises and artistic portraits.

Once students choose to read and hear the fable, other choices are offered. They can see an older Jacob version of the fable, look up a word in the dictionary, explore the museum further, see a list of fables or move to the next fable. Sound can be controlled from within the program.

Comparisons of older and newer fable versions dramatically illustrate how our language has lost some of its color. The Jacob versions may be more appealing because they sound more like the real thing. Clicking on notes allows students to research the history and development of the fable and its different versions. The panel illustration is also credited in the notes. For example, The Wolf and the Crane panel is an illustration by Walter Crane from The Baby's Own Aesop (1887).

Users travel through the museum in much the same way as in arcade and adventure software games. Aesopolis will, however, disappoint students who prefer an elaborate network of rooms and adventure. This program could easily be expanded to include more enriching activities than choosing Uncle Bits' costumes. While this is an entertaining diversion, some students may never get beyond this part.

Navigating this program is simple, but slow. Control panels offer easy access to different parts of the program. It is disconcerting, however, when the program seems to quit between sections rather than advising the student to wait. Because the CD moves slowly, students may freeze the computer with impatient clicking and double-clicking. Teachers familiar with the program will be able to help students use it to the best advantage and avoid unnecessary frustration. As in most CD packaging, the instructions in the color insert are too brief to be of much help. The "read me" document on the disk will provide more helpful hints.

This is a clever program that needs some expansion and improvement. Questions posed by Uncle Bits add an interactive element to the program and offer a wealth of information on the fables. Teachers will see potential for learning experiences: making a timeline of events during the times these fables originated, doing research on Greek temples or basing art projects on the portrait feature. Design of appropriate attire for Uncle Bits in a specific culture or time period requires research. Comparison with other versions of fables can also be made.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Software Review
Author:Gladhart, Marsha A.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Evaluation
Date:Jun 22, 1993
Previous Article:My MediaText Workshop.
Next Article:Teachers' stories: reflections on teaching, caring and learning.

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