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Learn how to get a free Alef to Tav!!
- Artscroll's Alef to Tav Written by Yaffa GanzDistributed by Torah Educational
Software Published in conjunction with Artscroll Available for Saphire Software 1-718-338-1764
- Requirements:This program comes in an IBM version which requires a 386
or better, Windows 3.1, a VGA orbetter screen with 256 colors, 4 megs of RAM and of course
ROM.On a Macintosh the system requirements are 4 megs of RAM, a Color Mac, and a CD
note on the requirements - this program needs a 256 color display. Higher displays need
dropped down to 256 mode for it to work.
- Installation: Installing this program was fairly easy,
I ran into one glitch that might not be easy to
correct if you aren't fairly familiar
with your computer. To install you just log onto the CD drive(D:) and
then type install. The CD loads up the program smoothly and relatively quickly.
rom windows you do about the same thing - only from the File menu.
At the file
menu in theupper left of windows click once and down comes the menu.
and type in D:\installand away you go.
automatically creates a user group called Alef to Tav and creates 4 CD looking
EnglishA, EnglishS, Hebrew, French,and Spanish.
Each icon starts the program up
with a different primary language. The English comes in both Ashkenazie
which I particularly appreciate since many programs come in
dialect which is not what my children learn in school.
The first time I fired up the program after installing it, the music started,
my eyes lit up, my heart started beating and then.... poof I got an error message.
I was in 24 bit color mode and I got amessage telling me that the programs
NEEDS 256 colors to work. That made me scratch myhead, so I went into the windows
setup and changed the video drive to a 256 driver. If this is
Greek to you, then you would have had a problem at this point.
But a quick phone call to the developer would clear
things up with 5 clicks of the mouse.
Click to the program manager. Click to the
"Main" group. Click to the "
Windows Setup" icon, and clip to browse you drivers, and click
the drive you want - one with 256 colors. Then you just click back to the
EnglishA Icon in the Alefto Tav group - and away you go.
What it does: The program starts
out with a cheery snap you fingers tone and then starts off like a Broadway show
as it goes through some credits to some synthesized Jazz.
The main viewing screen shows up as the music starts to play the
first chorus of the theme song Alef Bais. The song is so catchy that my
1 1/2 year
old already has the song - and the Alef Bais memorized. At
this point you are interactive and it's natural to chick the animated
figure in the middle. The Alef Bais song launches into a sing along, as the
letters flash with each pronunciation on the bottom of the screen. After
this the program resorts back to the theme tune and the player is tempted to
try new things like the floating teddy bear
or the chalkboard. All over the system are cute hidden
little surprises, so the
kids are encouraged to click everything.
Clicking the bear brings you to the, "have fun with pictures" section.
Here is a picture on a farmand the Alef Bais on the
Bottom. Each letter gives a different Object, named in Hebrew with a sound effect.
The imagine can then be pasted onto the picture, similar to colorforms of years gone by. Gimel - for
example pops up a bahhhing Gidy (billy goat) The picture can be made larger and smaller
depending on what the child wants, and then pasted as desired. There are hidden places to point
to on the main background that give surprising sounds and visual effects. The section alone
makes the program worth it's price. Pressing the chalkboard brings you into
the classroom. This
is the least boring classroom I've ever seen. It starts with the Alef Bais showing.
of a tape recorder on the upper screencauses the entire Alef Bais to sound off. Picking
letter causes that letter to show on the chalkboard by itself. There's a camera on
and a box of crayons on the right.
The letter is
colorable by choosing a crayon color and then
painting the color with a click to the object in the
middle - at this point the letter. Picking
the Camera causes a picture to appear where the letter
was. The picture is pronounced in Hebrew
and it starts with the letter that we are working on.
This picture is also colorable. Along
with the picture is an array with the letter you are learning,
and all the vowels. Clicking
this section causes the letters, with all the vowels to sound off.
After the vowels sound off,
the machine says - chick on the Vowel and pronouns a consonant
vowel combination. Children then
thy to find the vowel. If they pick correct - they get
complimented in Hebrew and English. If
there wrong they get a "Bing". Additionally there is apicture under the vowels,
revealed one by one as the child gets more and more right answers -similar to what
the game Concentration.
When all the vowels are picked correctly,the picture is explained and
the child is rewarded with some music.
- Educational rating:This program is very educating, especially for
students in preschool or first and secondgrade, receiving similar instruction in school. The
voices that the machine uses and the pace ofthe program is natural and comfortable. It really
feels like theirs a teacher inside.
The Pasting picture part is probably the least educational
of the entire program - but fret not -because there is still plenty to learn here.
I a child
dollies around for to long in this section, youcan encourage him or her by clicking
one of the
letters on the bottom and they are back tohearing and repeating the Alef Bais
Over All rating I
give this program an over all rating of 4 and a half on a scale of 5****+It would be a perfect
five if the installation didn't choke on a 24 bit color screen
- Graphics, Music, Sound:The graphics in this program are wonderfully sensible
and visually stimulating, perfect for a children program. The sound could not be better. The
are catchy, sound effects fun andappropriate, and hidden throughout the program are
little surprises which prevent the programfrom becoming predictable.