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Educational Software for the Mac

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Posted on : 10:42 PM | By : Nic | In : , ,


No more PS3. No cable. But my children love video games, and it is the one and only thing they will do for hours on end without any interruption. So, it is time for me to find some good educational software. But, we have a Mac - is there anything good? Holy moly there is.

I discovered Wolfram's Mathematica 7, an incredible scientific tool that helps you visualize math, physics, the arts... just about anything. But, my oldest is in first grade so maybe it's a bit early for that, lol. Do I need to explain what Wolfram is? It's a company started by a genius who also created Wolfram|Alpha. You can type in anything and it will try to compute it for you, for example: what the airspeed of an unladen African swallow might be.

Ok, so I need to look a little younger. There's The Amazing Brain Train from Grubby Games. It's only $6.99 and looks as if it would provide cheap education entertainment for a little while. There's not much info but it looks so hum-drum I don't feel that motivated to even download the demo. It has gotten good reviews so I guess it can't hurt. There's also a company called Dataworks that has developed a whole bunch of colorful and more professional looking games for early elementary including Brain Bytes, BroadLEARN, Easy2 Learn, Reading Blaster and some others. These games are fun but they are a bit outdated which means if you have a faster Mac (i.e. one with up-to-date hardware) they might not run properly.

One game you should never buy is Dora the Explorer: Animal Adventures for the Mac. This game was haphazardly made into a Mac-compatible game and rarely runs without crashing. The kids really liked it but it is so buggy that they stopped playing it.

I've always been a big fan of Reader Rabbit. They are very fun, and they cover all the early grades. I haven't played the Mac version so I don't really know how stable it is, I just know that these are great games and very fun. I also really wanted Carmen Sandiego which says it is Mac compatible but evidently it crashes, which is a real shame. These old PC games barely work on XP so it's not worth it to try it on OS X.

So, what seems like the best series right now is Mia Mouse from Kutoka. Honestly all their games seem very high quality and very educational without seeming to be, which is exactly what I am looking for. There are programs for Preschool and up, in Reading, Math, Science, and Language. Since we are studying French I am also happy to see that Kutoka offers games in French as well as English, so we can do our home-version of French immersion better. If you explore their website they just have all kinds of really cool games including a fashion design program with a drawing tablet (if you have girls you know how awesome this could be).

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