SmartGlobe Deluxe Edition
By Lawson Wong
Get Global Knowledge
We in the United States are not nearly as worldly as our neighbors across either ocean in Europe or Asia. While most Americans struggle with just U.S. geography (what's the capital of Vermont again?), we are ten times worse when it comes to world geography (did you know that there's a country named Chad?) Get your learn on with the SmartGlobe, an interactive globe that offers games that will help you locate countries and cities and also supply a wealth of information from history to currency rates to national anthems. The SmartGlobe proves learning can be fun.
What It Is
Out of the box, the SmartGlobe looks no different from any run-of-the-mill globe you would find in a classroom or home. Built to survive attacks from overzealous children and clumsy adults, the globe rotates both vertically and horizontal and has a pop-out tray at the front of the base that features a large map of the United States so you can learn about the American states and capitals. With the SmartPen, you can access the menu in the control pad on the base unit, and a pleasant male voice offers up facts and instructions. The wireless SmartPen houses the brains of the whole gadget and has a built-in speaker. You can also connect the SmartPen to the base station to listen through the speakers or plug headphones into the pen for personal enjoyment.
We tested the SmartGlobe running on AA alkaline batteries -- four for the globe and two for the SmartPen. An AC/DC adapter can also power the base station.
How It Works
Using the SmartPen, you can access over 30 games and activities in four different categories: Touch, Compare, Knowledge and Find. Just "Touch" any country and SmartGlobe will offer up 15 learning activities including language, capitals, currency and population. You can also "Compare" two countries in terms of currency exchange rate, distance, area, time difference, population and flying time. In "Knowledge," SmartGlobe gives you the latest world news, earth facts and amazing facts on each country, like Field Hockey is the national sport of India. The "Find" feature tests your geographical knowledge with time-based games challenging you to locate continents, countries, capitals and cities. Test your knowledge against up to 3 friends through 3 difficulty levels. A toy for all ages, you can set the difficulty level of the games to three age groups: 5 to 8, 9 to14, and 15 .
Upon registering your SmartGlobe online with the aid of the included software CD, you can keep the device up to date by downloading weekly updates of the latest news, facts and other time sensitive information. Using a Windows 2000 or XP computer, simply connect the included USB cord to your web-enabled PC to download the updates to your SmartPen. The SmartGlobe includes a free 1-year update service with renewal subscriptions for $14.99 per year thereafter.
Truly a "global" learning tool, you can also learn facts on continents, capitals and more in Spanish. Simply touch the menu choices under "ESPANOL."
Why You Got To Be So Sensitive?
My only complaint is the sensitivity and inconsistent accuracy of the SmartPen. Many a game, I would point to the correct city just to have the Globe give me the annoying incorrect answer buzz, thus cheating me out of my victory over my 10-year-old cousin - my male ego crushed with the ridiculing laughter of my friends and family. My shame and indignation aside, the audio of the SmartGlobe came through loud and clear, and the intuitive interface made using the globe easy. For sheer entertainment and educational value, the SmartGlobe ranks high in my book.
Who's It For
The SmartGlobe is a toy that any teacher or parent will love. Perfect for the classroom or at home, this edu-tainment tool will have any child - young or old - learning something new about geography, history and the world while having loads of fun.
SmartGlobe Deluxe Edition
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