Company: Educational Insights, 18730 S. Wilmington Ave., Rancho Dominguez, CA 90220. Phone: (800) 995-4436; Internet: www.educationalinsights.com.
Price: $500—Complete system for two teams of five players each. $200—Additional team set with scoreboard and five player remotes. $100—Set of five player remotes. A two-scoreboard system can accommodate 30 players; a three-scoreboard system can accommodate 45 players.
Audience: Grades 3–12.
Format: Hardware and CD-ROM.
Minimum System Requirements: A computer with Microsoft Windows Vista/XP/2000, a Pentium 1GHz processor, 50MB free hard drive space, USB Port (USB 1.1 or 2.0), 1024x768 display resolution, and a CD-ROM drive. The basic system also requires as many as 22 AAA batteries and a Phillips screwdriver.
Description: GeoSafari Quiz Bowl is an interactive electronic educational game that simulates a television game show in the classroom. The device motivates students with a fun learning activity using teacher-created questions specific to the required curriculum, electronic scoreboards, and a student-response buzzer system. Modeled after popular game shows such as College Bowl, Quiz Bowl brings the excitement of competitive games to the practice and mastery of curriculum standards.
Report Card ****
Ease of Use B
Product Support B
Installation: I ran the software on an HP computer using Windows XP, Version 5.1. The software installation was simple and quick.
The review copy of this product came in a box with text that said the basic unit comes with everything you need. This turned out to be not exactly true. After working on the setup for a while, it became clear that 22 AAA batteries and a Phillips screwdriver were needed to ready the scoreboards and player remotes. It would have been helpful if these requirements were mentioned on the box, since these items are not readily available in most classrooms.
Connecting all of the pieces required the careful reading of the step-by-step guide. Installing the software and batteries, creating questions, and figuring out how to make the system work took more than an hour.
This system really requires taking time to read the manual and spending some time practicing before trying it with students. Once you get the system going, the setup effort is worthwhile.
Some added installation time will be required in classrooms that follow the company’s recommendation to remove all batteries in systems that will be unused for more than 3 weeks at a time. Installation Rating: B-
Content/Features: The basic system includes software and hardware (two scoreboards and 10 player remote answering devices). The software is installed on a computer and used to create quizzes that can be printed or displayed onscreen. Student teams compete to answer the questions using remote answering devices. The scores are maintained on electronic scoreboards.
Quiz Bowl is designed to test curriculum knowledge in a fun, collaborative, and interactive method. It is very effective for this purpose. The students I worked with were eager to get started with the program. They immediately created a quiz that mirrored a popular commercial for High School Musical 2.
The manufacturer recommends many variations for classroom use, including incorporating media (images, etc.) or actions that students must take to answer the questions. The actions must be tailored to avoid slowing down the game process (for example, finding the circumference of an object or reading a map).
Quiz Bowl would make factual knowledge reviews for standardized tests very helpful and memorable. The program also could be used to pose application-level questions that require students to use their knowledge to solve a problem. These types of questions may be more helpful when assessing a student’s understanding of the curriculum.
Quiz Bowl includes many features that are very practical and useful for the classroom. Teachers can weight scores based on a question’s level of difficulty. Teachers can assign a "handicap" or additional points to a team at the beginning of a game. Competitions in progress can be saved for future use.
Program features handle common problems that might occur during a competition, such as the host clicking on "correct" if an answer was "incorrect." The wireless communication between the scoreboards and the player responses is very convenient for most classroom arrangements. The software used to create questions for the games is very easy to use. Content/Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: The initial setup requires some time and effort prior to use with students. Once the system is up and running, everything works well.
The initial problems in getting the system to work led back several times to the step-by-step guide to reread and try again. In the end, it turned out that the difficulties were minor issues, such as learning that the scoreboard must be unplugged from the computer to be able to respond to the player remotes. Ease of Use Rating:B
Product Support: Product support is provided through a guide that includes a troubleshooting section. The manual is very detailed, but you have to turn to different sections for some information and then return to where you were. It is a bit challenging to see where you are in the process and to make sure that you don’t miss any steps. A one-page overview or start-up guide showing all of the steps would be helpful. Product Support Rating: B
Recommendation: I recommend Quiz Bowl for teachers and students of all subjects in grades 3–12. This product will certainly motivate students to review the curriculum in a memorable and exciting way.
Reviewer: Rhonda Clevenson, Ph.D., director, Primary Source Learning, Arlington, Va.