Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Popping To World Full of Island Adventures

A post on The Children's Book Review on Saturday October 8, 2011, caught my eye.  It was a video titled Jeff Kinney (author of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series) Talks About Poptropica.  That triggered another memory filed away about another post that mentioned Poptropica.  No matter how hard I looked I could not find that original post but it must have impressed me because I noted Poptropica on my "to-try" list.  Poptropica also made Time magazine's The Top 50 Best Websites of 2011.

Poptropica is not new to the online scene.  According to their web site Poptropica® was developed by Family Education Network (FEN), the makers of Funbrain.com....In September 2007, FEN launched Poptropica®, a virtual world in which kids explore and play in complete safety. Accessibility to this world for kids is important to the creators, which is why the Poptropica® Islands are free for all kids to play. Although the site is free, memberships are available that offer additional perks to players.  While the site is designed for young elementary age children up to tweens, if users are under the age of 18 they need to go over the Terms of Use with a parent or guardian.  No personal information is ever asked for on the site.

When you enter the site you can either click the New Player or Returning Player button.  I decided to do some further exploration before getting into the site.

I first clicked on the Island Tour icon.  You are taken to a page that lists the current twenty-two islands that can be visited.  By selecting any of those listed on the right another page is shown.  This includes an overview of the island as well as a video trailer.  I clicked on Mythology Island but other islands go to comic characters such as Peanuts Snoopy and books that children and young people enjoy such as The Magic Tree House series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series or the Big Nate series.

The Creators' Blog! leads to all the latest news and ideas about using Poptropica.  When a new island is introduced it will be announced here. 

Poptropica:  The Official Guide is to be released on October 13, 2011.  Several copies will be finding their way to our Charlevoix Elementary School Library Media Center. 

When I choose the New Player button the next screen asked me to create my character.  I was first asked if I was a boy or a girl.  Then I was asked my age; ages 6-15 whirl around for selection.  Sadly, my age was not among those but being 10 again sounded like a good idea.  I wanted to pick an age between the span not knowing if that would change the way Poptropica played for me.  The character selected for me was Shiny Lightning but you can change your character.  To move the character point and click with the mouse.

Once the character is created move your mouse to the basket of the hot air balloon to enter Poptropica.  Shiny Lightning popped into the basket and we were moved to a map of all the islands in this new world.  Your mouse acts as a compass rose moving the tiny blimp around until you go to a specific island.

With Halloween nearing I choose Great Pumpkin Island.  When you first enter an island a group of icons are displayed in the upper right hand corner.  By exploring each the user learns to navigate around the area.  The tool box houses items that are collected as the island is explored.  The map reveals where your avatar has gone and is currently located.  The POP icon has comics, games, sneak peeks and creator clips.

I climbed back up the rope fairly early in my stroll through this place and  moved to another island where I was able to collect several items for my tool box. Saving that game as well, I decided that I needed to give Great Pumpkin Island another try.  I went back to the Island Tour which was exceedingly beneficial.  It is important to know the goal for each island before attempting to maneuver around.  I am still working on saving Halloween!  I can see where this site would provide hours of entertainment for most ages.

For hand-eye coordination and use of the mouse this is an excellent site.  There is no audio.  Pre-scripted chats take place between the characters by clicking on them providing practice with reading. Some games can be played between players as you move around an island but for the most part this is interaction between a player and the site itself.    This site promotes creativity in solving a particular problem and down right doggedness to complete the designated task.

Poptropica is a proven, promising ticket to multiple adventures.

No comments:

Post a Comment