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January/February 2002

Our 51st Issue (Volume 10, No.1)

To see a listing of every title reviewed in this issue, click here. Subscribers can also see reviews of these titles online, by searching on Nov 01 for "CSR Issue Date" in the Children's Software Finder database.

Browse Articles from past issues.

LittleClickers columns for kids

New Year's Resolution 2002: We will not let General Protection Faults keep interactive media from our kids.

Shopping for a new computer? If so, you'll agree that these are some exciting times. For $850, you can get a system that is 100 times faster than just a few years ago. Within the past four months, we've seen a major new operating system from Microsoft, OS X on the Mac, and two completely new game consoles&emdash; Xbox and Game Cube&emdash; boasting the most impressive and exciting graphics and gameplay we've ever seen.

But innovation has a price. When I tried loading Harry Potter on a new Dell running Windows XP, an error message popped up telling me that I have a "Critical Error, General Protection Fault, History AppInit". Which programmer thought that one up? I'm not the only one struggling. Our local school district has been having a terrible time, having switched from stand-alone PCs and Macs to a Windows 2000 network. Many of their old Sunburst and Tom Snyder programs no longer work. And then there's the Internet, truly amazing, but clunky and unpredictable.

Am I ready to quit? No way. Watching a group of kids play with Microsoft Zoo Tycoon reminds me why we can't give up on children's interactive technology. Using this captivating sim, kids learn how to balance budgets, pay attention to detail, and apply higher order thinking skills in an authentic context. Today's children don't care about operating systems any more than they care about the engine in your car. They just want things to work.

2002 will go down as another year of growing pains....but we will make it through with patience, persistence and voice. The next time you get a "General Protection Fault", make some noise. Fill out the form at and we will relay your feedback directly to the publishers. We'll also post your feedback right next to the program review to inform others.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this issue of CSR.

2002 Encyclopedias
Savvy Searching
Little Clickers: Animal Sites
for Kids
Girl Gadgets
Reviews for Preschool & Kindergarten
Reviews for Early Elementary
Reviews for Upper Elementary
Harry Potter Roundup
Reviews for Middle & High School
Two Terrific Animal Sims
Tear-out All-Star Software Poster
School All Star List
A New Generation of
Teacher Tools
Software News for Schools
Straight From the Testers
Reading SOS
Directory of New Releases
CSR is a publication of Active Learning Associates, Inc., an independent, educator-owned company dedicated to providing unbiased, critical reviews of children's interactive media. Subscriptions are $24/year (six issues), and include online access to 5500 past reviews. For more information, visit To start a subscription, please call 800-993-9499 from 9-5 EST. 
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To see a complete listing of all 150 new reviews in this issue, visit the Directory of New Releases 


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