Learning Village Reviews > Educational Software > Social Studies > Treasures Of Knowledge


Educational: 4.4
Overall Design: 4.0
Ease of Use: 4.8

4.0 = good
4.5 = very good
5.0 = excellent)
Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego - Treasures of Knowledge

Publisher:  The Learning Company

Learning Areas: Introduction to the geography, people, language, and culture of 14 countries across the 7 major continents of the world.

Age Range:
 8 -12  Grades: 3 - 6

Minimum Reqs:  Win XP
Pricing and Online Ordering
(or call toll free -1-800-250-9229 )

Program Description    Commentary    Who Is This Program For
Why We Selected This Program
   Computer Requirements

Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego now comes in the After School Clubhouse Pack (see above). We profile here just Where In the World as this program alone is worth the purchase of this software pack. The 2002 version of Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego - Treasures of Knowledge - is a completely updated and significantly enriched version of the original. Once again, Carmen is stealing precious objects that has you on a great chase around the world, trying to catch her. What is different with the new version is that the visual animation is state of the art, the story line is new and more sophisticated, and the design details involving your interaction with the story, are much more refined.

As you open the program, you are introduced to your two fellow agents Jules Argent and Shadow Hawkins. The story starts with an encounter with Carmen herself, who then steals a rare manuscript of the Travels of Marco Polo, right from under your nose. You don't really know what's going on, but with some guidance from HQ, you are off to Rio De Janiero to try to catch her.

Once you arrive, you start by exploring around to find clues as to what is happening. As you move around the street scenes and click on the various parts of the picture, you will start to learn about Brazil, it's history, language, and culture as you search for clues. You will also learn about the various countries through the dialogue between Jules and Shadow. Once you discover a clue, you will then be able to find an object (such as a key) that will help you unlock more clues down the road.

In the first mission, you are exploring Rio De Janiero, the Red Square in Moscow, Tokyo, and Mombassa in Kenya, gathering information and objects that will ultimately help you recover the manuscript of the Travels of Marco Polo from Carmen. You are not aware of this at the beginning, but the program has eight separate missions. As you progress through each mission, you will start to realize that there is a much larger story linking all the missions together, and that elements in previous missions start to make sense as you discover more of this larger story.

As you progress in each mission, you will encounter activities that test your deductive reasoning and your ability to notice and remember detail, that will, in turn, help you figure out what you have to do next. You will also be motivated to read about the various countries, as sometimes you will find a clue in the information. The learning elements of the program are interwoven with the sleuthing experience.

The program also has "World Wiz Data Base" which is a basic almanac for 51 countries, with each country having a 5 page write up. A new and interesting sidelight in the program is a talking translator that will let you hear every day phases spoken in 11 different languages. The Help section is also useful if you are getting stuck trying to figure out your next step. In this respect, Jules' journal also helps you keep on track.

And no we won't tell you what happens in the end, but will say that this more than just about chasing a thief.

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Jules Meets Carmen

Exploring the Streets of Rio

A Tour of Saint Petersburg

A Shinto Shrine in Tokyo

"I really liked the way you could move around exploring and piecing together the clues. The program was easy to work and you could really move around fast."
- Henry, age 13

" I had to work on this one. I really liked figuring out how to get the code right in the code machine in the back of the car in Moscow. It wasn't simple."-
- Sam, age 11

" We had the old version of Carmen Sandiego and liked it a lot. This one is even better."
- Jessica, age 11

Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego is well suited for those who love a mental challenge and have the patience to solve problems whose answers are not immediately obvious. This program will test your ability to stick with it, be patient, remember detail, be flexible, and use the information you have gathered to figure out what to do next. It definitely is an excellent program for someone who has a curiosity about other countries and cultures.

If you have a child with a shorter attention span or isn't so attentive to detail, this may not the program for them. If your child enjoys this type of experience, the new Where in The World is Carmen Sandiego is a very good program. The program's publisher rates the program from ages 8 -12. We would suggest some 8 year olds may find it too difficult. On the other end, many 13 and 14 year olds will find lots of challenge in this program.

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The Carmen Sandiego educational software series built their reputation with the original version of this program. The original program was one of the best in it's time, in the field of educational software. This one is better.

What really stands out when you get into this version of Where in The World Is Carmen Sandiego is the much richer story line. For the first time, you get a real sense of who Carmen is and her background. As the story unfolds gradually, it keeps you engaged in wanting to find out more. The introduction of dialogue between the two agents Jules Argent and Shadow Hawkins is also a very effective way to help the user advance the story, as well as conveying information about the countries that you are traveling in. It's like having an knowledgeable tour guide at your side. The visual quality of the program is also significantly improved.

What was also new in this program was the use logic and memory testing puzzles that you had to solve in order to get clues. The program is not only introducing knowledge of geography and different cultures, but is also really exercising your thinking skills. With eight missions, the program has lots of user miles on it, not to mention travel.

Good learning focused software for kids from ages 8-9 and up, is often competing with the endless world of games. Programs that are going to appeal to kids in this age range have to be entertaining, visually sophisticated, as well as providing educational value. The new Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego - Treasures of Knowledge - in our view, and in the views of our testers, does this and does it well.

Pricing and Online Ordering
(or call toll free -1-800-250-9229 )

Platform:Windows® XP CPU: 300 MHz RAM: 128 MB RAM

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or to see other social studies programmes

World Explorer (Geography) - ages 5-9
Castle Explorer (History) - ages 8-12
Carmen Sandiego's Great Chase Through Time (History) - ages 8-12
Canada - Confederation to Present - ages 12 - adult
Real Lives Simulation - ages 13 - 17