Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tektoma, a TOS Crew Review

"Tektoma is dedicated to providing children with high quality tutorials to teach game programming within a secure, monitored website. It is a perfect avenue for homeschooled children to learn advanced computer skills."

My homeschooler is not developmentally or academically ready for a game tutorial. I'll remind you that she has an autism spectrum disorder and we've been backing up, developmentally speaking, and getting some foundations that we missed in her regression. She very much resembles a pre-schooler in terms of academics and comprehension. Tektoma is a product for kids in the 7-17 year old age range.

My homeschooler's twin brother, on the other hand, is an avid video and computer game player, so much, in fact, that he wandered into web sites that infected the laptop that the children use for school with a virus that disabled the computer, and not once, but twice in recent weeks! :(

He was excited to have an opportunity to create a game. (Sometimes, my public schoolers are thrilled to help me when my homeschooler isn't ready for a product I received to review; sometimes, they're not.)

The tutorials are videos that walk the student through every step, guided demonstration style, with a voice over and visual, so that the student can open a window and walk through the steps along with the video.

Students may choose from four game categories to create, a racing game, an arcade game, a platform game or a fantasy adventure game.

There are full tutorials that vary in length from about an hour to about two hours long, and there are short sections of those tutorials that present parts of "how to" in smaller "chunks" for the student who doesn't have an hour or whose attention span is shorter than a full length tutorial.

Computer requirements and other info is available HERE. The environment is safe for children with content being constantly monitored: "SAFETY: Be assured that offering a SAFE learning environment is a top priority at Tektoma. All materials, projects and forums are moderated for appropriate content, language and graphics that are suitable for even young children."

My son was thrilled to see a game emerging from his work. He was frustrated with some parts of the program, complaining that he thought some of it was "too hard", and I think he prefers to PLAY games more than CREATE them. Because we had to re-image our laptop twice, we lost the game my son was creating, and the laptop was out of commission for quite a few days, and he did not have time to begin again before this review.

Members are able to play games and share games they created, and play games created by other members. Members may set up a blog and there are forums where members interact.

Cost is $14.95 per month or $140 per year which gives members access to all the tutorials as well as online help via the forums. For our family, I think a summertime subscription would be a good option.

I appreciate an opportunity to try before I buy, and companies that offer a trial or sample get high marks from me. A sample tutorial is available HERE.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary 3-month subscription to Tektoma so that I could review it for you.

To read my Crewmates' reviews of Tektoma, go HERE.

1 comment:

PaintCrazy said...

My ADHD son tried Tektoma for a while...loved it enough during the trial that I signed up month to month. Of course, that was the kiss of death and he stopped using it. Like your son, I think he's more into playing than creating.

Also like your son, he's great at crashing computers!

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