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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Gadgets, Games and Gizmos: Fun with Learning

I've been a fan of Jellyvision's You Don't Know Jack for a while, my first CD of the game had the following system requirements:
  • 486SX/33 or better microprocessor
  • Windows 3.1x or Windows 95
  • 8MB of RAM
  • 15 MB of Free Hard Disk Space
  • 2X CD-ROM drive
  • Video display capable of at least 640x480 resolution with 256 colors
  • Sound Blaster 16 or compatible multimedia sound card
In fact, I remember playing You Don't Know Jack online in 1997 (in my office at school) complete with commercial breaks right in the middle of each game. It was low graphics but high entertainment.

So the other day my youngest son and I go on the Jellyvision site to check it out. We go to the iCi showroom and play the CompassLearning games.

Wow! Every topic my 9 year old says..."hey we are learning that in school." "Alright, I know this." "This is fun!"

Now my two boys are put through a lot of "educational games" a hazard of being children of a mad learning scientist. Many they like, some they think are horrible and a few they love. The educational stuff by Jellyvision is in the "love" category.

The secret to Jellyvision is...sound.

Jellyvison products lead with sound and voice. Really, there is nothing as "one-on-one" as a conversation. A discussion with a friend, speaking with a colleague, getting advice from a mentor. The iCi interface captures this. In most e-learning, sound and voice overs are an after thought. Not with the iCi interface.

Sound can be a powerful tool for learning. The reason podcasting is so powerful and can be an effective tool for learning is that a mentor or a colleague can speak directly to you as you listen to the podcast. You can learn so much by listening to the tone, pacing and pitch of a person's voice.

The power of voice must be placed into e-learning. We need to maximize the sense of hearing to impact the learners. It is one tool that can lead to humor, emotion and a sense of fun and with high levels of retention.

Next time you sit down to author an e-learning course. Start with the audio script. Everything else should simply follow.

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Content Guide


Wendy said...

OMG!!!! I am a HUGE fan of You Don't Know Jack and was very sad when I lost the discs.

Thanks for the inspiration (and the link). Time to start taking a look at their production details to see what I can swipe for my own tutorials.

Anonymous said...

Did you know you can order new CD's at

You also play free Jack games at

Shameless plug.

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Karl Kapp said...


I am a huge fan as well. Always enjoyed the game. Thanks for your comment.

Gene said...

Hey, I'm glad you enjoy it. I worked on this project about a year ago, recording and editing some of the skits. It really was a great time there.