Pond is a series of four simple counting activities for younger children giving practice in number work up to 10. The Activities are described in more detail below.
Selections can be made from the on screen display, the keyboard or with a switch.
When a preset number of rounds have been played, a short reward sequence is run before the program returns to the menu screen.
Each activity can be adjusted to meet different needs and abilities: press CONTROL + F2 at the menu screen to open up the Configuration editor where the Configurations are defined.
Pond is compatible with Resource's Talk·2·Talk feature and can therefore be configured for a number of languages, either singly or 'side by side'.
When the program starts, the user is shown up to six buttons which represent six possible Configurations. By altering these Configurations, you can control how each of the four activities is set up.
Teacher keyboard shortcuts
CONTROL + F1
This opens the About box. Use this shortcut to update your serial number or to check your licence details.
CONTROL + F2
Configurations editor, used to change the settings of the program.
CONTROL + F3
Pond is a Talk·2·Talk program; you can add other languages at any time to support EAL and MFL.
CONTROL + F5
Toggle the cursor on and off. This can be useful when using the software with a whiteboard or touch- sensitive monitor.
To interrupt any activity, press ESCAPE to get back to the main menu.
The Configurations editor
Each of the six icons can be configured differently (the seventh is the Systems icon, used for global settings). In this way Pond can be set up to suit a range of abilities or goals within the same classroom. Individual icons can be hidden from pupils: just deselect the Show on title screen checkbox. Each icon can be set to:
run one of the four Pond activities: Teddy Bear's Picnic, Little Ducks, Butterflies or Fish and Frogs;
determine how many goes or rounds before the activity ends;
select the highest numeral that will be used in the activity;
select the fewest and most items that will be used in the activity: how many ducks, how many butterflies etc. (minimum 1, maximum 10). You can, for example, set the number of ducks to always be between five and ten, or to be one specific number by setting the maximum and minimum to the same number.
In addition, the icon can have the following settings:
Rewards. When all the rounds for an activity have been played, a reward sequence is displayed. This can be turned off.
Sound effects. This turns the background sounds on and off.
Speech. This turns spoken instructions and responses on and off. When speech is on, any text in any activity will speak when clicked.
Mark wrong answers. In Butterflies, Little Ducks and Fish and Frogs, this fades incorrectly selected figures in the number track.
Background fade Some children find difficulty in distinguishing key objects from the background. This control allows you to set the colour saturation of the background for each of the Configurations.
Other global settings
By default, Pond will run in Full screen mode, taking over the whole display. If you wish to use Pond with other applications, deselect this item. Pond will then run in a smaller window with an optional Border.
If the sounds of the countryside get too much, turn off the Title screen sound.
Just as in each Configuration, you can use the Title screen background fade to emphasise key elements.
To make best use of a whiteboard or touch-sensitive screen, you can toggle the cursor on and off by pressing CONTROL + F5 at any time.
Click the System icon to open the global setting screen. It is advisable to set Switch A and Switch B to your standard usage by double-clicking either dialogue box and pressing the appropriate key.
Each Configuration can be set up to meet the needs of individual children by adjusting the controls for Dwell time (the time a single switch hovers over a target) and Tremor debounce (the time the software takes before it responds to a second press). If your switch box has these controls already, move both sliders to the left to allow your box settings to dominate, making these controls global settings.
Number of switches Set to 0 for no switches, 1 for one switch and 2 for two switches. Even if a switch mode is chosen, the mouse and the keyboard can still be used to choose answers.
When the main menu screen is showing, switch users can turn on their interface by pressing a switch. This will bring 1-switch and 2-switches buttons to the screen and a highlight will scan between the two switch options; pressing a switch again at the appropriate point will select the mode. When a switch mode has been selected from the menu screen it will remain active during play using the selected Configuration.
In single-switch mode with two switches attached, either switch acts as the selector with the highlight scanning between hotspots. In two-switch mode, Switch A moves the highlighter and Switch B selects.
If a switch is used to select an activity, switch access is retained while that activity is used, even if a mouse user is sharing. Switch use is restored automatically after the mouse stops moving.
Switch mode is disabled by clicking the Mouse button or any of the activity buttons, although it will be re-enabled during play if a switch mode has been defined in the selected Configuration.
This program is in our Talk·2·Talk range which gives the user exposure to two languages in parallel. This option only appears if one or more additional languages have been installed; teachers have the option of using any two. Contact Resource Education or your usual supplier for details.
If you have purchased additional languages, hold down the SHIFT key put the Languages CD in the drive, press CONTROL + F3 from the main menu screen and follow the on-screen instructions.
When the installation is finished, open the Configuration editor (CONTROL + F2) to see the additional features shown at the bottom of the panel.
In each of the six Configurations, you can choose which language will be presented to the user as the First language. Any text on the screen and all recorded speech is then in this language.
There is an optional Second language which will repeat any spoken phrases in another tongue, rather like a simultaneous translation.
Any spoken words will be heard initially in the First language, followed by the same expression in the Second language.
Choose None for single-language use.
Title screen language
This is found by clicking the Systems icon. It sets the language that the program starts in. You can choose from any installed language.
Notes for network users
Because all configuration data is kept on the server, all changes to Configurations will be available on all workstations. Please note that, on some networks, only Administrators may make changes to Configurations. If you are having difficulties, please consult your network administrator.
This also means that all switch users who are connected to the network must also have the same keyboard mapping for their switches. If different users require different mappings, consider installing Pond on separate workstations.
Teddybears' Picnic one-to-one correspondence
A number of teddybears is presented, along with items of food. Is there enough food? The answer is simply Yes or No.
The Y and N keys can also be used to answer and switch users can scan between the two buttons.
Teddybears' Picnic configuration options
To avoid confusion, the user can be presented with only one type of food, for example, only sandwiches or only honey. The choice of food will be random.
Little Ducks counting still objects
The program shows a variable number of ducks for children to count. There are yellow ducks and white and brown ducks. After counting the ducks, the user selects the appropriate number. The use of two colours for the ducks allows the possibility of writing number sentences to describe the total number of ducks or introducing simple addition.
Little Ducks configuration options
There are no options specific to this activity.
Butterflies counting moving objects
Differing numbers of butterflies are displayed for counting. They are animated to discourage touch counting. Many children will find difficulty with numbers over five in this activity. The program is particularly useful for estimation. It also begins to deal with problems of overlapping and the recognition of groups within groups.
After a correct answer, the butterflies are removed from the screen one by one. The user may click on a number button to show the number of butterflies and the keyboard number keys may also be used.
Butterflies configuration options
When the butterflies are removed from the screen this option decides whether they are counted out loud as they go and, if so, whether they are counted up or down.
Fish and frogs match numbers, more than, fewer than
Ten frogs are shown, sitting on logs above a river. A number of fish can be seen in the water. The frogs enjoy jumping in the water to frighten the fish away.
Count the fish When the correct number is selected, the frogs will jump into the water, matching the number of fish.
Fewer than A question will be asked such as 'How many fewer fish than frogs?' If there are five frogs and two fishes, the answer is three. Whether the frogs outnumber fish or vice versa is random. The term 'fewer' has been used here instead of 'less' as it is linguistically correct. Pupils do not need to learn the distinction between countable and uncountable nouns at this stage. They can just learn that fewer and less are very similar!
More than This is a similar activity. As in Fewer than, the number of frogs or fishes 'left over' will be counted aloud.
More than/less than This option presents More than and Fewer than questions at random.