forest visitors' centerDiscoveries (1995) was a series of four interactive CD-ROM programs for Grades 3-6 (ages 8-12), with accompanying teacher’s guides. Each CD-ROM takes you on a virtual field trip where you can discover a new environment by scrolling through a 360-degree panorama filled with images, motion video, animation, voices, and music. Students write in an e-journal and “photograph” images on the CD.

The series won the National Educational Media Award (1996), the New England Book Show Award (1996), the Bookbuilder’s Award (1995), and was selected for the Gallery at the Fifth Annual Macromedia Conference (1994). It was originally published by D. C. Heath, then Houghton Mifflin, later Sunburst.  The technology appears primitive now, but was state-of-the-art in 1995.

Roland Ochsenbein was the Director of Educational Technologies and Debby Astudillo, the Project Manager. Mark Tricca, Brian Quible, and Sandra Easton were Production Coordinators for the CD-ROMs. See credits below for the Teacher’s Guides. I was the Consultant for the overall project.

The titles in the series include:

Saguaro cactusDiscoveries: In the Desert (The Sonoran Desert) [ISBN 0-669-36167-4]

Editor: Marie E. Norris
Designer: Victor Curran
Logo: Pamela Esty

hot air balloonDiscoveries: Sky High (The History of Aviation) [ISBN 0-669-36166-6]

Editor: Grace Talusan
Computer Prepress: Ricki Pappo
Designer: Angela Sciaraffa
Logo: Pamela Esty
Cover Art: Pamela Esty

turkey in the forestDiscoveries: Into the Forest (Great Smoky Mountains National Park) [ISBN 0-669-36168-2]

Editor: Grace Talusan
Designer: Angela Sciaraffa
Logo: Pamela Esty
Cover photo illustration: Daniel Derdula

Florida EvergladesDiscoveries: The Nature Connection (The Florida Everglades) [ISBN 0-669-36169-0]

Editor: Karen Potter
Designer: Angela Sciaraffa
Logo: Pamela Esty
Cover Art: Pamela Esty

There are several special features of each CD-ROM in the Discoveries series, including the Panorama, the Student’s online journal, and the Visitor’s Center:

Panorama, a 360-degree image filled with photos, motion video, animation, voices, and music. For In the Desert, the panorama switches from day to night. student's writing journalStudent’s online journal for writing and photographs forest visitors' centerThe Visitor’s Center, for example, from Into the Forest), is home to

  • the Library (multimedia, interactive books),
  • the Activity Wall (containing the Tree Cross-Section, Hiking Game, Smokey Bear poster, Fun Facts),
  • the World Map (with interactive elements), and
  • the Door Wall (containing the Trivia Game, the Pamphlet Racks, the Forest Explorations, and a map of the Appalachian Trail).


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