Telling the time has never been easy for children. These days they can get muddled with the mixture of analogue clocks and digital watches. Primary Time from Alligata is designed to help children from about four upwards to overcome the problems and become expert time tellers.
The format of the program is very simple. A clock is drawn with its hands set to a random time. The same time is also displayed in digital form. Five possible answers are given and the user to select the correct one.
The program starts with an instruction page indicating which keys are needed. It then waits for a name to be entered. Next comes the main menu from which various options can be selected. The simplest only gives o'clock times and then come half pasts, quarters and minutes.
On the o'clock times the computer beeps the correct number of times as an extra help. As for all options, the possible answers are written up the side of a grandfather clock. The cursor that has to be moved is a mouse. Unlike some time-telling programs, this one does not require pin point accuracy when selecting an answer, which makes the package suitable for young children provided they can read.
A pleasant touch is that if the clock shows 1 o' clock the mouse falls down with a musical flourish.
Ten questions are set on the chosen option. Correct answers are rewarded with a Well done. If the child makes a mistake, he or she is given the correct answer. A score out of ten is given at the end. The graphics make good use of the Electron's high resolution capabilities. They are rather slow because the program is written in Basic. The various sounds are pleasing enough, but there is no option to turn them off.
The programmers obviously understood the nature of small fingers. The ESCAPE and BREAK keys are programmed to re-start the sequence. It needs a CTRL-BREAK to exit the program.
One minor problem is that the correct answer flashes once when it appears. I don't think many children would notice this.
Children between the ages of four and ten who need help with telling the time could benefit from using this program. The younger ones will need help from a friendly adult. If used sensibly, this is a valuable and worthwhile program.