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The Toy Man® News & Views
Product Reviews / Evaluation Report Summaries (ERS)

Induction Certificate Number:   74020110819-516
Induction Date:   August 19, 2011
Product:   ItzaBitza (for Mac)
MSRP:   $11.95 USD
Company URL:  http://www.vpltd.com/
Rating: 

ItzaBitza (for Mac)

by:  Rev. James G.W. Fisher - Editor / Product Evaluation Specialist
     
Evaluation Report Summary (ERS) Date:  08/19/2011

Draw a house and watch Sketchy shrink to fit in the door; draw flames and watch the rocket ship blast off; draw a triangle for the wheel of the farmer’s tractor just for a laugh. In the award winning game ItzaBitza™, drawings truly come to life.

[ Please refer to A-2-Z Company Index for contact information.]

Participating in our eco-Recognition™ Project to encourage greenBusiness™




Product Type Release Year Primary Usage Target Age / Max. Weight Target Gender
Computer Software - Educational 2011 Consumer/Education Female/Male


Evaluation Report Summary (ERS) - Index



Evaluation Report Summary (ERS)
Category Rating Scores

Category rating scores are based on scale from 1 to 5. Rating score must be 3 or higher to pass in each evaluation category.


Creative Agenda Creative funQuotient™ Narrative Progression Response Level Skill Improvement Overall Visual Appeal
5 4.5 5 5 5 5

Final product / service rating is averaged from the sum total of ALL applicable evaluation category scores. Only scores of "3" or higher are published.

There are a total of 357 evaluation categories which are used in our evaluation process.
(NOTE: Not all categories are applicable to any one product or online service.)

Only 6 of the evaluation category rating scores for this New Inductee's evaluation are featured for public view.



Critical Evaluation Information

These icons represent important attributes with which this product / service is associated, contributes to, or encourages development of. Select any of the unique icons below to learn more about the specific attribute it represents.
                        





image of factory with ecological leaves symbol. Trade Industry Sales Types

Wholesale Retail Reseller Online 

 



Safety Guidelines Symbol ImageSafety / Quality Classifications
 
CE MarkedUL ApprovedJPMA Certified
(Not Applicable)(Not Applicable)
ASTM Complianteco-Friendlyeco-Conscious
(Not Applicable)



CPSIATÜVEU
Independent Lab Tested  Independent Lab Name 
(Not Applicable)  
LeadSafe™ - Surface Coatings/PaintLeadSafe™ - Content / SubstratesPhthalatesSafe
(Not Applicable)(Not Applicable)  (Not Applicable)
BPASafeSoluble Heavy MetalsMechanical/Physical
(Not Applicable)(Not Applicable)(Not Applicable)
Flammability - Solids/TextilesLabeling of Hazardous Art MaterialsiWatchDog™ Approved
(Complies with ICCS™ Certification Standards)
(Not Applicable)



UPC Code / ISBN#Manufacturer SKUAge Grading
Not Available Labeled/Appropriate



Manufactured InSafety Hazard/Warnings
U.S.A.

 

About Our New Inductee

Before you buy a product, it's generally common practice to be familiar with what it does, the branding, and other details. We feel that the same rule applies to our "New Inductees" we announce each week, so this section is titled "About Our New Inductee." The information in this section will provide you with a quick yet accurate glance of what the product or service is all about.

Image of the Telegruv game box. It seems like every time we have a new inductee that exceeds everything else to date in WOWfactor!™, you can guarantee that another new inductee is going to make its mark as well soon after, perhaps even better. It seems like new inductees building a better mousetrap. Such is the case with ItzaBitza.

ItzaBitza is a mouse driven Mac drawing/learning game for early readers, (ages 4+). Children's drawings are incorporated into the video game story line. Through real time participation, children are challenged with creative thinking, problem solving and reading comprehension.

When it comes to creative fun, ItzaBitza for Mac has really made its mark!  ItzaBitza, (first introduced on the PC), incorporates exclusive image recognition technology 'Living Ink', to animate the images drawn by children. The program is designed to know when a child is drawing a house, so even if the house looks like a banana or a boat, it animates the drawing accordingly. Whether online or via CD, ItzaBitza provides one of the most outstanding fun skill development activities ever for kids.

As it is plain to see, that is a lot of information to take in but to put it more simply, the game is fun, captivating, and provides an innovative new method of improving reading comprehension that is monumental. For a child playing ItzaBitza, it is an experience which is improving their reading comprehension and other cognitive skills. Another valuable perspective of ItzaBitza is how it serves as a virtual environment which encourages improvement of social interaction, creative thought processes, and a higher level of self-esteem.
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Additional Details & Perspectives

While it's great for some people who just want a cursory glance at what a New Inductee is all about, there are many others who have a greater appetite for more information. This section is titled "Additional Details & Perspectives". and will provide you with additional details and perspectives associated with the product or service being featured here.

In our group evaluation, just as with the Mac version of ItzaBitza, we had many perspectives of how each of us saw and interpreted ItzaBitza and the Play / Learning experience that is associated with it. Although the game is designed for a target age of 4+ and a primary focus of reading development skills, it in fact provides so much more. It would be impossible to encompass the entire lot in a single product evaluation summary.

In the images below you can see a brief glimpse of what ItzaBitza is like. Each level has loads of tasks which a child can perform repeatedly to see more gold stars springing forth and watching their scores increase while learning simultaneously.

A screen capture image from the ItzaBitza DVD where a child is creating their own page. A screen capture image from the ItzaBitza DVD where a child sees a query as to if they would like to draw a boot for the character. A screen capture image from the ItzaBitza DVD where a child sees a virtual piece of scratch paper to create an object such as a sun, moon, a boot, a fish, etc... A screen capture image from the ItzaBitza DVD

As you can see from the images above, there is a wide variety of content used which is ideal for use with children of the target age group for which the product has been designed. ItzaBitza excels in the fact that with each task a child needs to perform, there is either a generous variety of hints, including highlighted words to draw a child's attention directly, an audible hint, or the scratch paper for drawing in which they are given an example to see before they begin their own first drawing.

One Of The Most Impressive Features

One of the most impressive features which brings ItzaBitza to life is how that with each drawing a child creates, ItzaBitza animates it in some manner to give it greater dimension and depth. For instance: A child draws a house. When they are completed and clicked on the green check mark to confirm it, suddenly the door to their house will open, the doorway, and windows both now show an actual interior with furniture and more! Best of all, the character in play can even enter the house to perform a specific task or action be it cooking, sleeping, or even throwing a party.

I would say more than anything else, developmental skills in a player are exposed to an entirely new approach in learning never before imagined. This very well could be a stepping stone to a whole new world of education for toddlers, far more effective with a greater level of productive results.

ItzaBitza
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Independent Evaluator Reports

In this section we have called upon the assistance of top industry professionals to evaluate the product in this evaluation summary. These scholars form their own opinions from extensive analysis and produce detailed, in-depth reports connected with their own personal study and evaluation of the products submitted for independent evaluation.

The information to follow is comprised of excerpts from the independent evaluator reports that have been paraphrased, posted verbatim, or a combination of both in order to encapsulate an accurate presentation of the primary details conveyed in each report. This approach provides a completely independent perspective in the evaluation each product.


PRODUCT | ONLINE SERVICE
itzaBita

TARGET AGE GROUP:
MEDIA PLATFORM:
MEDIA CONTENT:

4 Years +
Mac OS
Multimedia Educational DVD
Overall Rating Average: 5 Star Rating Image





This Week's Independent Evaluators

Senior Video Game Engineer / Educational Media Analyst

"ItzaBitza capitalizes upon the role of emotions in learning which is imperative for creating a hybrid cross-over of education and entertainment in video games. The creative agenda hosts a narrative which demonstrates recognition of the significance of experience, active thought processing, social interactions, and executive cognitive functioning in learning and entertainment combined."

"With this game, an actively engaged child will be actualizing the use of self-questioning for comparative evaluation of action against content, combined with narrative stimulation. This emboldens a strengthening of their comprehension to clarify tasks, words, or phrases which they may not fully understand.”

"The implementation of 'Living Ink' provides a learning method which once again encourages self-questioning for comparative evaluation. Using 'Living Ink,' kids draw things on the screen using a computer mouse. When they do, the drawings come alive through animation and are immediately incorporated into stories that the kids help to create.

Professor of Psychology B.A., M.A., & Ph.D.
Educational Theory Specialist

"Progressive reading and vocabulary strategies are acquired from the multiple guides in each lesson which create a development of higher cognitive development. This approach enables the child to become less dependent on assistance. As the skill development improves, mastery of the more simple lessons enable the child to have a smoother transition into the more difficult levels of activities."

"Reciprocal Teaching Method, (Brown and Palinscar) appears have a strong influence in the learning methodology of the game. Reciprocal teaching method is a classic method for teaching reading comprehension strategies. Children are first shown how to apply the strategies by their teacher who models the process. This method can also be used in application for vocabulary learning and effective comprehension."

"In playing ItzaBitza, the player will have a word or phrase introduced to them through a variety of visual and audible sources in all phases of each activity they are engaged in. They also are introduced to tasks to perform which are first modeled by the application in an illustration. The players then practice application of use and duplication as they learn to practice attempting to clarify word meanings or confusing text, development of strategies of predicting what will happen next, and short term summarizing."


* An exceptional point of interest is how the Mac OS provides an exceptional presentation of each of the activities with itzaBita. As part of my case studies with itzaBita, a comparison of skill development between children using the ItzaBitza product on a Mac OS system and a PC.  My study results indicate a a substantial difference in skill development results between the children using the Mac OS system and the PC system. Both groups were matched for age and personality profiles to establish an acceptable equilibrium in study.
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* PLEASE NOTE: At the request of our independent evaluators their names are not disclosed to protect their personal and professional privacy. Their labors are provided at no charge to assist us in providing a well-balanced and accurate product or service evaluation summary. All opinions and or statements from the independent evaluator(s) featured here do not represent the opinion of The Toy Man® Product Guide, any member, division of, or Epiphany Communications itself.



Consumer Hands-On Evaluation

Nothing is more powerful than hands-on experience by a consumer with a product when it is under evaluation. Based upon that fact we put a number of products we currently are slated to evaluate at the mercy of consumers in a hands-on evaluation where anything goes. The information to follow will explore the responses from the participants in our spontaneous hands-on consumer evaluation of the products available for their review.

image of child with ItzaBitza Mac version DVD is front of her.
This hands-on consumer evaluation was handled different than most.  Considering ItzaBitza being so unique from other products on the market, then the consumer evaluation had to be different as well. ItzaBitza grabbed the brass ring in this arena despite the different approach we used with both online and DVD evaluation approaches.

Consumers call it the way it is, holding nothing back in opinion whether it be good or bad.  ItzaBitza made it through with consumers in all events without a single scratch in the slightest!

For ItzaBitza we held our spontaneous consumer hands-on evaluations performed in two different cities/states in addition to both online and using the DVD, (NYC and Los Angeles, CA), along with multiple other products. Having several products available for consumer evaluation all at once provides a more well balanced and unbiased evaluation of the products.

Just as with most DVD/Online products we provide for consumer evaluation, what made the evaluation of ItzaBitza more interesting for the evaluation participants in this case was the generously large screen the children had to watch what they were creating with each task in ItzaBitza. When their creations literally "...came to life" as they drew a door and windows on a house and saw the door open, they were in mystified.

For every child their experience with ItzaBitza went even further as they were able to see the character and furniture inside the house they created. It in a sense created a 3D effect to the children and their level of excitement went off the scale. This encouraged the children to repeat the same tasks again and again just to relive the experience while learning and improving developmental skills.

When all was said and done, all of the feedback forms were collected, the videotapes were all reviewed and the results compiled, ItzaBitza managed to be one of the most popular products in every one of consumer evaluation events we held in both states.  itzaBiza passed this segment of our evaluation with the greatest level of satisfaction in our results.
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A Sampling Of Our Evaluation Category Ratings

The rating of a product is useless if you do not fully understand and comprehend how the ratings is reached or what the value of the rating represents. This need for clarity encouraged us to have this section titled "A Sampling Of Our Evaluation Category Ratings." To assist you in gaining a greater understanding of the evaluation category ratings we use, a small sampling of the individual category titles & rating scores from the complete product review itself for this product or service are featured here.

The categories which have been selected to be featured in this evaluation report summary for public view, specify some of the primary points of how and why each specific rating score was reached.

The Featured Category Ratings Sampling For This Evaluation Summary Are Listed Below:

CREATIVE AGENDA: Rating Level - [5] an image of 4 gold  stars

Creative agenda is a vital factor in the evaluation of a good quality game, especially so if it is an educational game. ItzaBitza pulled its weight without the slightest effort in this category. As expressed by one of the independent evaluators, "The creative agenda hosts a narrative which demonstrates recognition of the significance of experience, active thought processing, social interactions, and executive cognitive functioning in learning and entertainment combined."

To understand the full value of the creative agenda, the following information is a brief definition of what the creative agenda is. The creative agenda of a player represents what the player hopes to achieve by way of exploration in their game experience; in this case being applicable to ItzaBitza.

ItzaBitza has earned a perfect score of [5] Stars in this evaluation category for CREATIVE AGENDA.

funQuotient™: Rating Level - [4.5] an image of 4 gold  stars

ItzaBitza posed a rather puzzling challenge to establish an accurate measure of the funQuotient™ with ItzaBitza. In reviewing all of our videotapes of ItzaBitza during all phases of its evaluation, it was established that there is a fine line between FunFactor™ and just excitement. Excitement is static and short term whereas funQuotient™ tends to be a prolonged response with a player.

After a general discussion meeting with all evaluators and in-house staff it was determined that in combining all scores from every category from the evaluation, including the six which are featured here, the level of funQuotient™ with ItzaBitza was well above average, yet the primary response from all of the players on all of the videotapes was clearly a static response. When you combine learning in such an equal balance as ItzaBita has created, there is a lessening of the funQuotient™ by a fraction yet still retaining value and effectiveness well above average.

In observation of all players, their focus was on creativity, strategy development, and their own narrative being developed. The funQuotient™ was still prevalent yet just not in full shining glory in active response. ItzaBitza came in just a 1/2 a point short of a perfect score with [4.5] Stars in this evaluation category for funQuotient™.

NARRATIVE PROGRESSION: Rating Level - [5] an image of 5 gold  stars

Narrative progression is a different kind of creature. It is a vital part of the design structure of a game design which is even more critical with the new entertainment/education hybrid DVD's now beginning to evolve even further and break into the market like gangbusters in popularity.

In the design of a game and the educational content in a game such as ItzaBitza, a smooth transition in the narrative or flow of the game must be maintained. This means taking on the challenge of maintaining the attention of the player while at the same time delivering educational content which a player will desire to come back for more.

If all of that wasn't enough, a game designer has to have a smooth progression of difficulty levels with each activity, while encouraging the player to develop their own narration to develop and grow in their level of play and learning simultaneously. ItzaBitza has unquestionably pulled the stops out in that regard. ItzaBitza moves in smoothly with a perfect score of [5] Stars in this category for NARRATIVE PROGRESSION.

RESPONSE LEVEL: Rating Level - [5] an image of 4 gold  stars

In reviewing all segments of our evaluation process on videotapes, ItzaBitza truly caught THE wave when it comes to response level from the players. The game pulls a player in the age group for which it was designed, completely into the game play. The players do not see ItzaBitza as a game, they see it more as a refreshing challenge from which they benefit. It's irresistible to a child, they just keep on coming back for more.

Part of the reason for this is that every time they play, they are modifying or even creating an entirely new narrative for their play, never having the same experience twice! With the Living Ink, a child will never draw the various object exactly the same way as previously. With this being the case, the animation created by ItzaBitza also changes and creates a whole new experience for a player to enjoy and gain even further cognitive and critical skill development.

ItzaBitza rides the wave in with a perfect score of [5] Stars for RESPONSE LEVEL.


SKILL IMPROVEMENT: Rating Level - [5] an image of 5 gold  stars

The level of skill improvement with a player with ItzaBitza is astounding. It is literally beyond measure. When you factor in all of the previous category information in addition to the entire balance of content from the other categories, (which are not featured for public view), it is so simple to see why the level of skill improvement for ItzaBitza is so strong. The game shines well beyond anything ever expected with so many factors which each play a vital part in a child's' skill development. ItzaBitza crashes the doors in this time with a powerful perfect score of "5" in SKILL DEVELOPMENT.


OVERALL VISUAL APPEAL: Rating Level - [5] an image of 5 gold  stars

The visual appeal for ItzaBitza was impressive enough to easily grab the brass ring. With this game and this category it is of primary importance to look upon it the way a child sees it. A child is engrossed in the play, and the visual appeal. A child's attention is making strong note of the animation.

ItzaBitza did an outstanding job of providing overall visual appeal with a perfect score of [5] Stars in this category for VISUAL APPEAL.


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EVALUATION RESULTS - From evaluation for induction into "The Toy Man® News & Reviews"
       
    Overall Rating:   5
     
    Seal of Approval:  
     
    Recommends Award:  
       
       
    eco-Recognition™ Seal:  
     
    Award of Excellence:  
     
    eChoice™ Award:  
       
       
    S. T. E. M. Award:   
     
    Mom Approved Award:  
     
    Award of Recognition:™  
       



THE TOY MAN® SEAL OF APPROVAL

"The first and original Seal of Approval®...
designed for product recognition and validation."


Since 1971 The Toy Man® Seal of Approval has served as an emblem of professional recognition for a 
product or service having met the strict evaluation standards of The Toy Man® Product Guide. Since 1971, "The Toy Man® Seal of Approval" has served as an emblem and standard for professional recognition of a product or online service having met the globally recognized evaluation standards of The Toy Man® Product Guide.

This emblem was first established in 1971 by the International Parenting Institute™. It is modeled after the "Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval®", an emblem of recognition for products which meet the globally recognized high standards set forth by the Good Housekeeping Institute®.





THE TOY MAN® ECO-RECOGNITION SEAL

"An emblem of the highest recognition...
for support of ecological concerns applied in full measure."

The Toy Man® eco-Recognition Seal™, by Rev. James
G.W. Fisher, (Chief editor and Product Evaluation Specialist of The Toy Man® Product Guide), and staff.  
These products have demonstrated that they possess the potential as well as high probability to be top sellers.
The Toy Man® eco-Recognition Seal™ embodies the highest recognition for products and services which provide a significant contribution to ecological concerns by one or more of the following;
- earthFriendly™ / Recycled / Recyclable materials are being used primarily or entirely in the manufacturing of the product.

- Product is or will soon be available exclusively or primarily online.


THE TOY MAN® AWARDS

"These are globally recognized awards that are received by a limited few,
yet they provide the well earned recognition well beyond the average that is truly deserved!"

"The Toy Man® Award of Excellence" is awarded to inductees that have an overall Evaluation Category Rating Average, ECRA™, of [5] Stars. That is the highest level of rating available on a 1-5 scale evaluation model. The ECRA is based upon the overall average from all applicable evaluation categories"
PLEASE NOTE: There are a total of 357 evaluation categories with a minimum of 231 being applicable to any one product or online service in our evaluation process with 6 being featured in the Evaluation Report Summary, ERS.


The Toy Man® eChoice™ Award, by Rev. James
G.W. Fisher, (Chief editor and Product Evaluation Specialist of The Toy Man® Product Guide), and staff.  
These products have demonstrated that they possess the potential as well as high probability to be top sellers.
The Toy Man ®An image of the editorsChoice logo Award serves as an emblem of recognition for products & online services that contribute substantially to positive skill growth and/or productivity.

This distinguished award is exclusive as well as unique, with the editor's signature which represents a product being selected as an An image of the editorsChoice logo
PLEASE NOTE: The eChoice™ Award images which were used from 1971-1984, 1984-2007 and 2007-April 2010 have been retrired. Although the versions of the eChoice™ Award have been retired, they still remain valid.
 


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