News of the Latest Products and Technology for K-12
by Kathie Felix, News Editor
TitleWatch lists recently-released
educational software and electronic media products that relate to the K-12
curriculum. This list is primarily but not exclusively comprised of CD-ROM
products; other electronic formats are noted in the text. Suggestions for
entries and press releases should be addressed to Kathie Felix,
5746 Union Mill Rd., PMB 605, Clifton, VA 20124 or email@example.com.
Map Detectives allows students in grades 2-3 to work on mapreading,
geography, and problem-solving skills as they unlock a series of mysteries.
Youngsters locate missing objects and find clues about the thieves by
interpreting map symbols, typing in grid references,and using distance,
scale, and compass directions as they work withdifferent types of maps.
The program includes customization and record-keeping options that allow
teachers to view and print records of the "registered detectives." Game
length, the difficulty of the mapping exercises, and mysteries can be
altered for each student or group of students. Teachers can monitor student
progress and track the maps and activities that have been completed,
as well as their level of difficulty. The accompanying printed support
material for the classroom includes suspect cards with character descriptions,
fold-out maps, and illustrated directions for navigating each map. Mac/Win
CD-ROM. $60, single unit price. Multi-pack and site license pricing is
available. Tool Factory, 800/220-8386 or http://www.toolfactory.com/.
Zoombinis Island Odyssey, for ages 8 and up, brings an introduction
to science concepts to this math and logic problem-solving software series.
As students team up with the Zoombinis to restore their ecologically
ravaged homeland, they learn about astronomy, mechanics, cryptography,
and life sciences. The Enhanced Educator Version (EEV) includes whole-class
progress tracking and printable classroom activities. The Teacher Resource
binder includes lesson plans, additional student activities, reproducible
worksheets, and detailed scope and sequence charts. The EEV version is
available as a two-user school edition, six-user lab pack, or flexible
site license. Mac/Win CD-ROM. $20, single user price. Riverdeep, 800/564-2587
Scooby-Doo Case File #1: The Glowing Bug Man helps children ages
5-10 build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills as they work
on a mystery featuring a strange glowing figure, half-man and half-insect,
wandering the halls of the Museum of Natural History. Students fix broken
exhibits and piece clues together to find the culprit. Three difficulty
levels help youngsters practice pattern recognition, sorting, and eye-hand
coordination. Help is available in the form of museum curator Nigel Nightwatch.
Printable activities expand the focus beyond the computer. Windows CD-ROM.
$25, single unit price. Riverdeep, 800/564-2587 or http://www.riverdeep.net/.
Simon SIO Stage 1 and Simon SIO Stage 2, developed to
help struggling students and students with disabilities overcome difficulties
with phonological awareness, are now available in network editions. Each
edition includes 33 levels of instruction with eight activities at each
level. The programs feature lesson plans, off-computer and extension
activities, and detailed progress reports that include student-recorded
reading samples. Data can be displayed electronically or printed for
inclusion in student portfolios. Accessibility has been built in to every
activity at every level for students who need to use an adaptive technology
switch. Mac and Win. Don Johnston, Inc., 800/999-4660 or http://www.donjohnston.com/.
Young Writers' Workshop for elementary and middle school students
presents writing assignments from stories and plays to advertisements,
magazine articles, and photo captions. A bank of media, including photographs
and videos, gives young learners a start for each assignment they accept.
Sound options allow students to record their scripts through a microphone
or conduct an interview with a friend. The program can be run in English,
French, Spanish, or German and is appropriate for use in language classes.
Windows CD-ROM only. $70single unit price. Volume discounts are
available. Tool Factory, 800/220-8386 or http://www.toolfactory.com/.
LanguEdge for higher-level high school and college students helps
build communicative academic English skills and prepares students for
the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The program includes
eight modules, two for each skilllistening, speaking, reading,
and writing. Also included are functions for making assignments and checking
progress, automatic scoring of listening and reading questions, training
materials for learning to score responses in speaking and writing, and
two full-length tests. The software uses the format of the TOEFL test
scheduled to premiere in 2004. The package includes a Teacher's Guide,
Handbook for Scoring, and Score Interpretation Guide. Windows CD-ROM.
$95single computer. $450up to five computers. $1,200up
to 15 computers. $2,100up to 30 computers. District and site license
pricing available. Teacher's Guide$10. Handbook for Scoring$30. Educational
Testing Service (ETS), 800/241-5393 or http://www.toefl.org/languedge.html/.
Kiloran Bay: A Viking Pack introduces elementary and middle school
students to archeology and Viking culture. The program examines the longboat
burial of a Viking man in Kiloran Bay in the Inner Hebrides. Animations
and audio clips reenact the burial. Interactive investigations uncover
the daily lives and religious beliefs of the Vikings. Students examine
how the man was buried, his place in his community, and the meaning of
the objects buried with him. Win/Mac CD-ROM. $40, single unit price.
Multi-pack and site license pricing are available. Tool Factory, 800/220-8386
Like the PBS television series, Liberty's Kids, for ages 8 to
12, takes young learners on a journalistic quest to learn about the key
events of the American Revolution. The program focuses on the Colonial
adventures of two young reporters, Sarah Phillips and James Hiller, as
they get swept up in the Revolution. Beginning at Ben Franklin's print
shop in Philadelphia, users embark on an exploration of seven historical
events. Students learn details about the war and build skills in investigative
reporting, such as listening and observation, as they explore locations,
collect items, and interview characters such as George Washington and
Abigail Adams. After exploring each historical event, the students are
challenged to separate fact from opinion and create their own front page
newspaper story with headline and photo. The Enhanced Educator Version
(EEV) includes whole-class progress tracking, printable classroom activities,
and a Teacher Resource Binder with lesson plans, additional student activities,
reproducible worksheets, and scope and sequence charts. The school version
is available as a two-user school edition, six-user lab pack, or flexible
site license. Win/Mac CD-ROM. $25, single copy price. Education pricing
is available. Riverdeep, 800/564-2587 or http://www.riverdeep.net/.
Vikings, produced with the Jorvic Center in York, England, includes
more than 500 photographs, videos, and drawings of Viking artifacts,
buildings, boats, and people. The program's interactive interface allows
students to explore a timeline of Viking history and travel back in time.
Exploration sites include a longhouse, a church, and homes where students
learn what it was like to be a slave, a trader, a warrior, a woman, or
a child in Viking times. The "Site Office" feature allows students to
work with an historian, an archeologist, and a scientist to uncover the
Viking past. The "Finds Database" displays beads, brooches, scabbards,
combs, shoes, walking sticks, sculptures, grave covers, rune stones,
crosses, and more. Win/Mac CD-ROM. $70, single unit price. Multi-pack
and site license pricing are available. Tool Factory, 800/220-8386
or http://www.toolfactory.com/. The
four titles in the 20th Century History Library Pack examine the
wars, events, people, and ideologies of the 1900s. The World War I
Archive is divided into three main categories: Chronology of War,
Aspects of War, and Personal Perspectives. This disc includes material
supplied by war veterans and their families. An electronic scrapbook
feature allows students to save selected text, audio, video, and graphic
files for future viewing and presentation building.
World War II Global Conflict includes interactive videos on
the war in Europe, the Blitzkrieg, Gotterdammerung, Japanese expansion,
and the Far Eastern conflict. The "Map" section covers 28 countries and
32 events. World War II Sources and Analysis includes more than
1,000 entries (documents, photographs, audio clips, and posters) searchable
by source type, case study, or theme. Case studies include Pearl Harbor,
the war in North Africa, the Allied invasion of Italy, the internment
of Japanese Americans, Iwo Jima, GIs in Britain, the Blitz, women at
war, the Resistance, and the end of the war. The Troubled Century provides
multimedia investigations of The Struggle for Peace, Societies in Change,
and Superpower Relations. Windows CD-ROM. $80, each title, single unit
price. $280, Library Pack (includes all four titles). Licensing pricing
is available. Tool Factory, 800/220-8386 or http://www.toolfactory.com/.
The LeapTrack K-5 Assessment and Instruction System is now available
in a Macintosh version. The software system, used in conjunction with
the LeapPad and Quantum Pad platforms, helps teachers assess students,
identify areas for improvement, and assign personalized standards-based
content tied to the assessment. Teachers can continuously track student
performance in relation to state standards and can assess students throughout
the year across reading, math, language arts, and vocabulary. District
Bundles, School Bundles, and Classroom Kits for grades K-1, 2-3, and
4-5 are available. LeapFrog SchoolHouse, 800/883-7430 or http://www.LeapFrogSchoolHouse.com/.
Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 15 Deluxe revamps the keyboarding
program for ages 8 to adult with the addition of software specifically
for the Palm-powered Handheld. Users can connect a Palm-compatible keyboard,
download the software from PC to PDA, and begin typing. The latest edition
includes more than three times the number of custom lessons, bringing
the total to more than 30 lessons that focus on multiple subjects, categories,
and interests. The customized typing lessons focus on developing speed
and accuracy and include key introduction, drill practice, and proficiency
building, all of which can be evaluated and monitored with a variety
of progress-tracking charts and reports. Special user settings include
English or Spanish instructions, goal setting words per minute, and a
one-handed typing manual. Windows CD-ROM. $40, single unit price. Also
available is Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing 15, priced at $20 per single
copy. Riverdeep, 800/564-2587 or http://www.riverdeep.net/.