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Magazines > MultiMedia Schools > January/February 2003
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Vol. 10 No. 1 — Jan/Feb 2003
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


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

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 or

Early Learning

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    

Language Arts

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

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. $70—single unit price. Volume discounts are available. Tool Factory, 800/220-8386 or


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 skill—listening, 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. $95—single computer. $450—up to five computers. $1,200—up to 15 computers. $2,100—up 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  

Social Studies

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 or

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

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 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


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

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  


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