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Magazines > MultiMedia & Internet@Schools > January/February 2004
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Vol. 11 No. 1 — Jan/Feb 2004
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


A Higher-Level Edition has been added to News-2-You, the online weekly newspaper providing current events news to special education and beginning reading students. The new edition provides more text with fewer supporting visual icons, as well as more challenging activity pages. Developed by a speech pathologist, News-2-You provides a vocabulary-expanding tool that gives readers regular exposure to current events topics. Available editions include a simplified version, a six- to eight-page newspaper in larger print, a Communications Board, and a single-page collection of all key vocabulary words (with matching icons) used in that edition. Each newspaper includes current events stories, simple recipes, jokes, games, a review page, coloring and crossword pages, and additional stories related to the first story. $65—individual subscription; $270—group pricing, maximum of 25 teachers. Partial year subscriptions, discounts for renewals, and multi-year subscriptions are available. News-2-You, 800/697-6575 or

Language Arts

The Finder series of advanced thesaurus-like tools has been added to MY Access! 4.1, an online writing tool. The Wordfinder and Meaningfinder applications provide students with the ability to highlight words and identify alternative word choices and related concepts, as well as the meaning of a word and its synonyms. MY Access! is a Web-based writing environment that scores essays and provides immediate feedback to students. Student work is maintained in an online portfolio that contains the initial draft, evaluation scores, and subsequent revisions. Teachers can review student portfolios, provide comments, and track the overall class portfolio to manage writing instruction. The Finder applications also will be added to the writing tools IntelliMetric and Mentor. Vantage Learning, 215/579-8390 or


Fraction Shape-Up for grades 3 to 5 contains 499 math problems and 1,220 questions on fractions and their application. The program's units include Understanding Fractions, Exploring Fractions, Comparing Common Fractions, Introduction to Mixed Numbers and Improper Fractions, Making Equivalent Fractions, Introduction to Ordering Fractions, Ordering Fractions with Different Denominations, and Adding and Subtracting Fractions. Each unit features a Tryout, Warm-Up, Workout, and Finals. Each lesson is self-directing and self-correcting. The program provides an onscreen calculator and step by step help in solving all problems. The Teacher Program Manager allows teachers to evaluate each student's progress and add comments to their individual program. Students can print out their scores on a personalized progress-to-date screen. Windows only. $89—school version; $27—home version. Merit Software, 800/753-6488 or


Astronomicon: Celestial Construction Tool Kit lets users create virtual models of the solar system to explain eclipses, planet rotation, and other astronomical events. The 3-D modeling software allows teachers and students to construct solar systems to explore fundamental concepts about the universe, including planetary motion and light. Pricing varies, based on configuration. Cybernet Systems, 734/668-2567 or

PLATO Life Science for middle school students has been added to the online PLATO Instructional Solutions library. The courseware's theme-based scenarios engage students in scientific inquiry, problem solving, and critical thinking in a variety of topics, including cells, the structure and function of living organisms, the classification and diversity of life, genetics and heredity, organisms and their environment, human health and reproduction, and change over time. Features include a narrated glossary to help with the pronunciation of scientific terms and an optional read-along feature that helps struggling readers, limited English-proficient, and hearing-impaired students follow the narration with onscreen text. PLATO Learning, 800/869-2000 or

Social Studies

The I.D.E.A. Works! Special Education CD-ROM provides teaching resources for the Holt social studies textbook series. The CD includes modified activities and assessment as required for Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) of special-needs students in mainstream classrooms. Each version of the CD includes lessons, activities, quizzes, and tests for each Holt social studies textbook. Six groups of resources are featured: Guided Reading Strategies, Main Idea Activities, Daily Quizzes, Chapter and Unit Tests, Vocabulary Activities, and Print-Ready Flashcards. CDs are available for Holt People, Places, and Change; Holt Call to Freedom/Beginnings to 1877; Holt World Geography Today; Holt World History/The Human Journey; and Holt American Nation: The Modern Era. All schools adopting these social studies texts will receive the corresponding version of I.D.E.A. Works! for their textbook as a free resource. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 800/992-1627 or or

PaceWare for Social Studies gives GED and struggling students the basic information and skills they need to function as good citizens and make sense of the news and events in today's world. Available in both electronic and print versions, the program covers six social studies content areas such as World Geography, U.S. History, Civics and Government, and Economics. The topics correlate to most high school exit exams and the Social Studies GED 2003 Test. $1,050—print system; $4,200—software version available in a variety of configurations. Pace Learning, 800/826-7223 or

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