[TitleWatch] [MultiMedia Schools]
May/June 2000
Copyright © Information Today, Inc.
by Kathie Felix, News/Reviews Editor 
TitleWatch lists recently released educational software products that relate to the K-12 curriculum. This list is primarily but not exclusively comprised of CD-ROM products; other formats (diskettes, videodiscs) are noted in the text. Suggestions for entries and press releases should be addressed to Kathie Felix at 5746 Union Mill Rd., PMB 605, Clifton, VA 20124 or to kfelix@infotoday.com.

(All titles are CD-ROM unless otherwise noted.)


Building Perspective Deluxe updates the challenging spational reasoning program with CD-ROM technology. Designed for grades 4+, including adult learners, the program offers three activities designed to promote geometric and three-dimensional thinking skills while developing deductive reasoning and problem-solving abilities. The activities allow users to compare and contrast views of a city block from different vantage points, build paths between buildings using mixed geometric shapes, and attempt to open doors with a set of three-dimensional keys. Hybrid Mac/Win CD-ROM. $90—single user or 10-user edition, with teacher’s guide. $600—unlimited/network edition. Sunburst Communications, 800/321-7511 or http://www.sunburst.com/.

Global Trade 1.0 allows high school students to tackle complex international trade problems using their knowledge of economics, political science, and problem solving. Students assume the roles of analysts at a large U.S. footwear corporation who must recommend the location of a new manufacturing facility outside of the U.S., as well as the best route for transferring products from the new factory to the firm’s U.S. distribution center. Extensive information contained in the two-CD set provides background on the costs and risks associated with eight potential routes covering four countries. Hybrid Mac/Win CD-ROM, teacher’s guide included. $85—single CD set. $400—pack of 5 sets. $600—pack of 10 sets. $750—pack of 15 sets. Institute for the Study of Family, Work, and Community/MPR Associates, 800/677-6987 or http://www.mprinc.com/.

The six volumes in the Kid Pix Activity Kits series combine the Brøderbund creativity tools with thematic units from Teacher Created Materials. Each volume contains four activity kits on CD-ROM, a printed teacher’s guide, and copies of the four related thematic unit books. Four of the volumes focus on PreK-3; two focus on Grades 3-5. Units examine Creepy Crawlies, Fairy Tales, Family, Oceans, Immigration, and more. Mac or Windows CD-ROM. $70—each volume. $180—each volume, 5-copy lab packs. Site licenses available. The Learning Company, 800/825-4420 or http://www.learningcompanyschool.com/.

Yoiks!, for grades 5-12, features 30 increasingly difficult challenges designed to help build logical reasoning skills as students work to debug a computer’s hard drive. Users work to herd a group of 300 computer bugs through a series of 10-maze like grids and into a recycle bin—before all of the computer’s data is destroyed. The program—with a focus on collaboration and communication skills—complements math, science, or computer science class work. Windows 95/98 CD-ROM. $70—single copy, school edition. $190—lab pack, 5 users. Site licenses available. The Learning Company, 800/825-4420 or http://www.learningcompanyschool.com/.

*Early Learning

My First CD-ROM Toddler, developed for children ages 18 months to 3 years, introduces young children to computers and early learning concepts. An onscreen guide, a friendly jack-in-the-box named Zak, encourages and explains activities such as sorting and shapes, similarities and differences, colors and counting, watching and listening, sounds and rhymes, memory and matching, and vocabulary skills. My First CD-ROM Preschool, created for children ages 3 to 5, helps prepare youngsters for school with the return of onscreen guide Zak and a variety of developmental activities, including recognition and creation of patterns, recognition of letters and letter formations, and understanding cause and effect. Hybrid Mac/Win CD-ROM. $20—single copy. DK Interactive Learning, 888/342-5357 or http://www.dk.com/.

*Language Arts

The word prediction program, Co:Writer, provides a grammar-smart word coach that can work with students in grades 3-12 to help build better sentences, as well as writing confidence. The program offers built-in grammar prediction, auditory word cues, auditory feedback, and customizable 2,000-, 10,000-, and 40,000-word dictionaries. The package can be used for adult literacy course work. Mac or Win 95 CD-ROM. $290—single user. $1,015—five users. $1,943—10 users. $8,700—50 users. Don Johnston, 800/999-4660 or http://www.donjohnston.com/.

The Dugout Collection combines video, computer software, and print materials into a set of multimedia tools designed to help youngsters in grades 3-4 acquire literacy skills. Students begin by viewing and listening to an anchor story that ends with a challenge. Each student can work at her or his own pace; teachers can check on the progress of individual students with the built-in management tool. Hybrid Mac/Win CD-ROM. $495—four volume CD set with all materials. Little Planet Literacy Series/Sunburst Communications, 800/321-7511 or http://www.sunburst.com/.

The High School Reading Comprehension Series is designed to build vocabulary, assist students in the organization and acquisition of information, and provide an enriched perspective of the world. Reading comprehension assignments and essay questions are included. Stories and questions can be added. The program tracks student progress and prints reports. Titles include Famous People, Sports, History, Fashion, and Cars. Hybrid Mac/Win CD-ROM. $60—single copy. $100—two users, one title. $270—six users, one title. $700—30 users, one title. Optimum Resource, Inc., 888/784-2592 or http://www.stickybear.com/.

Write:OutLoud, version 3.0, is the latest edition of the word processor that allows students to hear their text read aloud as they write. Designed for students in grades 1-12, the program includes customizable features to meet the needs of multiple students with varying skill levels, sentence and paragraph feedback that connects written and spoken words, auditory feedback designed to help in the revision process, and immediate auditory and visual cues for misspelled words. The package includes the Franklin Spell Checker, Dictionary, and Homonym Checker. Mac or Win 95 CD-ROM. $99—single user. $346.50—five users. $663.30—10 users. $2,970—50 users. Don Johnston, 800/999-4660 or http://www.donjohnston.com/.

The new edition of Writing Trek: Grades 4-6 offers 12 writing projects inspired by author and writing coach James Moffett’s belief that good communication and writing skills come from an understanding of the way these skills are used by writers. The Treks examine television news, poetry, fiction, and more. Resources such as a writer’s handbook, almanac, lexicon, thesaurus, and rhyming dictionary are included. Hybrid Mac/Win CD-ROM with teacher’s guide. $80—single CD. $90—lab pack, 10 users. $600—unlimited or network use. Sunburst Communications, 800/321-7511 or http://www.sunburst.com/.


Ice Cream Truck allows students in grades 2-6 to drive an ice cream truck and experience a real-world application of mathematics. Young entrepreneurs make stocking and purchasing decisions, buy gasoline, market by creating truck decor and posters, and price their wares to cover the costs of supplies, gas, and profits. Students can modify ice cream preferences, temperature, and the prospective buying population. A journal, spreadsheet, calculator, and competitor comparisons are included. Hybrid Mac/Win CD-ROM. $100—single CD or lab pack of 10, with teacher’s guide. Site and district licenses are available. Sunburst Communications, 800/321-7511 or http://www.sunburst.com/.

Math Problem Solver is now available on CD-ROM. Designed for grades 1-8 and adult education course work, the program includes interactive models of the problem-solving process, concepts that support NCTM Draft Standards 2000, and new test preparation activities. The activities are divided into six standards-based concept sections: data analysis, number sense, measurement, geometry, operations, and algebra. The problem-solving activities include multiple-choice questions, open-ended problems, create-your-own problems, and test prep that mirrors standardized test formats. Mac or Win. $60—each, 1-5 CDs. $55—each, 6-10 CDs. $50—each, 11 or more CDs. Network versions and volume discounts are available. Curriculum Associates, 800/225-0248 or http://www.curriculumassociates.com/.


3-D TopoQuads provide seamless U.S. Geological Survey 7.5-minute maps of entire states that allow users to view any region in the state in two- or three-dimensions and print out customized maps of any region. The discs, available for each of the 50 states, enable students to identify probable land use based on land cover, terrain, and  rainage characteristics. Drawing tools allow customization with MapNotes, polygons, and lines of varying color and fill patterns. An additional tool measures distances and areas. The program is compatible with handheld computers and GPS receivers. Windows 95/98. $100-$150—single copy. DeLorme, 800/452-5931 or http://www.delorme.com/.


Space Academy GX-1 takes students in grades 3-6 on a mission to investigate the astronomical basis for seasons, phases of the moon, gravity, orbits, and more. The program features activities based on national science education standards, virtual manipulatives, record keeping tools, and a multimedia reference guide. Hybrid Mac/Win CD-ROM. $60—school version, two users. $160—lab pack, six users. $600—site license, 30 users. Edmark, 800/362-2890 or http://www.edmark.com/.

The two titles in the Virtual Labs series for students in grades 6-12 provide sequenced levels of virtual experiments (basic, extension, and challenge), multimedia reference materials, and more than 40 reproducible lab work sheets. Virtual Labs: Light allows students to experiment with lasers and an assortment of optical tools as they learn about the nature of light, reflection, and refraction. Virtual Labs: Electricity allows students to experiment with electric current, voltage, resistance, and circuits. Hybrid Mac/Win CD-ROM. $80—school version, two users. $180—lab pack, six users. $800—site license, 30 users. Edmark, 800/362-2890 or http://www.edmark.com/.

*Social Studies/History

Daily Life Through History offers a portrayal of ordinary life in 10 cultures: Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, Aztec, Inca, Maya, Chaucer’s England, Elizabethan England, Civil War America, 19th-Century Frontier America, and Victorian England. The fully indexed and cross-referenced database includes a critical reference and research guide for studying comparative world history, customized search templates, an image query template, and more than 600 color and black-and-white images, maps, and  illustrations. Authentic recipes, clothing patterns, songs, dances, and games are included. Windows 3.1 or later. $395—single user. Additional network license fees: $100 for 2-10 users, $200 for 11-20 users, $300 for 21-30 users. Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., 203/226-3571 or http://www.greenwood.com/.

The GeoSafari Knowledge Pad provides sound, lights, and self-paced quizzes for students of all ability levels. The first title in the series, The Plato Collection (grades 3 and up), includes 96 quizzes in categories including Our Planet, Animals, Man and Nature, Once Upon a Time, Art and Culture, Technology, Abstract (brain teasers), and Sport and Leisure. Hybrid Mac/Win CD-ROM. $25—single copy.  Educational Insights, 800/995-4436 or http://www.educationalinsights.com/.

The Talking Walls series for students in grades 4-8 presents the historical, cultural, and political stories behind some of the world’s most fascinating walls. The first title, Talking Walls, takes a look at the Berlin Wall, the Cuzco Fortress Walls, Great Zimbabwe, Lascaux Cave, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, and more. Talking Walls: The Stories Continue examines the Divali Festival Wall Paintings, Dog Wall in Tokyo, Hadrian’s Wall, the Holocaust Memorial Wall, and the Walled City of Fez. The programs can link directly to their own Web pages with related online information and activities. Hybrid Mac/Win CD-ROM. $80—school version, two users. $180—lab pack, six users. $800—site license, 30 users. Edmark, 800/362-2890 or http://www.edmark.com/.


FreeHand 9 updates the design and layout software package created for both print and Web publishing with increased productivity and new creative tools. The program’s new features include a better visual management environment for multi-page documents, time-saving workflow features, and illustration features such as three-dimensional perspective grids and live enveloping. Versions will be available in French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, and Swedish. Mac and Win CD-ROM. 399—single copy. $169—competitive upgrades. Macromedia, 800/457-1774 or http://www.macromedia.com/.

A free upgrade to HyperStudio 3.3 is available online to educators currently using HyperStudio 3.1 or higher. New features in the latest version include European character support, enhanced HyperLogo scripting, improved printer support, and extras for features such as SiteCentral Preview, Shortcut Palette, Navigation Palette, Open It, HyperLogo RunBox, Iomega Buz Digitizer support, and cross-platform QuickTime 4.0 support. A free newsletter is available three times a year to support HyperStudio-using educators. The school licensing policy has been improved to help schools and school districts using both Mac and Windows systems. Mac or Win CD-ROM. $200—teacher edition. $450—lab pack, 5 users. $795—lab pack, 10 users. Knowledge Adventure, 800/545-7677 or http://www.KnowledgeAdventure.com/.

The Macromedia Director 8 Shockwave Studio simplifies the creation of compact Shockwave content and streamlines online or multimedia production and publishing. A new publishing feature exports compact Shockwave files that stream and use HTML templates to integrate into overall site design. The package includes Director 8 Shockwave Studio, Shockwave Multiuser Server 2, Fireworks 3, and platform-specific sound editors. Mac or Win. $999—single copy. $399—single platform upgrade for registered Director 7 users. $699—dual platform upgrade for registered Director 7 users. $499—single platform upgrade for registered Director 5, 6, and 6.5 users. Macromedia, 415/252-2000 or http://www.macromedia.com/.

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