[TitleWatch] [MultiMedia Schools]
October 2001
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.)


Lucas Learning Ltd., a George Lucas company, has shifted its focus from consumer products to direct-to-school curriculum products. As might be expected, the first titles available directly to schools are based on the "Star Wars" series: Star Wars Pit Droids, Star Wars Math, Jabba's Game Galaxy, Star Wars DroidWorks, Star Wars Yoda's Challenge Activity Center, Star Wars Early Learning Activity Center, and Star Wars Episode 1: The Gungan Frontier. Each title uses the familiar characters, worlds, and galaxies to teach a variety of topics and skills, including math, science, ecology, critical thinking, and logic. All are available on hybrid Mac/Win 95/98 CD-ROM. Single copy prices range from $20-30. Lucas Learning, 415/444-8800 or http://www.lucaslearning.com/.

*Language Arts

With The Letterbugs Get Ready to Read, students in grades K-2 play with bugs as they develop phonemic awareness and pre-reading skills. An entomologist guides youngsters through the learning activities, allowing them to select specific phonemic skills for exploration. Activities allow learners to identify the target sound in visual contexts, spell words using the identified phoneme, and read words based on the skill they are exploring. On-screen learning is supported by textual, visual, and auditory prompts. A teacher's guide presents reinforcement materials and classroom integration ideas. Mac/Win hybrid CD-ROM. $90—single copy and 10-computer price. $700—unlimited/network license. Sunburst Technology, 800/321-7511 or http://www.sunburst.com/.


Splish Splash Math for grades 1-3 provides a humorous waterworks setting designed to reinforce student learning in basic addition and subtraction. In sets of different learning sequences, youngsters select the operations rules and numbers that make math sentences true. Correct answers set the waterworks into motion. The program's three levels of difficulty include reward certificates at each level. Teacher management options include specific skills areas, levels of difficulty, student progress monitoring, and printed reports. Mac/Win hybrid CD-ROM. $90—single copy and 10-computer price. $700—unlimited/network license. Sunburst Technology, 800/321-7511 or http://www.sunburst.com/.


The updates to Encarta 2002 include fine-tuned Encarta Researcher tools that help students collect and organize text and grab pictures from Encarta and the Web to create reports and projects in less time. Among the program's new developments: Encarta FactFinder, a pop-up feature integrated with the Internet that gives students instant access to definitions, translations, business profiles, stock quotes, and other information; a "copy to hard drive" feature that results in less disk swapping; 3-D virtual tours for interactive journeys through re-created historic cities, landmarks, and cultural points of interest; live streaming media that allows students to listen to news, weather, and radio broadcasts from around the world; and Update Encarta, providing e-mail notification when updated articles are available. $75, single copy price. Academic pricing and volume discounts are available. Microsoft, http://www.microsoft.com/education/.


The Magic School Bus Volcano Adventure Activity Center allows learners ages 6 to 10 to examine dormant and active volcanoes with science experiments, videos, photos, facts and figures, games, trivia, and creative activities. The disc examines volcanoes across the globe, including Mayon Volcano near Legazpi, Philippines; Mount Rainier, 70 plus miles outside of Seattle, Washington; Surtsey Island near Iceland; and the Ring of Fire fault line that encompasses Mount Kilamanjaro, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Fuji. Hybrid CD-ROM, Mac OS 8.1/Windows 98 or later. $20—single copy price. Microsoft/Scholastic, http://www.microsoft.com/kids/ or http://www.scholastic.com/magicschoolbus/.

Masters of the Elements, for ages 8 and up, examines gravity, electricity, time, heat, light, and chance in a three-dimensional CD-ROM adventure. Students work to find the lost pages in a secret book by searching the rooms of a castle and taking part in diverse experiments. The material covers laws of nature, physics principles, and strategic thinking skills. Mac/Win hybrid CD-ROM. $20—single copy price. Tivola Publishing, 212/431-4420 or http://www.tivola.com/.


Knowledge Forum 3.4 provides a database with note-taking, searching, and organizational features designed for use in the creation of knowledge-building communities. User groups can create a history of their discussions by authoring, referencing, and storing ideas; creating visual connections of ideas; linking to other work; and publishing work within the community. Work can be accessed in the classroom or from home. Requires a browser and Windows or Macintosh client applications. Schools can host their own server or allow Learning in Motion to host their databases. Pricing begins at $1,200. Educational pricing is available. Learning in Motion, 800/560-5670 or http://www.KnowledgeForum.com/.

Type to Learn Assessment, for grades 3 to adult, evaluates student keyboarding progress with a full array of testing, assessment, and reporting features. The program includes 22 tests with content appropriate for testing a wide range of grade levels. A choice of two vocabulary levels is included. Teacher options allow setting performance targets for words-per-minute and/or accuracy, timed or untimed testing, permitting error corrections during testing, as well as the ability to print fully scored tests and to export report files. The program can be used as an assessment tool on its own, or in conjunction with Sunburst's Type to Learn software program. Mac/Win hybrid CD-ROM. $120—single copy and 10-computer price. $700—unlimited/network license. Sunburst Technology, 800/321-7511 or http://www.sunburst.com/.

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