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|by Kathie Felix, News/Reviews Editor|
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
(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,
Wars Math, Jabba's Game Galaxy, Star Wars DroidWorks,
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
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.
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
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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