[TitleWatch] [MultiMedia Schools]
January/February 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 P. O. Box 2444, Merrifield, VA 22116 or to kfelix@infotoday.com.

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

*Cross-Curriculum

The Brain Quest series brings the popular educational trivia game to CD-ROM in grade- and curriculum-specific road adventures for students in grades 1-6. Each title offers 1,000 questions in subjects such as language arts, math, geography, science, history, and social studies. Additional question packs and downloadable demos are available online. $20.00—Mac or Win 95/98. IBM, 800/320-8377, http://www.ibm.com/, or http://www.brainquest.com/.
 

With Lionel Trains Presents: Trans-Con!, students ages 7-12 can participate in the race to complete the Transcontinental Railroad. The program includes 10 historically based adventure missions with multiple variables that help youngsters learn about the obstacles faced in the quest to become the first rail company to reach Promontory, Utah. $30.00—Win 95/98 only. Knowledge Adventure, 800/542-4240 or http://www.knowledgeadventure.com/.
 

*Language Arts

The two CD-ROM set ClueFinders Reading Adventure Ages 9-12 combines 10 arcade and problem-solving activities with a new adventure designed to build reading skills. The program includes a system of customized features developed to personalize the learning experience for each student. $30.00—Mac or Win 95. The Learning Company, 800/973-5111 or http://www.learningco.com/.
 

The Reading Blaster series has been redesigned, with a new focus on student age ranges. The recent releases, Reading Blaster Ages 4-6 and Reading Blaster Ages 5-7, incorporate more subject-specific content and tailor the content to individual learning progress. $57.00—Mac or Win 95/98, teacher edition with teacher support materials. $135.00—five-user lab pack. $325.00—15-user site license. $700.00—network version. Knowledge Adventure, 800/545-7677 or http://www.knowledgeadventure.com/.
 
 

*Early Learning

The Oscar series helps children ages 4-8 understand the relationships in ecosystems, including forests, farms, and lakes. All of the titles are multilingual. Oscar the Balloonist Discovers the Farm won the 1998 Bologna New Media Prize. Also included in the series: Oscar the Balloonist and the Secrets of the Forest and Oscar the Balloonist Dives into the Lake. $20.00—Mac or Win. Tivola Electronic Publishing, 212/674-5842 or http://www.tivola.com/.
 

Children ages 4-7 can explore the outdoors, making discoveries about more than 60 wildlife animals, plants, rocks, and fossils with Fisher-Price Ranger Trail. Young learners also can participate in seven trailblazing activities at the program’s Camp Wonderoo. $20.00—Mac or Win 95/98. The Learning Company, 800/973-5111 or http://www.learningco.com/.
 

*Mathematics

The Math Blaster series also has been redesigned to focus on student age ranges, not grade levels. The recent releases include the intergalactic adventures Math Blaster Ages 5-7 and Math Blaster Ages 6-8. $57.00—Mac or Win 95/98, teacher edition with teacher support materials. $135.00—five-user lab pack. $325.00—15-user site license. $700.00—network version. Knowledge Adventure, 800/545-7677 or http://www.knowledgeadventure.com/.
 

The Math Mysteries series teaches students in grades 4-6 the key steps in solving the math challenges found in today’s new standardized tests. Students interact with characters to unravel a mystery, answering word problems every step of the way. The two titles in the series are Whole Numbers and Measurement. $80.00—Mac/Win hybrid CD, single computer. $250.00—five-computer pack. $500.00—10-computer pack. $800.00—20-CD site license. Tom Snyder Productions, 800/342-0236 or http://www.teachtsp.com/.
 

MindTwister Math provides a curriculum-based math review for grades 3-4 in a fast-paced, multi-player game-show format. The program’s thousands of math activities help students build math-fact fluency, practice mental computation, sharpen estimation skills, and solve word problems. $50.00—Mac or Win, school version with two program CDs, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, and reproducible activity sheets. $30.00—Mac or Win, consumer (single station) version. Lab packs, site licenses, and district licenses are available. Edmark, 800/691-2958 or http://www.edmark.com/.
 

*Reference

The Complete National Geographic: 110 Years of National Geographic Magazine brings 190,000 pages of the yellow-bordered magazine to the computer screen—every page published from 1888 through 1998. The 31-CD set has been updated with more than 2,000 new pages for 1998, exploring wonders from Antartica to quetzals. New features include a tutorial, improved navigation, updated abstracts, expanded help pages, and a new cover gallery that lets users preview the contents of every issue without swapping discs. $119.00—Mac or Win. The Learning Company, 800/973-5111 or http://www.learningco.com/.
 

The Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2000, a three-CD set, features more than 42,000 encyclopedia articles, 10,000 new historical archive articles, more than 40 million words (30 percent of which are new or updated), more than 19,000 Web links, a new timeline, and a new grade-level and subject-specific curriculum guide. Online updates are available monthly until December 2000 at no additional cost. $70.00—Win only. (A $30.00 mail-in rebate is available until August 31, 2000.) Microsoft, 800/426-9400 or http://www.microsoft.com/.
 

Students can find more than 1.7 million places—more than 500,000 of them new—with the Encarta Interactive World Atlas 2000. The two-CD set features more than 20 map styles, including political, tectonic, ecoregion, time zone, and population density. Also featured are new map treks that illustrate key geographical concepts and a new multimedia map that displays images, world music, flags, and national anthems directly on the map. The custom map feature allows students to add or remove place names, borders, and topographical details to create custom maps for reports and presentations. $55.00—Win only. (A $20.00 mail-in rebate is available until August 31, 2000.) Microsoft, 800/426-9400 or http://www.microsoft.com/.
 

The Encarta World English Dictionary, the first newly written English dictionary in 30 years, contains more than 400,000 authoritative references, word histories, and usage notes, including new English words and phrases. An Intuitive Pronunciation Guide respells words the way they sound; audio pronunciations are available. Word Keys provide usage advice, word origins, synonyms, and more. $40.00—Win only. (A $20.00 mail-in rebate is available until August 31, 2000.) Microsoft, 800/426-9400 or http://www.microsoft.com/.
 

National Geographic Maps 2 includes every fold-out map published by National Geographic through April 1999. Among the new maps in the eight-CD collection are the magazine’s millennium series: The Physical Earth, Population, Exploration, and Biodiversity. Additional new maps include Natural Hazards, the Caspian Sea, and a Traveler’s Map of Spain and Portugal. The collection is a companion to The Complete National Geographic Magazine: 110 Years of National Geographic (that program contains page maps only). $60.00—Win only. The Learning Company, 800/973-5111 or http://www.learningco.com/.
 

The Year 2000 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia School Edition features more than 37,000 articles, including 6,000 new and revised entries. More than 500 articles are updated monthly online. The package includes a 250,000-word dictionary, 1,200 maps, 14 hours of sound, 7,000 images, more than 150 videos, and a 125-page teacher’s guide. $80.00—Mac and Win, single user. $180.00—five-user lab pack. $330.00—10-user lab pack. $900.00—30-user lab pack. $900.00—Windows-only 50-user network version. Grolier Interactive, Inc., 800/371-3908 or http://www.grolier.com/.
 

*Science

Multimedia: The Human Body, designed for students in grades 7-12, provides a visual encyclopedia with more than 1,000 fascinating “pages” about the human body and the way it works. The program’s scientific images and computer graphics were originally developed for the award-winning The Universe Within television series. A teacher’s handbook is included. $100.00—Mac or Win, single CD or lab pack of 10 CDs. Other lab packs, site, and district licenses are available. Sunburst Communications, 800/321-7511 or http://www.sunburst.com/.
 

The Southern Weed Science Society’s (SWSS) Weeds of the United States & Canada, Version 2.0, includes more than 2,000 color photographs and 700 illustrations and maps. The program merges a series of interactive plant identification lessons with photographs and descriptions of 362 weed species covered in the printed SWSS Weed ID Guide. Narrated lessons and reference information appropriate for high school classwork cover the beginning principles of plant structure and identification, with extensive interactive quizzes and exercises. The course lessons and database are hyperlinked to an illustrated glossary of more than 350 botanical terms. $120.00—Win only, single copy. $108.00—two to 99 copies. $96.00—100 or more copies. SWSS, 217/352-4212. An online demonstration is available at http://www.thundersnow.com/weedcd/htm/.
 

*Social Studies/History

Encarta Africana 2000 adds new features to the existing program. The Library of Black America includes a literary collection of novels, slave narratives, poetry, and other works written by African-Americans between 1773 and 1918. The Civil Rights Chronology depicts the defining moments of the Civil Rights Movement between 1950 and 1968. The Music Timeline recounts the evolution of African-American music from ragtime to hip-hop. In addition, the program includes more than 3,600 articles, 2,000 photos, and 800 Web links. $70.00—Win only. Microsoft, 800/426-9400 or http://www.microsoft.com/.
 

The biographical dictionary World Social Leaders presents 600 in-depth profiles of social pioneers such as Clara Barton, Martin Luther King Jr., Maria Montessori, and Friedrich Nietsche. Covering the 19th century to the present, the CD provides information on individual nations, political philosophers, abolitionists, women’s rights activists, religious leaders, health reformers, economists, environmentalists, and other social leaders who have affected societies around the globe. Photographs, maps, and a timeline are included. $49.00—Win only, single copy. $129.00—five-CD lab pack. $249.00—site license. ABC-CLIO Interactive, 800/368-6868 or http://www.abc-clio.com/.
 
 

*Tools

CareerExplorer helps middle and high school students find the best jobs for themselves, based on what they like to do. Students answer an inventory based on 12 interest areas; the data leads to a list of the 20 best occupational matches. Occupational descriptions that can be printed out include information on the nature of the work, earnings, working conditions, employment outlook, training, related occupations, and sources of additional information. $295.00—Win 3.1/95/98 only, single user. JIST Publishing, 800/471-0364 or http://www.jist.com/.
 

Inspiration 6.0 upgrades the visual learning software program with expanded graphics, more visual learning support, and Internet connectivity. The new edition includes a library of more than 1,250 symbols, supports a broad range of graphic formats including animated symbols, and features twice as many curriculum-based templates to help educators start using visual learning techniques. Dozens of user-requested interface modifications have been added, including refined default settings, a fully indexed and searchable help system, a spellcheck option on toolbars, and simplified network installation. $69.00—hybrid Mac/Win, single copy. Volume pricing is available. Inspiration Software, Inc., 800/877-4292 or http://www.inspiration.com/.
 

Typing Tutor 10 helps students in grades 5 and up improve typing skills while navigating through a simulated Internet environment. The  program includes eight games that help students improve typing speed and accuracy, virtual e-mail that notifies students of their accomplishments and suggests their next step, and a link to the Typing Tutor 10 Web site. Students can work independently and set their own goals with four options: Lessons, Practice, Progress, and Games. $60.00—Mac or Win 95/98, teacher edition with teacher support materials and two copies of the software. $150.00—five-user lab pack. $325.00—15-user site license. $700.00—network version. Knowledge Adventure, 800/545-7677 or http://www.knowledgeadventure.com/.
 
 

*NOW ON DVD

The Complete National Geographic: 110 Years of National Geographic Magazine presents the 190,000 pages published from 1888 through 1998 in a four-DVD set, with the expected DVD embellishments, including exclusive video footage of a National Geographic photographer on assignment in Alaska. $159.00—Win 95/98.
The Learning Company, 800/973-5111 or http://www.learningco.com/.
 

The Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 2000 is now available as a single DVD. $70.00—Win 95/98/NT 4.0. (A $20.00 mail-in rebate is available until August 31, 2000.) Microsoft, 800/426-9400 or http://www.microsoft.com/.
 

The Encarta Reference Suite 2000 brings cross-product searches, additional videos and 360-degree views, and enhanced audio and video playback to a single DVD.  $99.00—Win 95/98/NT 4.0. (A $35.00 mail-in rebate is available until August 31, 2000.) Microsoft, 800/426-9400 or http://www.microsoft.com/.
 

The Year 2000 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia contains nearly 50 percent more video content than the CD-ROM edition, as well as enhanced video, audio, and playback technology. The single DVD does not include a teacher’s guide. $70.00—Win. Grolier Interactive, Inc., 800/371-3908 or http://www.grolier.com/.
 
 

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