Website: World Book Online
(World Book, Inc)
The World Wide Web is a work in progress. At its current stage of development, it still faces challenges and limitations.
In an attempt to transform their once-static website into one that is enriched with multimedia, more and more companies have added "streaming media" (e.g., RealPlayer, Macromedia Flash Player, etc.) It is important, however, that these multimedia enhancements do not delay delivery of content - a flaw that can easily cause children, as well as adults, to quickly lose interest and 'surf' to another website.
A winner of the 2001 EDDIE Awards, World Book Online is an easy-to-use online encyclopedia with a familiar interface; yet it also delivers the goods when asked to provide video and audio clips, of which there are many. Animations & videos load quickly, and quality is not compromised.
The user can use links from the home page to find information on current events, history or timelines. Navigation buttons include: Browse - search by main categories (articles, atlas maps, tables, sounds, 3-D bubble views, pictures, animation & videos, back-in-time articles, special reports).
Atlas - search by geographic location. The Dictionary offers the capability of double-clicking on any word to get a definition; however, it does not give audio pronunciation of words (to come?). There are also advanced search features, and a link to the International Edition.
Learning Styles Inventory
(Siboney/Educational Activities Software)
This rather old ('95), rather plain and simple software title has won this year's 2001 EDDIE Awards Teacher Productivity award, mostly because it is plain - but also, it provides a classroom teacher with the ability to assess learning styles very quickly and easily. What might take six months to verify visually can be finished by the end of the first week of school, allowing a teacher to design effective lesson plans for each student according to individual needs. Very simple, very straight-forward, very useful - that's what most teachers want.
Typing Instructor Deluxe, 11th Ed.
Grades 5-12 (Individual Software)
Although students may have a choice of many typing programs, they almost always gravitate to, and continue using, Typing Instructor Deluxe. It holds their interest in a way that nothing else does. A case in point: One 8th grade girl increased her typing speed from 20 WPM to almost 60 WPM in less than a semester. Traditional typing classes would be hard-pressed to even come close, but for a self-directed, self-paced program, this is quite remarkable.
The new 11th Edition of Typing Instructor features audio instruction, sound effects, one new typing game, and an overall redo of the main "terminal."