The Theory of Plate Tectonics, Version 2.0
Tasa Graphics Inc. (505) 758-5535 (grades 7 through college)

     This geography subject is difficult to teach, even more difficult to graphically illustrate--and Tasa Graphics has done a superb job of both in this EDDIES '03 Award winning title.
     With a middle school--Intermediate-- version, and a more advanced high school rendition on the same CD, its easy Install (both Mac and Win) and Navigate features will appeal to teachers and students alike.  It can be used effectively as a teacher-directed classroom demonstration or for self-directed study by students.
     But what makes this title truly a winner are the outstanding graphics, photos, and interactive glossary, the many interesting and educational sidebars to supplement comprehension of the concepts, and the fast, seamless links throughout the program.
     Here on the West Coast (indeed, throughout the world), this is an important scientific theory--why Mount St. Helen's eruption, why the Oakland Earthquake occurred are compelling and disturbing questions addressed by this extremely well-done title in a thorough, level-headed, and fascinating way.

Kar2ouche: Romeo and Juliet
Immersive Education (+44) 1865 811000 United Kingdom (grades 7-9)

     This 2003 EDDIE Awards winner (Middle School Language Arts) is a marvelously creative take on the traditional teaching--in the United States--of 'Romeo and Juliet' in (usually) the 8th grade.  Where reading and discussing the play are the usual form of instruction, this title takes understanding of the play much further--into creation.
Immersive Education has created a program which allows the student to 'recreate' the play with his or her own interpretations, characters, scenes, even voices.  The basic building block is "Composer," which is a generic multimedia program designed to help students build a story-line with all the "bells and whistles".  The "Romeo and Juliet" disc provides the characters in period dress, as well as props, scenes, dialogue, content library, and much more. All are true to Shakespeare's play and are a terrific way to engage students in an important introduction to one of the English-speaking world's most important playwrights.

Inspiration (800) 877-4292 (grades K-5)

Kidspiration, Inspiration's teaching tool for elementary-age students, is a terrific example of the power of visual learning.  It helps kids see, organize, and develop their creative ideas while instilling confidence, building organizational skills, and clarifying concepts.
     Teachers can use Kidspiration in two basic ways: Diagram templates, which allow the teacher to customize a lesson, or pre-created student activities (forty-five total) which are self-directed.  The symbol library has more than 1,200 images which the student can use in the Picture View or the Writing View, while the Audio feature allows students to hear and record their work.  All the menus, buttons and text have audio so non-readers can share in the fun.
     Useful teacher tools are rarely as simple to use when so value-packed. This is why Kidspiration is this year's EDDIES winner (again) in the category
Teacher Tools--Elementary.

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ComputED Gazette
Phone: (760) 631-0853