CD-ROM and HyperCard Form a Dynamic Duo and Discs Are Ready for Education Market

Article excerpt

CD-ROM & HyperCard Form a Dynamic Duo And Discs Are Ready for Education Market

Educators are being romanced by Apple Computer, Inc.

First, The company introduced HyperCard, a visual, multimedia authoring system. Next, it rolled out the AppleCD SC CD-ROM drive. Optical discs for the new drive can hold up to 748MB of information--a necessity for kilobyte-intensive files of sounds, graphics and animation.

The debut of Apple's drive is important because optical drives previously available have been for IBM PCs and compatibles. The new drive works with both the Mac and the Apple IIGS. HyperCard, however, is purely a Mac product.

The marriage of HyperCard and CD-ROM is a natural union. HyperCard provides the development and retrieval capabilities; optical discs provide the massive storage capacities required for multimedia courseware.

A View From Within

The best way to get a feel for what is possible with CD-ROM and HyperCard is to experience it personally. The following account of what HyperCard-based instructional material is like is intended to provide that perspective.

The material came from The Apple Learning Disc, a promotional CD-ROM from 1987 that contained a sampling of assorted works. The disc was made in limited numbers just for demonstration purposes and cannot be purchased.

Hands-On History Lessons

Focusing on U.S. history between the years of 1800 and 1850, The Americana Series is a multimedia collection of the facts and flavors of this period in history.

There are eight components: Articles, Timelines, Historical Documents, Pictures, Maps, Sounds, Tours and Guides. Each area is linked to all of the others in typical HyperCard fashion.

In Timelines, for example, major historical events are listed for each year. If a bullet appears next to an event, students may click on it to go to a related article in the Articles or Historical Documents area.

A return arrow puts them back in Timelines at the point at which they left. Or, using the icons appearing in a bar at the bottom of the screen, students can jump to a corollary map, sound, picture, etc.

The Guides component fully exploits HyperCard's branching capabilities. Each guide focuses on a specific topic, leadig a pupil through all of the related material no matter where it is located.

Activating the Indian guide, for instance, will bring up a list of germane articles, pictures, maps and sounds. Under Articles, 72 items pertain to Indians; under Sounds, the Winnebago Love Song as performed by an Indian flute is played by the Mac.

Jumping from place to place is a HyperCard specialty. It could be termed as "education by enticement"--students are lured into learning by being allowed to free-style their way through material.

Look, Listen & Learn

In the Tours section, the first screen of the California Gold Rush tour offers the choice of reading a related article (also accessible under Articles) or playing the tour.

Clicking on the "Play Tour" button starts the student off on a narrated exploration of this feverish time of expansion. Original 19th-century drawings of miners, bar-room brawlers and other characters of the period are intermixed with animated maps that show the population spread and the clustering of settlements around gold discovery sites.

The tour's narration, which incorporates background "mood" music, is played over the internal speaker of the Mac. Slide-show special effects, such as screen fade-ins, Dissolves and wipes, are extensively utilized.

Room for Additions

The Americana Series sampler on Apple's promotional disc was unfinished. The material had gaps--areas that a student could go to but which said "To Be Completed."

This further udnerscores the open-ended nature of HyperCard-based courseware. An area can be created and links made to it without requiring all of the planned content be installed. …

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