Software: New Releases

T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), November 1999 | Go to article overview

Software: New Releases


Grolier and Nature Present Science CD-ROM

NATURE -- Virtual Serengeti is a program that uses the context of a photo safari to allow students to gain an understanding of biodiversity and its importance for the survival of all species. Students from grades four and up are introduced to the wild Serengeti Plain. Here, they can discover facts about East African climate, vegetation and animal life. Developed by WNET, producers of the award-winning Nature TV series, NATURE -- Virtual Serengeti is available for PC and Macintosh.

The CD-ROM adventure, led by Nature's George Page, lets students explore East African locales, discover animals in their natural habitats and even create a video documentary based on their findings. Loaded with animal videos, facts and an interactive journal, Virtual Serengeti includes a Web site with selected Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia articles. Students can experience more than 60 Serengeti animals. By assuming the role of research assistant to George Page, students work to meet a deadline to complete a documentary on the Serengeti.

Included is a comprehensive Teacher's Guide that offers individual and group activities, including research and discussion topics, directions for conducting surveys and role-playing situations. The program also lists related Web sites. The Serengeti Journal features six educational chapters related to how animals adapt to life in East Africa. Upon completion, students can view the Nature documentary they created on a storyboard. Students and teachers will find this program easy to use, complete with a tutorial session and a welcome video. Grolier Interactive, Danbury, CT, (800) 371-3908, www.grolier.com.

Online Reader Service #411

Discourse GroupWare Classroom Improves Teacher/Student Interaction

Focusing on the relationship between teacher and student as an important factor in improving student performance, Discourse Technologies, Inc. is releasing its new Discourse GroupWare Classroom. The program can be used with any subject from elementary to post-secondary school. Rather than isolating selected students from the rest of their classmates, Discourse GroupWare Classroom enhances the interaction between students and their teacher. With this system, each and every student is connected to the teacher through a classroom computer network. Teachers can use the program to review answers from all students during a lesson, monitor student and group progress, and perform a variety of testing and administrative functions.

The Discourse program is available in two versions: the Browser version, for classrooms in which students are using networked laptop or desktop computers; and the Wireless Studycom version, which uses portable computer terminals that are connected through a built-in wireless infrared network. Both versions help integrate the Internet and multimedia content into the teaching process. Discourse Technologies, Inc., Milwaukee, WI, (800) 421-0941, www.discourse.com.

Online Reader Service #412

Speech Recognition Made Easy with Talk to Me

AURALOG's new range of Talk to Me language learning software is based on speech recognition technology. The first language course on CD-ROM to use the Spoken Error Tracking System (SETS), Talk to Me enables incorrectly pronounced words to be automatically detected within a complete sentence. The program incorporates a speech recognition engine that enables students to talk freely to a PC. It then accurately assesses pronunciation quality. Additionally, students can see words and phrases pronounced from a dual-mode display. A voice graph traces voice amplitude and a curve shows the fundamental frequency, thus allowing intonation to be improved. Talk to Me handles phonetics by using synthetic images to provide animation of each language's own unique phonemes.

Talk to Me is available in Beginner-Intermediate and Advanced. The program comes in five languages: English, German, Spanish, Italian and French. …

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