The author reviews 10 seldom-heard-of, but effective, classroom software applications, divided into two categories: software tools and software for learning.
First, the software tools:
1. WebPainter 3 and LiveStage by Totally Hip Software (http://www.totallyhip.com). WebPainter lets you create, edit, and convert graphic files among many formats and publish both cell-based and vector animations on the web. LiveStage lets you create interactive web content with QuickTime authoring, though this is for the more advanced user. WebPainter is available for Windows or Macintosh; LiveStage for Mac only.
2. Action Files 1.1 by PowerOn Software (http://www.poweronsoftware.com). Action Files is a file organization tool that works as a background application, adding more functionality to the “open” and “save” dialogue boxes for an easier time locating files. Available for Mac only.
4. New Deal SchoolSuite and WebSuite by New Deal Inc. (http://www.newdealinc.com). This tool provides an integrated web browser, word processor, database, spreadsheet, and drawing program all in one package. Works well (and relatively fast) for older PCs. Available for DOS or Windows 3.1, 95, or 98.
Now, the software for learning:
1. Making Music and Making More Music by Forest Technologies (http://www.foresttech.com). Making Music teaches younger students about musical concepts such as melody and harmony by “painting” musical compositions with a mouse. Making More Music is intended for the more sophisticated user and lets you switch from graphical notations to traditional notations. Both are available for Windows or Mac.
2. MicroWorlds Pro and MicroWorlds 2.03 by LCSI (http://www.microworlds.com). These LOGO software applications lets students create simulations, hypertext documents, mathematical documents, or a host of other multi-platform projects that can be published on the web. MicroWorlds Pro is available for Windows 95/98; MicroWorlds 2.03 for Windows 95/98 or Mac.
3. Tabletop and Tabletop Junior by Broderbund (http://www.broderbund.com). Tabletop is a useful tool for collecting and analyzing data. Allows students to work in one of two modes: tabular or “tabletop,” the latter of which is a graphical field for representing data visually in one of many styles. Available for Windows or Mac.
4. Robolab by LEGO Pitsco Dacta (http://www.lego. com/dacta/robolab). This tool works in tandem with the LEGO Programmable brick, a form of the toy that has a computer chip inside it. The software allows students to physically manipulate their LEGO creations. Available for Windows or Mac.
5. My Make Believe Treasure Isle and My Make Believe Castle by LCSI (http://www.lcsi.com). These programs allows students to create an environment in which characters interact with each other, with students developing dialogue and other cues to manipulate the characters. Treasure Isle is available for Windows 95/98; Castle for Windows or Mac.
6. Logical Journey of the Zoombinis Deluxe by Broderbund (http://www.broderbund.com). This CD-ROM game gets students to use higher-level mathematics problem-solving to overcome challenges. Available for Windows or Mac.