The editors of Technology & Learning magazine have announced their best-in-class web and software products. Two web portals were named superior overall, and 28 more programs were winners in their respective categories. The two overall winners are:
• Classroom Today (http://www.classroomconnect.com). Designed for grades 4-8. One of the finest available resources for integrating the web into a wide variety of subjects, this program segments activities into school weeks. It includes lesson plans, games, and interactive activities. The authors of the program have catalogued more than 19,000 web sites that provide reliable information on hundreds of subjects pertinent to youngsters. Many lessons are easily adapted for take-home assignments, if students have access to computers. Also, the program can be customized to meet state educational standards.
• Riverdeep.net (http://www.riverdeep.net). Projects and courses for children in grades K-12. Focuses on math and science concepts, but offers many different ways of explaining the concepts to different types of learners. Material is age appropriate: Secondary-level students can tackle very sophisticated concepts, while elementary school students can have fun with animation and sound. Added a series of “real-life” projects built around partnerships that have been created with other educational and news organizations. Provides support to help craft lessons that match state standards.
The other winners, by category, are:
• Launch Pad (http://www.learningadvantage.com). An interactive game suitable for grades K-2.
• Perfect Copy (http://www.renlearn.com). Coordinates grammar, punctuation, word usage, and other educational activities for all grades. Requires significant in-class computing power for operation.
• That’s a Fact, Jack! Read (http://www.tomsnyder.com) is both a CD-ROM that contains 450 children’s books and also a game show that tests students’ understanding of those books (grades 3-10).
• Visualizing Poetry: Nature in Transition (http://www.SASinSchool.com). Provides grades 9-12 both poetry readings and visual breakdowns of poems’ construction.
• Accelerated Reader (http://www.renlearn.com). Tracks students’ reading progress with fun quizzes. Database also enables teachers to track each student’s progress easily.
• Ice Cream Truck (http://www.sunburst.com). An excellent introduction to simple mathematics and decision-making for elementary school children.
• Let’s Do Math: Tools and Things (http://www.mathresources.com). Moves from simple arithmetic through geometry with exceptional graphics. Excellent for introducing concepts to students of wide range of ages and abilities.
• Yoiks! (http://www.learningcompanyschool.com). A series of games for middle schoolers and high schoolers that teaches problem solving and logic.
• Month By Month for Hyperstudio (http://www.knowledgeadventure.com). Provides time-pressed teachers with projects built around seasonal, monthly, and subject-related themes.
• Curriculum Pathways (http://www.SASinSchool.com). Includes lesson plans that are geared to national and state high school standards.
• EDNow.com (http://www.ednow.com). Provides news, book reviews, and a calendar of online events, in addition to basic curriculum ideas (plus, it’s free).
• Bigchalk Retriever (http://www.bigchalk.com). One of the best available search tools for librarians or teachers.
• E-Library Plus (http://www.bigchalk.com). An online link to nearly 1,000 newspapers and magazines. Also includes links to books, photographs, and all types of electronic media.
• Searchopolis (http://www.n2h2.com). A free research portal that also includes daily news.
• Multimedia: The Human Body (http://www.sunburst.com). Gives middle and high school students a thorough understanding of the human body and its functions.
• Space Academy GX-1 (http://www.edmark.com). A highly interactive program for grades 7-12. A simulator shows the interlaced movements of planets in the solar system.
• Virtual Labs: Electricity (http://www.edmark.com). Teaches the basics of electricity by having students perform online experimentation and games that allow them to manipulate switches and resistors, as well as put together virtual circuitry. As with other Edmark products, this comes with high-quality lesson plan ideas.
• Virtual Labs: Light (http://www.edmark.com). Similar to EdMark’s electricity program in quality and style.
• American Memory Primary Resources (http://www.classroomconnect.com). Uses the full range of multimedia to bring to life key 20th century events, such as World War II and the Depression, for high school students. Traces sociopolitical developments in light of these events.
• Civil Rights Movement in the United States (http://www.abc-clio.com). Carries information on virtually everyone and everything related to the civil rights movement. Notable for being easily referenced by word or by visuals.
• Decisions, Decisions Online (http://www.tomsnyder.com). Unusual in several ways: First, its content is geared to younger studentsgrades 5-10and second, it builds discussions around current news. Students use the format to track news as it is disseminated on the internet and to discuss it with their peers.
• USA Explorer K-4 (http://www.dkonline.com). Created for the youngest students, as its name implies. Teaches basic U.S. history and geography through virtual visits to major natural and man-made landmarks.
• eMindMaps (http://www.mindjet.com/emm/emm.html). Can help teachers at all grade levels with planning lessons and conducting research. For high school students, the program can be a direct “how to learn” tool, too.
• Inspiration (http://www.inspiration.com). Continues to be among the most popular programs for facilitating visual learning and organized thinking.
• Type to Learn Jr. (http://www.sunburst.com). Shows the K-2 student that it’s never too early to learn to use the keyboard. Games encourage mastery of the keyboard.
• Typing Tutor 10 (http://www.knowledgeadventure.com). Can get elementary school students fully comfortable with typing and keyboarding through easy-to-follow instructions and exercises.
• UltraKey 4 (http://www.bytesoflearning.com). More test-oriented than the other programs, but revs up students with sophisticated, fast-paced, 3-D animation.
• IntelliTalk II (http://www.intellitools.com). Incorporates oral responses in a manner that helps disabled students use computers for many word-processing tasks.