Lecky's Interactive Early Learning Activities
V2V Training Ltd
Foundation, Reception, KS1
When I mentioned the word "alien" to my class of mixed Reception/Year 1 children, I knew that Lecky would be a hit and I was not wrong. Lecky's Early Learning Activities program is designed to address five key learning areas taken from the Early Learning Goals and Lecky the lovable alien is the guide through the system. The program offers extensive opportunities that allow the children to practise the manipulation of the mouse, through an easy drag/drop technique, in order to complete a range of appropriately targeted challenges. The animation is fun and colourful with clear instructions. Lecky's Early Learning Activities is very easy to use.
Foundation, Reception, KS1
Pond has four highly visual and interactive counting activities, aimed at early years and Foundation stage children. It allows children to practise counting numbers to 10, but Pond does much more than this. The activities also reinforce different skills, such as one-to-one correspondence and how many more/fewer than. Instant feedback is provided for the pupil to try again if incorrect. In each of the activities, pupils complete a pre-determined number of rounds (easily adjusted using the teacher settings) and are then rewarded by a short animation of the characters from the activity. All activities have an immediately attractive, child-friendly format and are perfectly suited to being used with a whole class on an interactive whiteboard. Pond quickly became one of the pupils' favourites and, with the available adjustments and the use of the language feature, working with individuals and as a whole class was simple and fun.
Letterland International Ltd
Foundation, Reception, KS1
Living ABC is designed to teach young children letter shapes and sounds through colourful and imaginative characters. Children learn how to form both upper and lower case letters by using the correct handwriting strokes. The program opens on an island featuring characters representing the 26 letters of the alphabet. Each character can then be selected and a story is told outlining words beginning with that letter. There are other activities that teach pupils about letter shapes and sounds, including matching the letter character with the correct letter, e.g. "*" with " noisy Nick" and "a" with the "Alphabet Song", sung by each Letterland character. This title is a useful introduction to the letters of the alphabet and how these can be used to construct and form words. The animations and characterisation of letters are imaginative and colourful which pupils will enjoy.
CoolScience! Elementary Science
The Amdon Group
Cool Science – Primary Science is aimed at primary school children, particularly those in KS2. It is a CD-Rom offering a well-organised array of interactive information screens and activities accessed from an uncluttered and well designed front page. The front page is organised into topics which correlate to a large extent with the National Curriculum. Some topics contain introductory learning objective pages whilst others launch directly into the presentations of the information, activities and questions. The graphics are well laid-out, bright and engaging. There is a choice of presentation styles and the buttons and icons can be organised by the user to maximise its usability, according to the needs of the children. The CD contains a file where one can access a printable booklet which is very comprehensive and straightforward.
KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4
The Plan-ed UK website has been developed by the organisation Plan UK to raise awareness of the issues faced in less economically-developed areas of the world. The free website caters for all key stages from KS1 to KS4 and is divided into clear sections. The most useful area for schools is the " Teachers" section, which contains comprehensive lesson plans to download in PDF format. The lessons are also backed up with resources including media clips. Of interest to the pupils is a "Stop the disasters" game and there is also a virtual village to visit. Both of these items help raise awareness in a child-friendly way, informing the pupils of the issues faced in an interesting and engaging manner. Plan UK is a child-centred community development organisation with no religious or political affiliations.
Netintelligence Parental Control
KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, 16+
Netintelligence Parental Control is a system to customise and filter web access for home computers. It also allows monitoring of time spent on computers along with the activities that are completed online. The system can record all instant messaging conversations, filter web access by site or time, record all websites visited and monitor applications used (both on- and off-line). It also includes anti-virus and firewall protection and the software can be installed on up to three separate machines. The product involves the installation of an application on each of the home computers. When the machine has been restarted, the system will be monitored. Access to the control panel is accessible through the internet.
KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, 16+
Podium from Softease is a software package that aims to harness the appeal of portable listening devices. With an easy-to-use interface, children will be motivated by the short length of time it takes to produce and publish a full podcast. Podcasting is a step up from recording audio files and Podium allows the rapid creation of episodes in a story, which can be subscribed to, downloaded or simply heard. The software instantly creates the RSS feed with little fuss. The main attraction of this package is its completeness: children, or indeed teachers, can create and publish podcasts in a very short space of time. The overall class impression was that the software was fun and very useful.
KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, 16+
Cre8txt is a novel peripheral which allows children to effectively use texting methods within the classroom environment. Children can quickly and efficiently create text documents using predictive texting on a compact, intuitive USB connected keyboard. Children can text in the standard way using the commonly-used abbreviations as the keyboard is supported by a downloadable "Slang" translator which replaces the shorthand with the appropriate term. Both slang and predictive dictionaries are very comprehensive and have been developed with the educational market in mind. The word banks can be amended allowing the easy addition or removal of any words or abbreviations by the classroom teacher. The Cre8txt menu is shown whenever the keyboard is in use, clearly setting out the list of predict words based on the key presses selected. A detailed user guide is included in the support download and is a must to ensure the effective use of the product.
Easilearn: The Island
Easilearn: The Island uses a combination of software and resources for an ICT-led investigation into settlement, coastline and rivers and map-skills as required in Key Stage 2 geography. The software is an engaging and immersive series of adventures set on a 3D island. It is very thorough and a great learning vehicle, and is supported by a large amount of teacher material including lesson notes, curriculum coverage, pupil worksheets and wall charts. The progression through the geography units is clearly mapped out, and teachers will see that they're covering much ground in terms of the geography requirements. The software can be used in a number of different ways – either with the whole class using a projector or interactive whiteboard, or it can be used by groups or individuals. Either way, it is a really great tool for generating discussion and arguing and rationalising choices.
Maths Investigator 3
Oxford University Press
This new, innovative resource from Oxford takes the guise of a "Special Top-Secret Spy Agency", in which the pupils are "Special Maths Investigators" with cases to solve. Maths Investigator 3 offers a comprehensive set of resources that provide teachers with all they need to motivate the most reluctant pupil. It is a mathematics teaching program that consists of 15 units known as cases with a storyline or problem that needs to be solved using a range of maths skills. The cases are presented to the children through cartoon-style video clips on the interactive CD-Rom, which brings the cases to life. Each case has 10 days of work that covers elements of the Primary Framework for mathematics, which is laid out in the relevant teachers guide and in editable form in the program.
This was me!
Blue Orchid Media Limited
This was me! is an impressive teaching resource from Blue Orchid Media. Conceived to help teachers working with teenagers as they face changes in their lives, the focus is on a youngster who is changing schools but suddenly finds he is leaving his friends behind. Using a 24-minute video to capture the attention, stills and video clips are indexed to prompt reactions. The DVD comes with CD-Rom resources and a guide with additional ideas. It can assist PSHE National Curriculum teaching, or even individuals, for one or more sessions, giving teenagers the opportunity to observe human behaviour in different situations.
Cambridge Latin Course Book 1: E-Learning Resource
Cambridge University Press
The Cambridge Latin Course Book 1 E-learning resource is a DVD containing Latin activities; video clips, audio sequences and interactive exercises, suitable for both PC and Apple computers. It can be used by independent learners, school students and teachers alike. It is primarily aimed at being a support to Book 1 of the Cambridge Latin Course, but can also be used as a study material in its own right. The software delivers exactly what the publisher says it will; a number of different video introductions and dramatisations which add variety to the learning process. The product can be used by either individuals or it can be used as a class if the teacher is able to access a data projector/interactive whiteboard. This title has the potential to freshen up a class through its activities and exercises.
Sibelius Software Ltd
KS2, KS3, KS4
O-Generator claims that it offers "the simplest way for students to understand the fundamentals of music and composition". The basis of this bold claim is the clever circular interface that allows pupils to place samples on the beats (down to 16ths) of bars of music, altering pitch and position to build pieces of music from separate bars. Add to the mix a detailed teacher's handbook, CD of instructional videos, the virtual music teacher and it seems that there may be some justification to the claim. The resource is aimed at pupils in Years 5-9, and is designed to support the National Curriculum music requirements especially where they relate to composition. The program is designed to be used either by individual pupils working at workstations using headphones or as a whole class resource with the teacher driving the lesson via a projector and the supplied resources.
London Gifted & Talented
KS2, KS3, KS4, 16+
e-TASC is essentially an online teaching and learning resource designed specifically for gifted and talented students. This flexible tool helps teachers to build a framework into lesson plans and helps students to develop thinking and problem-solving skills by recording and organising their thoughts. TASC refers to "thinking actively in a social context" and, as such, the content encourages users to think through a problem to the best outcome, and understand why it is the best outcome. An example of how to use the tool, based on the abolition of slavery, is a useful guide for teachers as well as helping to prompt group discussion. e-TASC is suitable for use as secondary source material and is not specific to one subject area. Users can store their ideas in multimedia templates using text, audio or video and can then print their projects.
Level Tracker for ICT
Level Tracker for ICT is an excellent tool for enabling the accurate assessment of pupils as they progress through Key Stage 3. It offers the ability for teachers to identify strengths and weaknesses of the pupils' understanding and skills using common ICT applications on entry to Year 7. Following this early diagnosis, the teacher can target individuals who will require further support in different areas. The curriculum can be personalised to meet the pupils' progress measured using summative assessments throughout Years 7, 8 and 9. An exciting feature of the software is the varied manner of asking questions. There are multiple choice, sequencing and actual skills activities. The software records the user's actions to judge whether they are correct.
The welcome page in the introduction to Pagemaster Citizenship quotes that, "the citizenship curriculum is in a state of crisis". The package proceeds to point out that "there is no organised system which states what has to be done". Pagemaster Citizenship is a useful tool for both students and teachers, aimed at Years 7, 8, and 9, which strives to address this issue. Pagemaster is divided into ten chapters, consisting of stimulating PowerPoint presentations. The content is well-organised and therefore the time taken for teachers and students to become familiar with it will not impact on the time needed to address learning objectives.
TI-84 Plus Silver Edition
KS3, KS4, 16+
The TI-84 Plus Silver Edition is the zenith of graphics calculators. Not only does it have all the normal functions of a basic graphics calculator but in addition has a number of built-in applications usually only found on a PC, such as Cabri Junior, Probability Simulation and a periodic table application. Another big bonus is the inclusion of a USB port, which allows communication between two TI-84 calculators or a TI-84 and a computer, thus allowing work that any individual student has produced to be shown to the whole class. It is aimed at the A-level and college student and opens up a whole range of possibilities.
Germany 1918-1945 Dynamic Learning Network Edition provides numerous resources, ideas and assessment opportunities for modern world history at GCSE level. Historian and ICT expert Ben Walsh uses his vast experience to create a resource that allows teachers to create lessons that permit students to investigate this fascinating period of German history in great depth. It uses the Dynamic Learning Platform to allow teachers to use pre-existing lessons or customise their own from the numerous resources in digital format from the CD or text book. I believe that this will be a very valuable title in the growing armoury of teaching material on this well-studied period of history, and the imaginative use of the Dynamic Learning Platform will facilitate the use of other programs.
Drosophila Genetics Lab
Newbyte Educational Software
Drosophila Genetics Lab is a program that allows the simulation of a range of genetics experiments using the familiar fruit fly, drosophila melanogaster. Although intended for use at AS/A2 level, it would also be of interest to top GCSE classes too. The package consists of a CD-Rom, which the IT dept had no difficulty in networking using the instructions provided. An 84-page PDF file is also included, which contains a chromosome map for drosophila, instructions for use and 15 suggested experiments, each of which has full-colour four-page worksheets for students to complete. The package can be used by individual students or by whole classes, either together or working on separate experiments. I found it to be an excellent resource in every way – one of the best I have come across.
Computers 4 Kids
Reception, KS1, KS2
Computers 4 Kids is an extensive resource that integrates ICT across the curriculum, providing excellent coverage of the QCA units. The subjects covered are: English, maths, science, art, geography, design technology and citizenship. It comprises over 300 lessons, each of which includes a detailed lesson plan together with a technical glossary and age-appropriate internet-based content. The layout is very clear and easy-to-use. The activities are also superb: very colourful and exciting. Teachers can search via various criteria including learning area / software package / year group etc. The Computers 4 Kids software is installed on a server and then used with both paper- and web-based resources. Further details at www.computers4kids.uk.com
Literacy Activity Builder
BlackCat Educational Software
Foundation, Reception, KS1
Literacy Activity Builder is a marvellous addition to currently available software, which assists in delivering exciting, fun and memorable literacy activities. It is suitable for the full primary school age range. Designed to enable teachers to create interactive activities quickly, this software promotes the effective use of ICT in the literacy hour, to maximise teaching and learning with word and sentence Level activities. The software provides nine different templates, which teachers can choose from to build their own activities based on whatever they wish. With a little imagination, the possibilities are endless.
Memory-Map OS Landranger® Premium Edition
KS3, KS4, 16+
Memory-Map OS Landranger is a highly interactive, sophisticated program that makes map work exciting. The DVD features Ordnance Survey maps and digital aerial photographs so this software will redefine how map skills are taught at schools across the country. The resource can be used on PCs, Pocket PCs, Smartphone and routes can be planned with GPS offering benefits to students, teachers and anyone who plans routes. The product contains a seamless map of the whole of the British Isles at 1:50,000 plus a Great Britain road map at 1:25,000.
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