Bigger bundle of joy in a box

Chris Drage

Multimedia Window Box 5, Windows Multimedia PC (PC486 D-series equipped with CD-Rom drive, SoundBlaster card, microphone and stereo speakers) ready loaded with a range of Windows software suitable for the primary classroom. Pounds 1,699.

Research Machines, RM Schools Division, New Mill House, 183 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4SE. Tel: 01235 826000.

Research Machines has continued to expand its classroom-tailored Window Box systems and has arrived at the Multimedia Window Box 5 for primary. The package includes a suite of useful software installed on the hard disc and two additional suites of CD-Roms for key stages 1 and 2 respectively.

The software comprises: Talking First Word For Windows (word processor), Excel Starting Grid (spreadsheet), Information Workshop (database manager), Publisher (desktop publisher), Illuminatus (multimedia author), First Logo, RM Logo, PowerPoint (presentation), Colour Magic (graphics), Clip Art Library and the standard programs that come with Windows (Write, Paintbrush, Cardfile, Calendar plus a few additions such as chess).

First Logo, Illuminatus, and Colour Magic are new additions to the bundled software which appear in the User Group. First Logo will be familiar to Acorn users; this is Longman-Logotron's Windows version of its popular introduction to turtle geometry. Colour Magic is a 256-colour graphics program developed by RM; Illuminatus is a comprehensive multimedia authoring program which can be used to create presentations.

RM has grouped the user's programs in three directories: Text, Art and Design, Data Handling and Logo with an additional window containing a file called "End of Session". This arrangement, which uses a doorway icon, is far easier for younger children to use and makes quitting the system more straightforward.

Teachers have access to Microsoft Publisher while the system manager is provided with Microsoft Works. The manager also has access to several new utilities such as a Windows tutorial and touch-window drivers. The whole system has been finely honed to ensure ease of access at all levels.

The multimedia version offers several additional CDs. For key stage 1 there are Rabbits At Home (mathslanguage), Harry and The Haunted House, The Tortoise and the Hare and Arthur's Birthday (talking books) and Multimedia Flashcards (English). Key stage 2 children are offered World Atlas, 1994 Guiness Book of Records, Hutchinson's Multimedia Encyclopedia, Microsoft's Ancient Lands (history) and RM's own Sound Vision resource CD overall a very comprehensive collection.

Over the years RM has tried to provide schools with machines sold with suitable software that is compatible with the way schools work. This philosophy is embodied in the Window Box 5 system which offers children unprecedented access to quality Windows software.

When you purchase an RM PC you are getting a complete educational package with lots of support: now there is an even better level of hardware and software. It is difficult to see how schools can overlook such a well thought-out and comprehensive package.

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