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Clock this

Although it doesn't look like much, the Design and Make Your Own Clock pack from ekitsonline.com contains everything you need to make a clock.

The most important part of this pack is the CD-Rom (PC requires Windows 95 or higher, Mac requires Mac OS 8.x or higher with Appleworks 6 and 300mb free HD space).

The disk provides a step-by-step manual, image catalogue and hundreds of templates. When opening the software from the desktop you are immediately placed in the design package.

The kit works on two levels and pupils can choose the more straightforward pick and mix approach and start designing with a click of a button. They are given a number of options for backgrounds, divisions and numbers. They simply click on their choices and the clock is ready to print.

Thousands of designs are possible and you have the option to insert images - any bmp, jpeg or wmf files - from your desktop. Imagine a wall full of clocks where the face of each clock is a member of your class.

There is also an automatic design feature, providing hundreds of designs for the less adventurous. Another useful element of the program is the ability to control the scale of the divisions and numbers by using a sliding scale.

Pupils wanting a more individual clock can take a different route. They can create their own backgrounds, numbering styles, clock dials, number divisions and even clock shapes. Once they have put their own personal touch to each aspect of the design, they can combine all the elements to see the final product on screen.

Once the design is finalised, it's time to print it. Different finishes can be created by printing onto glossy paper or laminating. When sticking the clock backing to the printed clock dial use a spray adhesive to prevent bubbling. Some pupils might require assistance with cutting out the clock dial as sharp craft knives are essential.

Instructions to assemble the hands, the mechanism and fittings, are available on the CD-Rom, which also has excellent diagrams and movie clips to help set the correct time.

This is an excellent concept relevant to developments in using ICT and CADCAM in design and technology, fulfilling many of the national curriculum requirements. As a process it has development, design, review and assessment. There is thought given to numeracy and literacy, as part of the design. The "finding out more" section is excellent as it allows pupils to work on an online multiple choice quiz (great fun) and use the web links to find out more information about time. I particularly enjoyed looking up different time zones.

There are printable worksheets; ranging from word searches and crosswords, to mathematics questions related to time. Real time savers for busy teachers. I am sure this package will become an integral part of your curriculum resources.

Design and Make Your Own Clock, edition 3Price: pound;10 individual kit single user (plus pamp;p), pound;30 unlimited user site licenceFrom ekits online.com, Unit A, Edgehill, Eaton Bank, Duffield, Belper, Derbyshire DE56 4BH Tel: 01332 843685 www.ekitsonline.com

Paul Talbot is head of art and technology at Woodfield School Kingsbury, London

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