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Getting to grips with graphs

PICTOGRAM 2. For PC and Mac. Kudlian Soft Price: pound;25.50 (single-user). Tel: 07000 583542 www.kudlian.net

The adage goes: "If it ain't broke don't fix it". Yet even the most successful piece of software can be improved. Kudlian has been collecting new ideas from Pictogram users and now some of these can be seen in Pictogram 2.

The original provided data-handling for key stage 1. It did it well, so why spend money on a new version? Some of the enhancements are small, but really improve the look and feel of the software. For instance, the main window now fills the screen regardless of the screen size, and the graph is resized. This enables you to notice the graphics, which are new and detailed - and there are more of them.

Now when you load a "picture set" you actually see what you're getting rather than just relying on the name of the collection. So if you choose "direction" you see a set of four compasses pointing to north, south, east and west and these are what are placed in your pictogram ready for you to work with. You can also add to the picture library to create picture sets from scanned children's drawings, digital camera shots etc.

When it comes to using the program it does what it says - makes pictograms.

Choose your data-set - anything from books to feelings. The data-set images will arrange themselves into a table with the new addition of a friendly parrot to tell you what to do next. You can now register your vote - for feeling devious, sad or surprised - in picture format, or you can add the numbers in a frequency table, letting the program add the images. If you prefer, you can switch to having a simple block chart, bar chart or pie chart.

Probably the biggest change comes with handling large samples. You can have up to 200 votes for each item but as you add data you will notice that not only is each item represented with its own picture but one image can be used to represent two, 10 or 20, with half an image representing one, five or 10 respectively. Save or print your work or just pop it on to a clipboard for use elsewhere. Anyone can use Pictogram 2 for effective data-handling across the curriculum.

Pam Turnbull is ICT co-ordinator at The Heys Primary School, Tameside

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