How competent are your pupils at using computers? Dozens of primary schools in Berkshire are using a computer skills training system to help them answer that question. The Dolphin System is the brainchild of Rob Porteus, formerly head of ICT at Dolphin school in Wokingham, and now teaching maths and ICT in Edinburgh. The Dolphin System was originally developed so that pupils could use the school's computers during breaktime without supervision once they had learnt to fix minor problems. Since then, the system has developed into a peer tutoring project. A series of graded activities or modules form a ladder of success - the more skills you acquire, the higher you go. Once pupils have acquired skills, they can then teach them to their peers - and also their teachers if necessary. More than 30 schools in Wokingham now use the Dolphin System.
For more information, point your web browser at: www.dolphinsystem.net More and more computers have DVD-Rom drives these days, but DVD-Rom titles (which look like CD-Roms but store lots more data) are pretty thin on the ground. So it's good to see language software company EuroTalk Interactive launch Advanced English, a DVD-Rom title for intermediate and advanced language students. The disc features a full-length episode of Inspector Morse, programme script, as well as games and activities. EuroTalk also plans to launch French and Italian DVD-Rom titles, and may even develop language learning software for the forthcoming Sony PlayStation 2 games console. Advanced English pound;34.99. EuroTalk 0171 371 7711.
Louisa Gilboy was so fed up with the poor service she received when trying to buy educational multimedia titles for her thee children that she decided to set up her own Internet company to sell them direct. The result is learningstore.co.uk, which offers more than 1,000 educational software titles (almost 400 are for Apple Mac computers), as well as information, advice and guidance. And learningstore.co.uk has many titles from smaller educational software companies which often struggle to find shelf space in high-street stores. www.learningstore.co.uk RM has launched its Window Box Online (WBOL) site which offers free primary school content that can be downloaded. The activities cover many strands of the curriculum, and although they are designed for the software on RM Window Box products, they can be adapted for other computers. Also available is RM Work Box software, which helps teachers organise and manage their pupils' work. Want to know more? Head for www.wbol.co.uk When is a computer not a computer? The answer is: when it's a video recorder. PC World's Advent 8737 computer (pound;1,408) has a Pentium III chip, 128 mbytes of RAM, 17-inch monitor, DVD-Rom drive, CD rewritable drive and 20 gigabyte hard disk. Pretty standard stuff you might think, but it also has a TV-card, remote control, and is teletext-compatible.
I haven't finished yet: this PC also contains Pure DIVA (Digital Interactive Video and Audio) video recording software, which transforms it into a digital video recorder. Up to 10 hours of TV programmes can be stored on-disk, and users can even pause, replay or zoom live television broadcasts. During these trick-play modes, the rest of the programme is being recorded, so you don't miss a moment. What next, the PC which doubles as a dishwasher or coffee maker?