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Tablets of the law

Donald Shaw introduces a CD offering young people a practical guide to drugs and the consequences of experimenting with them. Real Deal CD-Rom for Apple Macintosh and Multimedia PCs, Pounds 40 (Pounds 51.50 including VAT plus pp). Apple users require Performa 475 or faster, with 8 megabytes of memory, dual-speed CD-Rom drive andSystem 7.0 or more recent.

PC users require 486SX or faster, 8 megabytes of memory, dual-speedCD-Rom drive, Windows 3.1 or greater.

Scottish Council for Educational Technology (SCET), 74 Victoria Crescent Road, Glasgow G12 9JNTel: 0141-337 5000Fax: 0141-337 5050 Real Deal is about drugs: where drugs might be offered, what drugs might be offered, the effects each drug can have on the body, the impurities that dealers add to make greater profits, such as brick dust, what shape or form the drugs come in when offered to would-be buyers, and the consequences for both being in possession and dealing.

It opens with a QuickTime movie which sets the scene for pupils - a disco with dancing and music. The user is then faced with three options: first, where drugs might be offered; second, what drugs might be offered; and third, aspects of going to jail.

There is enough content in each of the three areas for further mileage in the classroom.

The CD-Rom was produced for Strathclyde Police and Strathclyde Education Department by SCET. It has plenty of realism and detail (even down to the rubber gloves snapped on at the start of a body search in the police station) which sets a marker for the future. It has a good mixture of QuickTime with sound, interesting effects and it is good enough visually to hold pupils' attention.

What about its use in the classroom? This CD-Rom could work well with 14 and 15-year-olds in a personal and social education course and where there is access to more than one CD-Rom drive.

It would be a pity if only one copy were found in the school library, although many pupils would benefit from going through the subject matter in their own time and at their own pace.

As a teacher I would need other materials to go along with it, and since the disc contains only 98 megabytes' worth of multimedia content, maybe the production team should have considered putting worksheet materials for the classroom on the disc.

As it stands, this important product is well worth having in any school and hopefully we will see more CD-Rom publications like this coming out of Scotland in the future. However, success is also measured by sales, and Pounds 40 per CD-Rom could be unrealistic if schools need to buy more than one copy of the disc.

* Donald Shaw is the Development Officer for Information Technology (Secondary Education) in Lothian region.

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