So much, so easy. Must be expensive. It's not, says Jack Kenny
Occasionally you come across software that is so good that you want to share it with everyone. TextEase Multimedia is like that. If, in addition, you add on the HTML Reader Writer you will have something very special. With software as good as this why should we worry about international competition?
Many people know TextEase. It is an excellent word processor and desktop publisher combined. Now it has grown. Multimedia authoring has been added and, should you wish to buy it, HTML for creating web pages. That probably sounds terrifyingly complicated to inexperienced users. Amazingly, however, the program looks little different from its predecessor. If you can use TextEase you can handle this too. You can drag files around on your Windows PC drop them in with ease in the way that Acorn users have always been able to do. Your multimedia can be combinations of text, graphics, sound and video. The only difficult bit is keeping track of where all the files are.
I can't think of a piece of software that does so much so easily and so well. (Evidently the British Computer Society thinks the same - it gave TextEase an award.) The word processor talks, you can prepare imaginative pages for DTP. You can save that same page as a web page to go on your Internet site or your Intranet . . . You can link pages to other pages or to applications or to picture, sound or video files.
The versatility and the ease of use are what makes these a must. The most important thing is that it encourages children to work in ways that are more appropriate to 1998. This is upper primary and secondary software that has progression built in, that drives teaching forward, that fires the imagination, that encourages real 1998 literacy. You can use it to do all those things that the Government is concerned about - and you can use it for fun, for creativity. The only drawbacks are the expense and the fact that it comes in two separate packages.
Someone asked me recently why information and communication technology is important in education. It is because of programs like this that extend, that incite us to do more, that encourage us to be better. Prizes are given out every year at the BETT technology show; if there is any justice, and nothing better emerges, then this will get gold in 1999, just as Talking TextEase did in 1997.
TextEase Multimedia pound;85 ex VAT. HTML Reader Writer pound;35 ex VAT Talking TextEase for Windows; pound;65 Standard TextEase; pound;49 Softease The Old Courthouse, St Peter's Churchyard, Derby DE1 1NN. Tel: 01332 204911