30th March 2001 at 01:00
THE DIGITAL FIELD TRIP TO THE DESERT. Digital Frog International Educational Software. CD-Rom pound;79.99. Tel: 015395 58081.

Meticulously researched, well put together and easy to use, this Canadian-produced CD-Rom offers a broad series of virtual field trips to five areas of the south-western deserts of the US - Black Rock, Death Valley, Painted, Saguaro and the Big Bend. It also allows you to sample the ecosystems of other major desert areas, including the cold deserts.

A good menu system allows the user to navigate the map easily, and there is a variety of features including maps, diagrams, sound, animations, video clips and images and a comprehnsive on-screen dictionary. You can zoom in and out on the images with 360-degree views of the sights.

There are interactive sections where students can work through quizzes including Climatic Influences and a Build a Desert Ecosystem simulation exercise. The pack comes with 47 pages of worksheets and a comprehensive teacher's guide with answers, operating details and further reading. The only drawback is the North American spellings.

A must-buy for the library. There are links to biology, so try to negotiate a joint purchase.

John Abbett John Abbett is an ICT co-ordinator and geography teacher at Tupton Hall school, Derbyshire

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