The RM Curriculum Window Box is a Window Box on-line, a simple concept. This machine, configured so that accessing resources on a website is as easy as using the hard disk, is a pleasure to use. Why no one beat RM to it is a mystery. It was announced over a year ago so they gave the opposition a year's start but still no one got there first.
The Window Box has its critics, but few of them are in primary classrooms. It has always given hesitant teachers the confidence to use ICT. Imitators there may well have been, but most have fallen by the wayside.
RM's latest innovation is a considerable advance. Traditionally the Window Box comes loaded with software. This one is full of judiciously chosen programs, but it also links to the Window Box online website where you can obtain resources and activities that will lift the heavy heart of a tired teacher. Developer Ian Skeels promises further extensions of the resources. There are currently over 150. Two hundred further resources are lined up for the very near future.
Once a teacher has selected the work from the site, the new software downloads and saves the material in the right place on the hard disk.
All the material has been precisely targeted on the new 2000 curriculum and is comprehensive. The work sheets and assignments can be arranged by either age or subject. Freely available to everyone, RM Work Box software is required for downloading files, but that can be acquired on the site. The online files are designed mainly for use with the Window Box software.
For instance, if you want your pupils to take part in the Car Park urvey then the software expects the data to be entered into "Starting Grid". The material shows how the work relates to the national curriculum. The lesson plan includes learning objectives, the resources needed, how to introduce the activity, how to manage the classroom, how to achieve differentiation and adapting and extending the activity.
The lesson plans and files would be useful to any school with a PC and software that will open standard bitmap graphic or Word files. Skeels also hopes a community of users will be built up and will start to share work that they have developed.
RM's Curriculum Window Box is built to meet the needs of the 2000 curriculum being introduced in England, Wales and Scotland: systems specially created for Scotland and Wales will be available in the near future. There are a number of new software titles. These include RM Talking First Word 4 (now based on Word 2000), My World 3, Multimedia Textease, Stagecast Creator Starter, RM Information Magic, Decisions, and for teacher planning there is Literacy Complete and Numeracy Complete.
This is a splendid concept and it works. The original Window Box made computers usable, now it looks as though the new Curriculum Window Box will take the worry out of using the Internet and create a seamless link between machine and Web.
RM Window Box desktop PC - Celeron 433 PC with 64MB RAM, a 6GB hard drive, 32-speed CD drive, 10100 Ethernet card and a 15-inch monitor with built in speakers - if a higher specification is required it can be built. Price: pound;900.
Tel: RM sales 0870 908 6969 www.wbol.co.uk