Licensed to learn
ECDL is the European Computer Driving Licence and is a certificate that is recognised across Europe. It was designed to improve people's basic knowledge of computers and to raise the level of competence throughout Europe.
Electric Paper has produced a single-user CD specifically for delivering the ECDL syllabus on screen (based on Microsoft Office 2000). On start-up, you are asked to sign on. From there on, every time you attempt any of the exercises, your score is kept.
This disk has very clear instructions which you can read on the screen or you can listen to. If you don't want to hear them, there is even a section showing you how to operate the volume control on your computer.
The instructions are geared to having an interactive response and if you make a mistake, the program shows you what you should have done. An experienced computer user can go straight to the exercises and have a go.
You'll soon find a few tricks of the trade you haven't acquired.
For the novice, the package is ideal. It takes you through each feature carefully. The entire package is menu-driven and, once a selection is made, you can click on buttons to move on (if the package is happy you've completed the task), go back a screen or replay the current screen.
There are seven components to ECDL, namely Concepts of Information Technology, Using the Computer and Managing Files, Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Databases, Presentation and finally Information and Communication.
As a teacher in a secondary school, I found the section on managing files really useful. We have never been able to allow pupils on the network full access to Windows Explorer, yet they do need to know about it. This disk lets them look at it without using the real thing.
In a small classroom there is scope for using the package on the interactive whiteboard. We had pupils happily dragging names of input devices across the board.
I'm sure that adult learners would enjoy the disk, too. It is easy to follow and seems impressively bug free.
Electric Paper also produces the New Clait disk which looks and feels very similar to its Clait Plus disk (reviewed in TES Teacher, May 28). In both cases, check that your version of Office is the same as theirs. This is definitely a package I can recommend.
The final accreditation can be awarded via a range of manual or automated tests. For more details, contact Electric Paper (see right and free offer, p24).
ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence) CD-Rom
Learning materials on CD-Rom
Price: single user pound;50 (discounts on volume, pound;35 each for 10 CDs). Network versions available - 25 concurrent user annual site licence pound;2,000
Tel: 0800 626328
ECDL learning materials on CD-Rom
Fitness for purpose ****
Ease of use *****
Value for money ****