Loquacious locations

5th January 1996 at 00:00
THE OXFORD TALKING INFANT ATLAS Disc for Acorn A-series computers Pounds 20 plus VAT single user (x 1.5 for site licence) Sherston Software, Angel House, Sherston, Malmesbury, Wiltshire SN16 0LH Tel:01666 840433

The Oxford Talking Infant Atlas follows the format of The Oxford Infant Atlas, so popular in many key stage 1 classrooms, and is an excellent resource for early primary geography.

The atlas is made up of three sections: the Earth in Space, the World and Europe and the British Isles. It aims to introduce children to basic geographical skills in a motivating and stimulating way. And to help children distinguish between land and sea, identify countries, cities, rivers and mountainous areas and use simple keys.

Very much in the vein of Sherston Talking Topics, only the mouse's select button is needed to control the program: children can click on and listen to whole sentences while following highlighted words on the screen. They can click on labels and listen to the words being spoken, watch animations and enjoy the sound effects and answer simple locational questions.

Not unexpectedly, the Talking Atlas follows the same successful formula as the Naughty Stories and the ORT Talking Books. There is the ear icon to hear a sentence spoken, an eye icon if an animated sequence is available and a large question mark in order to hear a question about the current map.

Starting with outer space and ending up with the British Isles, the Talking Atlas follows a sequence from large- to small-scale maps which an astute teacher will then follow up with "where we live". The advantage of this approach is that it helps children to see how places fit together and to find their own location in the world.

The screens generally replicate pages in the atlas (a copy of which is included in the package), offering familiarity and consistency.

The interaction on screen brings the atlas to life in a very stimulating and motivating manner and lends itself to a number of possible approaches, including individual exploration or a teacher-led demonstration.

The Oxford Talking Infant Atlas is simple to use and provides a very effective vehicle for bringing map work to life.

* Sherston Software - stand 260

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