7th January 2005 at 00:00
Recent emphasis among software developers has been on numeracy and literacy, but this is the year of the interactive whiteboard - with resources created for this new classroom resident.

The publisher-hardware company that is Cambridge-Hitachi is only a year old but already has a raft of literacy and numeracy software for primary. The Mult-e-Maths suite, for instance, consists of three parts building on the recently released Primary Maths Toolbox (pound;300) for key stages 1 and 2, with six CD-Roms covering different strands of the maths curriculum (each costing pound;170) and a Maths Dictionary for children (pound;95).

Then there's Ginn's Insight, which aims to build and improve reading and comprehension skills through practice and feedback. With fiction and non-fiction texts, each CD-Rom comes with six linked books. Comprehension is broken down into skills and allows you to track individual children's strengths and weaknesses (pound;50).

Numbers, Words and Pictures 2 (Black Cat) is designed to introduce five to eight-year-olds to key skills in data-handling, graphs, art and turtle graphics. All can be accessed from a simple menu and set to the needs of individual pupils. Building on the success of the original program, there are more starter topics and curriculum-related data sets.

Sound Beginnings 2 (SEMERC) is the second in the series of vocalisation tools for three to six-year-olds with special educational needs or behavioural problems. Building on the original features, it encourages pupils to develop an awareness of some of the dimensions of speech such as volume and breath control. There is even a gallery for viewing screenshots from specific activities, such as Flying which is designed to encourage users to sustain a sound for as long as possible in order to keep a creature floating in the sky with its balloon.

Environmental education charity the Field Studies Council has joined forces with publisher Spiny Software to produce a lively CD-Rom on freshwater wildlife, called Ponds Streams (pound;36). Combining games and activities with reference sections suitable for 7 to 11-year-olds, there is also virtual pond dipping, bar charts and pictograms to compare polluted and clean water, as well as a freshwater name trail.

Music benefits from Musical Monsters, from QD Multimedia, for teaching musical skills to children as young as two (with Early Years Musical Monsters). They add to this with Musical Monsters for foundationKS1 and More Musical Monsters for KS2. The range begins with very simple activities leading to a versatile composing tool for children to create their own tunes by arranging monsters in a grid. Bold colours, instinctive navigation and simple controls allow pupils - and teachers - to quickly build confidence and have fun with the software (from pound;35).

Sherston Software has been tweaking old favourites and adding to its stable with Web Detectives which takes us back to Webble Valley where we learned about email in Email Detectives (pound;49.95). This introduces the skills, uses and hazards of using the internet.

Classroom Monitor (site licence from pound;250), from Prime Principle, is an intuitive interactive mark-book to cut down workload while providing senior managers with instant access to pupil records as well as generating assessment data from nursery to the end of KS2. It can set targets, track progress and generate reports, with a built-in statement bank (starting from Pounds 450).

EDpaX is a new company providing step-by-step interactive whiteboard lessons for primary schools. EDpaX Phonics (pound;99) provides interactive pages and activities for each letter of the alphabet for reception-aged children, while EDpaX Science covers key objectives for Years 1 to 6 (pound;180), following the same flip-chart format of whole-class teaching and interactive activities.

Science too is very popular with publishers this year. Sherston's new series of three CD-Roms covering KS1 and 2 science, BBC Science Simulations, tackles scientific investigation. There are seven interactive simulations on each CD-Rom as well as data-graphing, charting and curriculum-focused databanks to prompt exploration (pound;59.99 each).

Ginn's new Star Science Interactive Activities Experiments CD-Rom uses engaging and fun activities to stimulate 7 to 11-year-olds. Many of the investigations employ virtual versions of experiments that can be a problem in the classroom and visualise concepts that are difficult for children.

Add to this assessment activities, extension and homework ideas. There is a CD-Rom per year group for Years 3 to 6 (from pound;65 each).

Don't miss

Logotron - Visual Fractions Stand SN10

A powerful new tool using a visual representation of fractional relationships. Ideal for use by the teacher or pupil on a classroom whiteboard, the software comes with a rich palette of visual maths objects that can be dynamically connected together and their properties varied with just a point and click (pound;45).

Tel: 01223 425558

2Simple - Science Simulation Stand F76

Although 2Simple's 2Handwrite is brilliant on interactive whiteboards and tablet PCs and 2Calculate is a lovely way to introduce spreadsheets, its new Science Simulation series gets my vote (pound;20). Module 1 is Plants and Growing and works particularly well with the QCA scheme of works for Years 1, 2 and 3. A story-based simulation which has the class following Dinesh as he tries to grow a plant from seed. There are seven different activities which link well with other curriculum areas too.

Tel: 020 8203 1781

Drumsteps Stand SW108

Drumsteps is an innovative and novel tool that allows children to create, edit and save original pieces of percussion music. You create sets of steps, ladders, trapdoors even cause balls to drop and so produce musical sounds, a totally engaging and creative new way to learn about music. Best of all you can download it for free from the Centre for Research in IT in Education site or try a shockwave version from the BBC.

Tel: 00 353 01 608 3661

www.cs.tcd.iecrite gamesdrumsteps

Other contacts

Cambridge-Hitachi Stand S20

Tel: 01223 325013

Spiny Software Stand SW83

Tel: 029 2049 5992

Ginn Stand Y10

Tel: 01865 314 405

SEMERC Stand E40F40

Tel: 0161 827 2719

QD Multimedia Stand Y102

Tel 01332 364963

Sherston Software Stand E60

Tel: 01666 843200

Prime Principle Stand SW65

Tell: 0115 848 4067

EDpaX Stand P7

Tel: 01294 316535

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