Products and freebies

31st March 2000 at 01:00
A new mind-mapping software program which costs less than pound;20 (just) has been launched by M-Urge, a publisher of productivity software. Students and teachers can download the program, called eMindMaps, direct from the publisher's website at for pound;19.99.

For schools, M-Urge is offering a 20-user licencefor pound;199.00 plus VAT.

eMindMaps includes all the basic functions for creating mind maps. Students and teachers can enter key words and add symbols, colour coding and pictures. Rather than present this as a list of text, the software builds it into a branch map which makes it easier to spot relationships, compare attributes and understand the overall context of what has been entered. The expertise needed to enter text, add and edit pictures or move parts of the map around are very similar to the skills required for word processing.

Once the map is complete, it can be printed out either as a diagram or as an itemised list - keywords and the information linked to each one become Section 1, item 1.1, item 1.2 and so on,which can then be used as headings or a guide for essay writing.

Easter is late this year, which is agony for those of us breathlessly awaiting the new season at our favourite theme park. European Schoolnet has come to the rescue with a pan-European competition that invites students to dream up their own theme park. The competition is open to learners of English all across Europe and from native English speakers in the UK (these are especially welcome as a way for those using the website to gain further experience of the English language). There are three levelsfor beginners, intermediate and advanced, and winning work will be published online. There are also book prizes to be won.

Full details of the competition, entries for which must be received either electronically or by post by the end of April, are available at www.en.eun.orgvsenlishenglish.html or by calling Chris Davison on 01773 534000.

Anyone interested in a hands-on demonstration of the world wide web or in learning how to build their own site should consider the BBC Tomorrow's World Live Event at Earl's Court in London from Wednesday June 28 to Sunday July 2.

For the first time, the DfEE is sponsoring the show and has 100,000 tickets to give away on a first-come first-served basis. Schools can apply in bulk; individual learners are entitled to two free tickets each. As well as offering tickets, the department will host an interactive area wherevisitors can check out potential career avenues, learn new skills such as designing a magazine,read the news on TV orbuild a website.

At Planet Internet, there will be the chance to visit "dotcom" businesses and see Cisco Systems' Internet Home of Tomorrow. Tickets on the door will cost pound;11.50 for adults; pound;8 for children. The DfEE hotline for free tickets is 0870 739 9333.

If 3kg of complex laptop is more computer technology than you want, then Psion's latest hand-held device may be for you.

The Psion Series 7 has a large, full colour screen with a bigger keyboard and a PC card slot. It comes with Psion's unbeatable instant-on, fast-access software that is much more intuitive and faster to use than its PC equivalents. For busy teachers, this means no waiting for programs to load or shut down when you have 10 minutes to update a spread-sheet or enter records into a database.

The Series 7 has a browserfor web access and email,word processing, a spreadsheet,a time manager and a database program. The PC docking cable makes it a portable extension to any desktop PC.

The price is an expensive pound;700 and it isn't covered by the Computers for Teachers scheme, but as a portable solution to productive computing, it is hard to beat.Stockist details on 0990 143050.


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