Silicon valley?

23rd June 1995 at 01:00
The Cumbrian landscape is a magnet for many primary schools and secondary geography departments. The region provides a rich fieldwork tapestry in which to develop an understanding of geographical concepts.

The CD on the Langdale valley is split into two sections: a number of applications together with activities and worksheets, and a resource folder containing photographs, graphics and text used elsewhere, and additional material.

The CD revolves around a number of different geographical activities. Central to these are three simulated walks. The first, from New Dungeon Gill to Stickle Tarn, concentrates on the formation of the corrie; the second, to the summit of Pike O'Blisco, looks at the upper valley; the third, up Bow Fell, focuses on climatic and environmental change. Two supplementary applications cover the whole valley, allowing students to investigate the long profile of the river, the danger of flooding, and the patterns of land use.

With each activity a series of worksheets is provided, or teachers can develop their own from available resources. The concept and thought behind these activities makes for excellent geography, but screen design and graphics may detract from their obvious worth.

Of much greater value are the resources. The materials actively encourage students to develop their information capability by providing all the geographical data as text files ready to be imported into the school's favoured spreadsheet or database. Such data is also provided ready-drawn as graphs, although providing these in 3D format can make them more difficult for children to understand.

Langdale should provide the confident geography teacher with an excellent package on which to build the use of IT, developing IT capability within a real, task-orientated subject context. For the less confident, the activities might provide a stepping stone to the more holistic approach to IT in geography that makes this CD value for money.

* Langdale

CD-Rom disc for Acorn computers and Windows PCs, Pounds 99Creative Curriculum Software,5 Clover Hill Road, Savile Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX1 2YGTel: 01422 340524

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