9th March 2001 at 00:00
TEXTEASE MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGE desktop publishing package. Primary and early secondary. pound;39 single user licence (pound;10 per additional user). Textease 2000. pound;85 single user (pound;20 per additional user). Softease Ltd. Market Place, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1ES Tel: 01335 343 421.

For primary children already familiar with the flexibility of the Textease 2000 package, this add-on software gives an easy way into ICT-based language learning. Primarily a writing resource, it also allows pupils to record and hear their own written language pronounced.

Features such as the birthday banner would be popular in upper primary for making talking birthday cards. P> Toolbar explanations are in French - a good introduction to the language of ICT.

Effective use of drawing features creates simple images with text. One 10-year-old confidently drew a grey cloud and accurately tapped in il fait gris beneath it.

A built-in spell check that highlights errors is a bonus, but could be misleading. Comme cas (ca) for example, is not corrected, since cas is not seen in context.

Likewise le petite (petit) homme is left uncorrected, which could slow down the drive to improve grammar.

Colourful on-screen activities such as adding names of European countries to a map give novel cross-curricular appeal.

Eleanor Caldwell

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