The state of Europe

23rd January 1998 at 00:00
EXPLORING EUROPE'S ENVIRONMENT. An Earthscan publication for EEAWWF. Pounds 19.95 (single user or network) Age range 11-16

This package comprises two easy-to-install floppy discs requiring Windows 3.1 or later and a 130-page handbook of teaching ideas. Background notes, resource sheets and student worksheets support the activities, covering key areas of science, geography, English, maths and information technology. It should also be of use to language teachers.

The resource, which does not include sound and video, draws extensively on Europe Environment: The Dobris Assessment, probably the most detailed and comprehensive review available on the current state of the environment in Europe. The four key themes of water and rivers; coasts and seas; forests; and urban areas are covered through text, photographs, maps and statistical data.

The Windows-compatible software allows users to view, select and export items into word processing, desktop publishing and spreadsheet packages. The three sections of text, graphics and tabular data are generally good, and the photographs are excellent.

However, interaction between the three sections is poor and user-navigation through the system could be made easier.

Another concern is the quality of the graphs in the graphics section, particularly the clarity of the textual labels, although they are fine when the graphs are printed off. In contrast, the graphs that can be generated in the tabular data section are very good indeed.

Unfortunately only a few maps appear in the package and these suffer the same problems as the poor quality graphs. Because of the large number of locational references, pupils will need to use an atlas to gain maximum benefit from the package.

However, overall Exploring Europe's Environment is a useful resource which should raise pupils' environmental awareness.

Paul Guinness is head of geography at King's College School, Wimbledon

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