Semerc, 1 Broadbent Road, Watersheddings, Oldham OL1 4HU. Tel: 0161 627 4469
OAK DRAW FOR WINDOWS. Drawing software to be used with My World, Pounds 70 (requires 386 or better IBM-compatible, Windows 3.1, 2 megabytes of memory, VGA monitor or better) Oak Solutions, Dial House, 12 Chapel Street, Halton, Leeds LS15 7RN. Tel: 0113 232 6992
One of the UK's most popular programs on Acorn computers is now flaunting its attractions to schools with PCs, writes Andy Lambert.
My World has been one of the most popular applications produced for Acorn machines. As a testament to this, rumours were rife of PC and Macintosh versions. Apple seems to have lost the race, basically because the PC platform has more clout.
The concept behind My World is deceptively simple. In what is basically a drawing package you create screens which children can manipulate andor edit with a simple point-and-click interface. The graphic objects can be moved on screen, deleted or copied; text can also be added and edited. Screens can be linked together, to create simple stories, for example.
Originally developed by the Derbyshire IT team for children with special needs, you might think that, for mainstream pupils, My World has little value. If you look at some of the screens where there is a teddy bear "hidden" in a closet, or in a place of your choosing, then you may be forgiven for thinking this. However, the sample screens belie this. In one screen you are presented with a French cafe, where you have to select food and drink from the shelves, and drag the correct menu item and price to l'addition. Screens also exist to match pictures to words in Spanish and German - the program obviously does not check the validity of the answers, but the screens can be printed for marking.
Other exemplars allow children to construct road layouts, adding buildings and other features; produce weather maps; make Carroll diagrams for honing sorting skills; use a cheque book; build up scenes and write about minibeasts; create fairy tales; explore money and so on. Once you have seen the inventiveness that underlies these screens you could be enticed to have a go.
New screens can be created on the PC using Oak Draw for Windows. This is an object oriented (or vector) drawing package, which means that you can produce clearer diagrams than pixel-based painting packages. And the files are compatible with Acorn's own drawing program, so that PC Oak Draw files can be transferred to Acorn machines just by changing the file type. Similarly, by copying your Acorn My World screens to a PC disc, and resetting the file type, you can use all of these Acorn resources. This means you can create and use all My World materials on both Acorn and PCs.
The diversity of resources for My World is represented by the fact that an AcornPC CD-Rom of 30 different packs has been released by Semerc (Pounds 59). Some of the packs are new, and some older but improved, which shows how far you can go with a superb idea.
* Semerc - stands SN1 and 2
Oak Solutions - stand 345