WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON?
Toronto, PXL Publishing/Nelson Canada, 1989.
Volume 22 Number 4
"A reference diskette of vital information on environmental issues, based on the 'Atlas of the Environment' and designed for use by students, parents and teachers."
This interesting program was easy to load and use on a 486 computer with DOS 6 in compressed mode. It was much faster than PC Globe when changing screens and I also found it easier to navigate through.
The screen layout is excellent with the contents displayed as two pages of an open coil notebook. An icon in the s hape of a globe is "navigated" about the page using the arrow keys. "Enter" brings up the topic pointed to with the icon. There is a glo ssary of definitions accessible through a "t yping bar" on the bottom of the screen. All words in the glossary are underlined in red, and students can move instantly to the definition and back to the topic without cumbersome use of function keys.
Each of the ten topics is represented by about six maps showing various aspects and one overall map. For example, in "forests" one map illustrates where there are temperate forests, another, rain fores ts and the final map shows all the types of forest on one map. The transition from map to map is very quick. The date for the information represented is always clearly indicated. Further points of interest relating to the maps include the fact that North America is represented with a slightly curved shape to better reflect the relative size than the standard projection does and that Europe is not always the center of the world map display. The print function produces an outline map and instructs students to add the information themselves--something teachers will appreciate.
There is a selection for text on eac h topic. Under this option the vie wer is presented with three to six pages of text. The textual information on the topics is clearly written and easy to read on the screen. When one is scrolling through a topic the subheading stays on the screen so that it is easy to keep track of where one is. Some of the information is presented in point form, which my student son especially appreciated.
There are sections for teachers and students with classroom ideas, extensive bibliographies of Nelson books, and addresses to contact in the conservation area.
Presenting up-to-date information in such rapidly changing areas as pollution and climate change is difficult in any format. The inclusion of a user registration card leads one to hope that updates will be available to keep the information current.
Recommended for purchase by school libraries and classroom teachers with compatible computers.Grades 3 to 10 / Ages 8 to 15 / Professional
Pat Steenbergen is a job sharing lib rarian in the Professional Librar y for the staff of the Board of Education for the City of York in Toronto, Ontario
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