MacDirectory Magazine

Summer-Fall 2008 (#38)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 144 of 179

MacDirectory 143 FEATURE REVIEW Read national education articles, and the information is troubling. Middle school students struggle with reading and literature comprehension. Only 52 percent of our nation's high school students graduate and receive a diploma. When "Johnny" spends five hours playing a computer RPG or strategy game, instead of one hour completing algebra, how can our nation's lecture-based school system engage middle to high school students that thrive in a visual, digital world? As students leave the nurturing environment of elementary school and enter middle school, many struggle to meet teacher and parent expectations. Here are selected software and online programs that can assist students to succeed, rather than struggle for simple understanding. All software programs and online subscription services operate on a Mac OS X system. Reading and Writing Staring at a computer screen or blank piece of paper will not enable it to magically "morph" into a completed product. These powerful software products can assist struggling writers to develop organized papers, plus build self- confidence in reading. Inspiration 8 by Inspiration Software Inc. aids visual learners to write concise and detailed papers (and many students fit into this category). Inspiration 8 takes the simple web or bubble outlining process to a higher level. With writing, the hardest part can be just organizing random thoughts and ideas. With a visual map, it's easy to see how one idea can relate to another. Inspiration uses Diagram View or Outline View, allowing students to track their written thoughts. Various forms of mapping (concept, web, idea, storyboard) graphically organize or map out concepts and ideas. After students create a diagram outline, Inspiration 8 transforms it into a written outline, which can be launched into a Word document. Priced at $69, Inspiration 8 is easy to use, it works and it's fun. Office:Mac 2008 Home & Student Edition has a wide variety of student positive features. Students like to finish their documents quickly and with flair. Each document contains the expandable tool bar. Click on the table button, and slide the cursor over the empty spaces. Table columns and rows are automatically selected. No longer will students struggle with citations. In the Toolbox menu, students can select the citations and bibliography tool, insert information into a data entry form, which is then recorded in MLA, APA, Chicago or Turabian format. Just above the margin rule bar, students can open Documents Elements (providing multiple front page templates), Quick Tables, Charts, SmartArt Graphics and WordArt to enhance their data displays. PowerPoint offers a wide choice to visually enhance presentations. Excel offers preset ledger, lists, and formulas. Entourage offers My Day, a desktop reminder to help organize daily activities. The tool Projects allows individuals to share information with other working partners, make data changes and control what material is shared with others. Subtle, but powerful tools make Office:Mac a student's friend in developing Word documents, Power Point presentations and spreadsheets. Various retailers market Office:Mac 2008 Home & Student Edition from $119.99 to $149.99. SOLO Literacy Suite by Don Johnston is an extensive software program that incorporates four separate programs -- READ: OutLoud, Draft:Builder, WRITE: OutLoud, and CO: Writer. SOLO packages the programs together, yet each software program can be purchased separately . With READ: OutLoud, a public teacher, home school teacher or parent can utilize sample templates to create his or her own information templates, which helps students learn how to collect, organize and outline information. As students type in material, words are read out loud, giving direct feedback to sentence structure, word choice and word tense. Understan- ding the basic steps toward outlining a paper is not an innate process, but SOLO simplifies this beginning writing process into easy, manageable steps. Draft:Builder assists students to create an organized outline, paragraph structure, how to include notes and develop a first draft. WRITE: OutLoud aids in polishing the rough draft by adding text, pictures, checking spelling and sentence structure. EDUCATION REVIEW > SOFTWARE AND ONLINE PROGRAMS FOR STRUGGLING STUDENTS WORDS BY LISA P. HILL INSPIRATION 8

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