English for Wizards
Searching for that special software
By John Moore
The key to studying with the computer is finding good software that is right for you. It shouldn't be too hard or too easy. It should be fun but not too cute or childish. It shouldn't have too much Japanese in it. And if you have a special interest, maybe there's a software program focusing just on that. But how can you ever find that perfect program?
Don't worry, wizards! All you need is your magic mouse and some easy Internet incantations. Try going to SuperKids Educational Software review (www.superkids.com). This is a simple, easy-to-use site that provides good information about hundreds of educational software titles.
If you don't really know what you're looking for yet, I suggest you go to the alphabetical title index and browse quickly through the entire list. From the SuperKids main page, click on "Software: reviews," at the top of the left-hand menu, and then click on "Title Index" in the very middle of the next page. You will see the letters A to Z across the top. Click on a letter to see the lists. If you find a title that sounds interesting, you can also click on it to read a detailed description and review.
Maybe you will notice a category you are especially interested in, such as "Interactive Books" or "Vocabulary," etc. You can see all the titles under that category by clicking on the name of the category.
There is also a search function. Go back to the "Software: reviews" page and click on "Search Review Database." You can also search for specific titles if you know some. Enter "Cat in the Hat" or "Reader Rabbit" in the search blank, for example, and you will see some interesting results.
If you find a software program you really want to try out, the next step is to visit Amazon (www.amazon.com) to find the best price. Peter and I were interested in "Discovering Origami" by Geode Software. This is quite an old software program, and the SuperKids page said it was no longer available, but at Amazon, they have a lot of old stuff. Sure enough, if you enter "Discovering Origami" in the Amazon search blank, you can find it. The price is 12.50 dollars, or about ¥1,500. Not bad if you're really interested in learning English and origami at the same time.
Shukan ST: April 18, 2003
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