for Recycled Computer Equipment?
For those of you who may not have the budget for new computer equipment, there are lots of options available to you. Before you rule out new equipment, investigate whether you are eligible for educational or non-profit discounts. Many of the larger hardware and software companies offer these types of discounts. If new is definitely out of reach, consider looking for “gently used” equipment. As Tanya Clary- Vandergaag indicated in her article in the last issue of CONNECT, many large companies upgrade computer equipment on a regular basis. What is out-of-date to them may be just fine for your purposes. When you accept donations like this, keep in mind that the equipment may require a lot of setup before it is ready for you to use. There are government and non-profit programs that will do this work for you. Computers for Schools (http://cfs-ope.ic.gc.ca) is a federal program that collects computers and donates them to schools, libraries and provincial/territorial employment and training programs across Canada. Reboot Canada (http://reboot.on.ca) is a non-profit organization that refurbishes computer equipment and distributes it to charitable organizations.
TexToys is a collection
of two authoring programs: WebRhubarb and WebSequitur. Both programs
WebRhubarb exercises require learners to reconstruct a text word by word. The words in the text are hidden and then uncovered as the students type them. If the learner types the wrong word or spells a word incorrectly it is collected in a list of incorrect words. Learners can receive hints if necessary.
WebSequitur breaks a text into segments of equal length and asks students to reorder these segments.
Creating these exercises is very simple. Instructors type a text and then export it in a webpage format. The exercises can then be used offline or uploaded to a server, hotpotatoes.net, for access online. The offline version can be viewed without a connection to the Internet but your computer must have an Internet browser such as Netscape. The online version can be accessed on any computer which has an Internet connection.
A shareware version of this software can be downloaded from http://www.cict.co.uk/software/textoys/index.htm. The shareware version restricts you to short exercises and doesn’t allow you to upload your exercises to the Internet.
It is often difficult to find software suited to the adult beginning reader. Most programs that teach reading and writing skills assume that some level of literacy has been achieved. The best place to find simple, familiar words is in a picture dictionary. A software dictionary has the advantage of audio as well as visual cues, and the learner can practise computer skills, particularly mouse manipulation. In this issue, we have chosen to focus on two interactive picture dictionaries: The Oxford Interactive Picture Dictionary and The Protea Interactive Picture Dictionary. Reviews of each appear on Page 4.
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