NAPPA 2004: Software for Elementary Students and Up

By Janice Stickley-White

Nappa Award Winners
If you want the children in your life to get the most out of their screen time - and you want to make sure you're spending your money on worthwhile products - check out these winning titles. They are easy to install, easy to operate and visually remarkable. Intriguing sounds, music and characters set in violence-free environments mean you'll feel OK when they're played repeatedly. Plus, all of these titles teach as they entertain.

Gold Award Winners

Get Ahead Math, Get Ahead Learning, 2004; $79.95 each or $159.90 for three; WIN 98/NT/2000/ME/XP;; for ages 8 to 14.
This series couples old-fashioned math teaching principles with new-age computer-based learning to create an academic environment that is structured and easy to follow, yet lively. Educators and parents will enjoy the nicely developed workbooks that accompany this program and encourage students to put pencil to paper and do some figuring. Video tutorials, step-by-step examples, quizzes and tests move students through the material. As either a supplement or core part of the teaching process, this in-depth software is an excellent tool.

Music Ace Deluxe, Harmonic Vision, 2004; $49.95; WIN 98/ME/2000/NT4/XP and Mac G3 or later;; for ages 6 to adult.
Music Ace teaches the fundamentals of music in a learning atmosphere that is very user-friendly. Players write music via carefully sequenced lessons. Keyboarding, scales, rhythm, melody, key signatures, terms - all the basics get covered. Yet, somehow, as players dabble about the computer keyboard, the composing experience feels much more like fun than work. "Write the two-measure rhythm that you hear," Maestro Max, the on-screen tutor might ask. And the enthusiastic player's response comes quickly and simply. That's because Music Ace truly plays like a game, yet it is sophisticated software academic enough for classroom use.

Honors Award Winners

Stagecast Creator, Stagecast Creator Inc., 1999; $49.95; WIN 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP and Mac OS X, 8.1 or higher;;

for ages 8 and up. Off the mainstream path, this software actually teaches kids to program and to create animated stories. Some educators use this for classroom presentations. An intriguing challenge.

To see winning software titles for other age groups, return to NAPPA 2004 Award Winners: Software.

See also: NAPPA 2003 Award Winners: Software