Q: I am writing to congratulate you on your educational programs column CRASH COURSE — but, you don’t seem to realise that it isn’t only the lower age group who can benefit from programs like this. There are many of us fourteen year olds struggling with exam courses. We could well do with a bit of help from our Spectrums. Why don’t you include some more CSE/O Level type programs in Crash Course?


A: Sorry to take so long to reply to your question, Barnaby. I wholly agree with you that people of your age can benefit from educational programs, but unfortunately I’m not sent very many programs of the type you mention, and of those I do see, there are few I would really recommend. The vast majority of the software I am sent for review is for young children, and sadly, many software houses don’t seem very keen to produce the sort of programs that older children, say from ten to sixteen, find interesting and worthwhile. The only CSE/O Level type program that stands out in my mind among those I’ve looked at, is Softlee Systems French Listening Comprehension (reviewed in July’s Crash Course), which includes an aural element.

Unfortunately, some programs like this that I’ve been enthusiastic about, are not to be found in the shops because distributors are reluctant to take on products from smaller software houses — even though they often have much better ideas than the giants. You can often only buy these programs through mail order, but this of course means that sales are often very limited and some small companies no doubt find it hard to make a living.

Q: Do you know of any educational adventures for eight to nine year olds? I would like to try some adventure programs with my class, but the educational ones I’ve seen are rather boring, and the commercial games for the adult market are too difficult. Any suggestions?

Mr C Taylor

A: Read on! The review below of Turtle’s Jack in Crazyland might give you some ideas. The trilogy — Jack in Magicland, Jack in Crazyland and Jack and the Pirates (under production) — has been written by Mr P Rogers, a primary school teacher, and each are ideal for use in schools, particularly as the basis for project work.

Q: My little boy attends a playgroup where the mothers help on a rota basis. After a fund raising event, we have acquired a Spectrum Plus. Can you recommend any programs which could be used with all the children working together?

Mrs L A Reid

A: As I’m sure you realise, most of the software for pre-school children is aimed at the individual child for use in the home. However, Softlee Systems have now produced a Nursery Rhymes program which would be ideal for your needs. I’ll be reviewing this in detail next month, but briefly, the idea is that the tape is played through stereo equipment so that the children can hear the nursery rhymes being read very slowly and at the same time see the words being highlighted on the screen.

Don’t miss next month’s Crash Course, when I’ll be reviewing, among other goodies, a new program for BABIES!