The emphasis on this version appears to be ease of navigation. Whilst there is
still the standard index input window, Encarta also has what could loosely be
described as an intuitive link system where related topics appear in your main
window that can be followed. I found this system to be excellent for the simple
reason that it actively encourages learning.
I found myself looking up a topic
and from that point leaving that window to follow a presented link that lead to
a similar item. By simply surfing the links, I found that in no time at all I
was faced with a mass of new information that eventually led away from my
initial search and presented me with an amazing amount of information.
Something that is vitally important
for parents and students is the fact that Encarta Premium also has wizards that
will assist with the creation of projects and assignments. The key thing to
realise is that with a product as informative as Encarta helping you do the
homework, the chances of having a good looking end result are all but assured.
My only concern would be where students would rely on Encarta entirely as their
source of information for an entire project. Considering the popularity of
Encarta, there would have to be the odd occasion where different students would
be turning in very similar work.
One of the new additions to the
software (amongst others) is the
inclusion of a number of video clips from the Discovery Channel. All of them are
of a high quality and make for some compelling viewing. The beauty of something
like this is the simple fact sometimes to see something makes for a better
understanding than just reading some words of seeing a picture. To see something
in action accentuates the process of learning. As the Encarta website quite
rightly asks, "is learning all about answering questions?", though that in
itself is a question.. go figure!
As with previous versions of
the software, there is the inclusion of a dictionary and thesaurus, essential
tools when putting together an assignment that doesn't read verbatim like
Encarta! As far as being supported by Microsoft goes with this product, there is
a wealth of info on the Encarta site that should get you on the right track. All
things said and done, this is a great product that will be an absolute boon to
anyone wanting to know more about the world around us. Highly recommended!
- Tory Favro