Every year the Encarta range
comes out and every year I say to myself, how can it get any better! Yet every
year Microsoft tweak and prod and this version of Encarta is simply the best
It's going to sound silly
mentioning this first however a favourite new feature on this program for me
was the inclusion of a search bar that incorporates itself into your task bar.
You are always just a short search away from finding the information that you
need. It's a nice unobtrusive integration into your operating system that
quickly proves itself to be quite a resource. Simply by typing the thing that
you need information on into the search bar, it will automatically perform the
search for you and display the results. It's really useful and clever to boot.
Next is the inclusion of a kids
encyclopaedia which is about time in my books. Kids need something exciting to
stimulate their passion for knowledge and the layout and form of this
encyclopaedia ensures that they are not going to get bored anytime soon when
using the product. The Children's Encarta is aimed at ages 12 and below and
the content is appropriate for that age. So if the young un's need something
older they are going to have to deal with the adult version of the software.
In terms of general resource
providing, Encarta would have to be one of the easiest to navigate that I have
used. It's set up in the same way as you would expect a web page to be setup
with navigation links provided to relevant areas to the one that you are
currently searching in. As with last year's version you
can keep abreast of all the latest goings on in the world with the online
update facility. This service is simply sensational not to mention the fact
that students will get the most out of this by making sure that their work is
up to date. I honestly believe that kids who use Encarta will have the edge on
those that don't. That may not seem fair, however give this program a try and
see if you don't agree with me.
Compounding my last paragraph is
the fact that Encarta even provides assistance with homework, starting and
finishing any projects and work with the child. With the assistance of World
English Dictionary, Thesaurus and Bilingual Dictionary, there almost isn't any
call for your kids to have to access any other source of information,
especially when you update Encarta on a regular basis as it is updated online
about once a week with new information.
Once again there are a number of
videos that have been supplied courtesy of the Discovery Channel that really
illustrate and highlight the contextual points that Encarta is trying to make
about a number of topics. The DVD format is perfect for this sort of
presentation, without having to compromise with really crummy video quality
due to the limitations of CD.