TESOL CALL Interest Section

Software List

Deborah Healey, Editor

Discussion

Amazon Trail

Machine: Mac/Win
Publisher: Learning Company, The
See also online/mail order
Approximate single-unit price: 6
Purchase options: lab pack, site license
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: All but K-4
Description: Amazon Trail is a simulation of a trip up the Amazon River (and through time). The goal is to search for a medicinal plant that can save the ancient Incas from malaria. As students travel up the Amazon River they explore the rain forest, visit historical people and landmarks, trade with the people of the region, navigate and fish for food. The program comes with teacher's manuals and student worksheets that facilitate cooperative learning-based lessons and communicative language development. Windows 95/Me/2000/98/NT; Macintosh. Hybrid CD-ROM.

CrossCountry Canada Platinum

Machine: Win, Mac
Publisher: Ingenuity Works
Approximate single-unit price: 30
Purchase options: site, network
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: All
Description: Using a realistic, yet fun visual format this geography simulation lets students take on the role of a long distance truck driver. Students make decisions about finding and delivering in a timely fashion up to 52 different commodities to 180 cities. Students need to read maps, calculate distances, estimate expenses, and plan cost-effective routes from coast to coast. The program and accompanying teacherÕs manual offer many possibilities for ESL/EFL communicative language practice through cooperative learning tasks. Also available: Cross Country USA. Windows 95/98/ME/NT 4/2000/XP/Vista; Mac OS 8.6, 9.x, 10.1.x or up to IntelMac.

CrossCountry USA

Machine: Mac, Win
Publisher: Ingenuity Works
Approximate single-unit price: 30
Purchase options: lab, site
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: Any
Description: Using a realistic, yet fun visual format this geography simulation lets students take on the role of a long distance truck driver. Students make decisions about finding and delivering in a timely fashion up to 52 different commodities to 180 cities. Students need to read maps, calculate distances, estimate expenses, and plan cost-effective routes from coast to coast. The program and accompanying teacher's manual offer many possibilities for ESL/EFL communicative language practice through cooperative learning tasks. Also available: Cross Country Canada. Windows 95/98/ME/NT 4/2000/XP/Vista; Mac OS 8.6, 9.x, 10.1.x or up to IntelMac.

Decisions, Decisions Series

Machine: Mac, Win
Publisher: Tom Snyder Productions
Approximate single-unit price: 150
Purchase options: lab, site, network
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: All but K-6
Description: Students work in groups to use the software and text materials to make decisions. Students check the printed materials for additional background information. As a group they prioritize their goals, receive multiple perspectives on the issues from their 'advisors' in the computer, discuss their options and input their course of action to the computer. The computer presents the consequences and the 'advisors' reappear to offer the students help in dealing with them prior to another round of decisions, actions and consequences. These programs work well in a one-computer classroom. The following are ones most likely to be of interest to ESL/EFL students. Immigration: Students are community decision makers. The computer presents a number of dilemmas related to immigration policy in the U.S. Prejudice: Students take the role of a mayor up for re-election in a town with a racism problem. Their 'advisors' in the computer are an historian, a campaign manager, a lawyer and an activist. The Environment: Students are community decision makers. The computer presents a number a dilemmas related to environmental damage in a small town. Urbanization: Students are community decision makers. The computer presents a number of dilemma related to the costs and benefits of urbanization for a small town. Violence in the Media: Students take the role of an advertising executive for a company sponsoring a controversial television program about life in a gang-infested urban neighborhood. Windows 98/98 and Mac OS 9; not verified on Vista or Mac OS X.

Dilemma in the Workplace

Machine: Win, Mac
Publisher: Educational Activities Software
Approximate single-unit price: 170
Purchase options: lab, network
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: Adult
Special use: VESL
Description: Workplace scenarios with ethical dilemmas are presented for discussion. Learners choose what the main character should do, then see the outcomes of that choice. Includes a glossary for higher-level vocabulary. Windows 98/NT/2000/XP: Mac OS 8 or OS 9.

Explore Canada

Machine: Win/Mac
Publisher: TVLT New Media Language Training
Approximate single-unit price: 50
Purchase options: site, network, lab pack
Level: Beginning, intermediate For: All but K-2
Special use: bilingual (French)
Description: This multimedia program teaches Canadian history, geography and culture at two levels of language difficulty (English and French). The geography section provides detailed information about regions, provinces and territories in Canada. The history unit is divided into the following six titles: Early History, Colonial Period, Canada Grows, Exploration, Confederation and Canada Today. Other features available on this program are a talking dictionary, an index for research assignments, scratch pad activities, Canadian Citizenship test, and other activities. CD-ROM.

Factory, The

Machine: Mac/Win
Publisher: Sunburst Technology
Approximate single-unit price: 20
Purchase options: lab, network, school
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: 4-8 grade
Description: Simulated machine assembly line. CD-ROM for Mac or Windows.

Freeciv

Machine: Win
Publisher: Freeciv
Purchase options: freeware
Level: Advanced For: All but K-6
Description: Open source version of Civilization, originally by Microprose. Players build a civilization from the ground up. The strength of this program is in the way students must link their own game-playing strategies with the way that inventions and technology might have been discovered and developed: you can't have literature without writing, and you can't have writing without the alphabet; and this applies all the way up to building a space-station. Most effective for group work - make sure someone records information and the progress of the game as the group works. Download from http://freeciv.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page. Help is online as well. Windows XP, Vista: Mac OS X.

Hollywood

Machine: Win/Mac
Publisher: Tom Snyder Productions
Approximate single-unit price: 40
Purchase options: lab, network
Level: Beginning, intermediate, advanced, teacher For: All
Description: A creative writing CD-ROM, which lets you or your students write, direct, and play your own animated shows with talking characters. You select the scene, you direct the actors, you write the dialogue, you choose the music and special effects. You can screen it in the theater by clicking on the projector. There's even an Idea Machine which provides story starters, plot twists, and dialogue suggestions based on the scene you've chosen and the specific personalities of your characters. Uses computerized voices; sometimes you have to fiddle with spelling to get them to sound right. (SA) Formerly sold by Theatrix, it is good to see this title reappear. Windows 2000/XP; Mac OS 9.

Hollywood High

Machine: Win/Mac
Publisher: Tom Snyder Productions
Approximate single-unit price: 40
Purchase options: lab, network
Level: Beginning, intermediate, advanced, teacher For: All
Description: Like its predecessor Hollywood, Hollywood High has students write and direct an animated show with talking characters. The settings and characters are high school-oriented, so this is more attractive to teens but less useful for adults than Hollywood. Students select the scene and characters, place and move the actors, write the dialogue, and choose the special effects. Because it uses synthesized rather than digitized voices, they can be odd. It's possible to tweak the spelling to improve the pronunciation, but the point of this is the dialogue among the learners creating the show, not the end result itself. This is not recommended as a listening skill builder, but it's a great tool for discussion at the computer. CD-ROM. Formerly sold by Theatrix, it is good to see this title reappear.

Mindgame/MindLines

Machine: Win
Publisher: Clarity Language Consultants
Approximate single-unit price: 240
Purchase options: $60 per level ; network available
Level: Beginning, intermediate, advanced For: All
Description: A computerized version of one of Mario Rinvolucri's grammar games, combining language learning with strategy. It's a virtual boardgame based on the ancient Japanese game "Go" in which students must master an area of language in order to win. MindLines is the American English version while MindGame is the British English version. Students can play against each other or against the computer. Each of the five levels comes on a separate CD-ROM or as a compilation. It comes with an authoring component. A demo is available from the website.

Murder Mystery

Machine: Win
Publisher: Sky Software House
Approximate single-unit price: 100
Purchase options: lab, network
Level: Intermediate For: All but K-6
Description: Find the murderer by listening to different alibis and finding inconsistencies; discover the accomplice by finding mistakes in English usage. Multiple murder scenarios. Learners can choose the early intermediate or upper intermediate level. Much more interesting than your typical grammar program. British English.

Opinion Zone 1, 2, 3

Machine: Win
Publisher: Lingonet Oy
Approximate single-unit price: 90
Purchase options: 5-user, network
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: All but K-8
Description: Three separately CD-ROMs, each with different topics. Opinion Zone titles deal with the language of expressing opinions, built around a studio debate. The topics of these debates include Gun Law (Opinion Zone 1), European Union (Opinion Zone 2), and No More Roads (Opinions Zone 3). In addition to the studio material, Opinion Zone titles include a variety of interviews with people ranging from an Australian government minister to a street vendor. Opinion Zone titles are not intended to be self-contained courses; rather, they are classroom resources that teachers can call on to support an existing study programme. CD-ROM. See the website (http://www.lingonet.com) for demos and downloads.

Oregon Trail II

Machine: Mac/Win
Publisher: Learning Company, The
See also online/mail order
Approximate single-unit price: 50
Purchase options: lab pack, site license
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: All but K-6
Description: Students make decisions following a simulated trip along the Oregon Trail. They can choose the month and year to start, with different hazards accordingly. The program has excellent graphics and a lot of information is presented on screen in the course of the simulation. Includes digitized speech. This lends itself to use in cooperative learning plans where each student in a team has responsibility for monitoring different information. There are a lot of resources about this period such as pioneer journals that can be used effectively in conjunction with this program. Having the students keep a journal of their simulated trip also works well as an extension activity. Now sold only through mail order vendors. Windows 98/XP; Mac OS 9. Not verified on Vista or Mac OS X.

SimCity

Machine: Mac, Win
Publisher: Maxis Software
Approximate single-unit price: 20
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: All but K-6
Description: In this city simulation, learners plan and manage a city through periods of growth, recession, and various natural disasters. Getting started takes a fair bit of time and teacher work to prepare students, even at advanced levels. Once learners know the basics, however, the activity is very engaging. This works best as a group activity since many different areas need simultaneous attention to avoid the city's financial collapse and/or physical destruction. A Classic version is also available for free online at http://simcity3000unlimited.ea.com/us/guide/classic/simcityx/index.html.

Vox Pop

Machine: Win
Publisher: Lingonet Oy
Approximate single-unit price: 70
Purchase options: network
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: All but K-6
Description: This multimedia CD-ROM is based on forty-eight authentic video interviews recorded on the streets of Cambridge in England. The program is built around task-based activities in which learners use language to achieve real outcomes like reporting people's opinions on widely-discussed issues. This is supplemented with a closer look at some of the particular features of authentic everyday language. See the website for demos and downloads. British English.

Where in the World /USA/ Europe/America's Past/Time is Carmen Sandiego?

Machine: Mac/Win
Publisher: Learning Company, The
See also Learning Services
Approximate single-unit price: 15
Purchase options: lab, network, site, teacher's ed.
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: All but K-6
Description: Detective mystery/ adventure. Students need to use travel and geographic clues to solve the mystery. Engaging activity, especially in a group where each student has a role to play. Sold online/mail order only. Check product requirements carefully to be sure the version you are buying matches your equipment. Mac OS 7-9; Windows 3.1 to Vista, depending on the package.

Who is Oscar Lake?

Machine: Win,Mac
Publisher: Language Publications Interactive
See also online/mail order
Approximate single-unit price: 60
Level: Intermediate, advanced For: All
Special use: bilingual versions (Sp, Fr, Ger, It)
Description: CD-ROM interactive mystery. Versions are available in a variety of languages, so students could try it in their language first, then again in English. An English-only version is also available. Windows 98, 2000, ME, NT, and XP; Mac OS 8.


http://www.eltexpert.com/softlist/calldiscussion.html
Last updated 25 May 2009 by Deborah Healey, dhealey at uoregon dot edu
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