By Terry Currier
October 2008 issue
After seeing Microsoft demo Encarta years ago at one of the user group meetings, I went out and brought it. Iíve owned several versions of Encartaover the years. While my kids are out of school, I donít really need it as much. With the Internet you can look up many things. The reality though is itís much handier to have the information on your computer than to have to be constantly going out to look for it.
The Encarta Kids part is geared towards ages 7 and up. It can help young students with homework. It has offers articles, multimedia, and interactive games. For the older kids in grades 7-8 there is:
Microsoft Math will probably be the most useful to students (I can barely remember Algebra) it includes the following features:
Even if you are not a student the Encarta Dictionaries can be of use. You can double-click a word to quickly find the definition in the dictionary. The definition appears on the Dictionary tab. In addition there is a Thesaurus, and a Translations module to translate a word or phrase into another language. If youíre worried about what your kids may see there are parental controls available to exclude some words from the dictionary (but only the dictionary.)
For the student (or parent) wanting help to choose a college or wondering what is needed to get in, Encarta has two modules. College Prep will do things such as helping complete assignments, standardized test preparation, even help finding scholarships. Apply to College will help your college application stand out, and even show you online courses to help get a college degree online.
I truly wish I had this in school. For term papers I would have saved my hand cramping from copying the encyclopedia. Even so I still enjoyed doing the history and geography quizzes.
Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium 2008 $27 at Amazon.com
Winners is a member of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG) is an international, platform-independent, nonprofit corporation (incorporated in Washington, DC) devoted to helping user groups throughout the world. Almost 400 user groups are members of APCUG. http://www.apcug.net/