Term 2 1992
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Primary School application of CD-ROM
Andrew Perry, well-known as the editor of Access, is the teacher- librarian at Vermont Primary School in Victoria. The school was named this year as an Apple Technology Site.
To support the curriculum initiatives taking place at the school, a computerised information network (lnfonet) has been developed which links twelve Macintosh computers, printers, a modem and CD-ROM player via cabling, to a central file server. This provides access from classrooms, library and staff room to a variety of resources including the library catalogue, the CD-ROM discs, wordprocessing, desktop publishing and other software.
Andrew has been using CDROM technology for about two years. It is formally introduced to students at Grade 2 level as one resource for locating and extracting information. The Grolier encyclopedia is popularly used by these young students who locate information using the title and picture search facilities. By Grade 6 students can use the keyboard search facilities and some are beginning to develop strategies to narrow their searches.
Students can access the CD-ROM either from their classrooms or the library. Classroom access is facilitated by the use of E- Mail messaging on the Infonet system. The classroom teacher can send a message via the computer to request access to a particular CD-ROM disc. The discs are all housed centrally, in the library. Once the message is received, the requested disc is placed in the CD-ROM player. Students can also access the CD-ROM informally during lunch-time and recess in the library.
CD-ROM discs currently used at Vermont include the Grolier encyclopedia. Avalanche, CIA world fact book, Guiness disc of records, Explore and Whole Earth Catalog. The biggest problem that Andrew perceives is that there are not enough CD-ROMs suitable for primary students. There is a real need for discs with Australian content and coverage of topics such as insects, dinosaurs, mammals, an atlas and Australian history.