Software for computer control
From Logotron Web: www.logo.com
Verdict: Good for ages 11-12 though a bit too hard for its intended younger audience. Much too good to dismiss: if youre prepared to learn it you can teach with it.
Suitable for purpose 3 out of 5
Value 4 out of 5
Logotrons Junior Control Insight is a breakthrough in software for teaching computer control. The curriculum area, that lies somewhere between ICT and design & technology, is one of the must dos in school. The idea is to give pupils a perch on the workings of clever things we often start by understanding car park barriers and use these to underpin cleverer things like how the rides work at Alton Towers.
This software takes a new approach to all that for example no longer need do you write a computer program which reads like, when input two is on turn on output one. Instead, you click buttons and end up with a sentence that reads when the door gets opened, turn on the light. Now rid of this control-voodoo, if you can read even bad grammar, you can work out what will happen.
While the program will control a real control interface box, but you can for once do without any hardware. You drag switches, motors and modules on a picture on screen and then link them together. You edit the modules so that when something happens things might switch on. You can arrange the switches and so on in a real scene like a childs bedroom or in another screen, or instead see how to wire things up on a control box.
So far, so brilliant and if you approach this right so it will remain. The key tip is that its best to work with the six on-screen projects supplied. Each is at a level of completeness, ranging from raw to finished. Starting with half-done versions, pupils from around the top of primary can use them.
To approach this wrong is to try to build a system from scratch. Not helping simplicity here are too many ways (toolbars, menus, and different views) to do the same thing and a tricky, cavernous dialogue box. But summon the patience to negotiate this, and a breakthrough will be at hand: at last you can do control with very little equipment.