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TOOL FACTORY WORKSHOP LAUNCHES WITH AN

EDITOR'S CHOICE BLUE RIBBON FROM TEACHING K-8 MAGAZINE!

East Dorset, VT. August 9, 2001- Radar screens in schools across North America are tracking a new suite of student software. In a galaxy cluttered with old software products, the appearance of a new star called Tool Factory Workshop has teachers, parents, and students genuinely excited. The flagship product of the Vermont company Tool Factory, Inc., Tool Factory Workshop is a suite of educational tools designed to meet the needs of diverse learners by integrating a myriad of media types. It launched this month, and has already been selected as the Editor's Choice Blue Ribbon Software for back-to-school by Linda Lindroth at Teaching K-8 Magazine.

Within five months of its launch in the United Kingdom by Granada Learning, this unique software was being used in 25% of the elementary schools. Since then Granada Learning's suites of tools and applications have become the best-selling software into UK elementary schools, selling 30,000 units in March alone. The U.S. version of Granada Toolkit launched under the name Tool Factory Workshop and has been adapted to meet the needs of American students and teachers. It has all the wonderful features of Granada's original, plus banks of words, sounds, videos, graphics and digital photographs to inspire American students. Tool Factory Workshop consists of Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Database, and Painter applications, as well as Bank Manager and Administrator modules. The entire suite uses a consistent interface, making it easy for students to move from one application to the next. For this reason and many others, Tool Factory Workshop has been dubbed, "The most student-friendly office suite ever built!"

 

Tool Factory Word Processor

With Tool Factory Word Processor, projects such as book reports, essays, stories, flyers, greeting cards, history reports, and pen pal letters become wonderful opportunities for students to express their creativity in sophisticated ways. It's as easy as pencil and paper. Click anywhere on the page, and just start typing. A bank with hundreds of video, audio, and graphics lives right on the desktop, and any media item can be dropped in with easy mouse clicks. Simply grab the corners to resize any object on the page, including text and video. Rotation is as easy as grabbing the handle in the center of any selected media item. Word banks supply students with literary terms, words related to the Civil Rights Movement, commonly misspelled words, and dozens of other vocabulary words to inspire writing about all sorts of topics. Users can even send their projects as email messages with The Incredible Emailer, a fun feature built right into the program.

 

Tool Factory Spreadsheet

This is no ordinary spreadsheet program. More accessible to students than other software of its kind, it includes all the conventional spreadsheet functions, but adds several multimedia features that make creating spreadsheets both more fun and more effective. Any worksheet cell can be enhanced with pictures, videos, and sound effects from the bank. Easy-to-use calculation and graphing features take the intimidation out of spreadsheets for students. Tool Factory Spreadsheet can be used to generate projects and presentations in all subjects across the curriculum. Plus teachers can generate interactive step-by-step instructions to help kids get through the learning process.

 

Tool Factory Painter

No workshop would be complete without a Painter program, and this one is packed with powerful tools for creating true works of art. Special effects include, wash, ripple, paint, and swirl, and one feature even turns pictures and photos into stamps. A whole array of color palettes makes students feel like painters at their computer canvas. Adding photos, audio, video, drawings, and text to a page produces amazing collages, posters, flyers, project covers, and whatever else students' imaginations inspire.

 

Tool Factory Database

Students collect, sort, and graph data with Tool Factory Database. As with the other programs in the suite, Database provides students with tools to enhance projects with multimedia features. For example, a local history database project may include photographs of local sites and recordings of interviews with local people, as well as important statistical data. Students have control over the layout of each page, and can rearrange the fields simply by clicking and dragging each one. A robust graphing engine makes sorting and analyzing data a breeze.

 

Bank Manager

Although the bank is jam-packed with hundreds of clip art files, teachers may still find it useful to add their own items using the Bank Manager. For example, a teacher designing a unit about insects can enter a vocabulary list, a collection of diagrams and photographs of insects, sound bytes of crickets and bees, and even videos of bugs at work! It takes only moments to type in new word lists, search for files on the hard drive, and attach keywords to facilitate student searching. All this is done through a simple, on-screen interface. Then, when students enter the program, all the new material is right there at their fingertips, ready to be integrated into rich projects. Bank Manager is included with each Tool Factory Workshop program.

Tool Factory Administrator

Yet another feature that distinguishes Tool Factory Workshop from other products on the market is the Administrator module that is also included with each program in the suite. Through this easy-to-use interface, teachers can set up classes and customize each of the four programs for every individual student. The customizing is done simply by removing any features of the programs that may be too advanced or distracting for a particular student. The Administrator Module is especially useful for teachers with a class of diverse learners whose abilities range widely from subject to subject. It's also great for special educators and early elementary teachers, as they can simplify each program's interface initially, and then gradually add features as students develop their software abilities.

Minimum System Requirements

Pentium PC, Win95+, 32 Mb RAM, 16 bit color graphics 800X600, CD-ROM drive. The speech engine feature is available on Windows 98 or higher.

Mac OS 8.0, 24 Mb RAM, 800x600, CD-ROM Drive.

Product Ordering Information

Tool Factory Workshop can be ordered by calling (800) 220-8386. Fax orders to (802) 375-6860, or send to Tool Factory, Inc., 3336 Sunderland Hill Rd., Sunderland, Vermont 05250. Printable order forms are available at www.toolfactory.com

About Tool Factory

Tool Factory conducted an exhaustive search for unique educational software in various markets around the globe. Their flagship product line consists of 17 educational software tools, which were hand-picked for their innovative contribution to computer-based learning. To complement the tools and applications, Tool Factory is also distributing an extensive range of curriculum titles throughout North America. Their first catalog includes over 100 CD-ROM products, most of which are new releases in North America.

Media Contacts

Tool Factory, Inc. - For press inquiries, please call Kendra Ericson at (802)375-6549 or email kendra@toolfactory.com

Teaching K-8 Magazine - To visit Teaching K-8 Magazine, please link to:

http://www.teachingk-8.com