FACTORY WORKSHOP LAUNCHES WITH AN
BLUE RIBBON FROM TEACHING K-8 MAGAZINE!
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
Factory Word Processor
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Tool Factory, Inc.
- For press inquiries, please call Kendra Ericson at (802)375-6549 or
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