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CLEARVUE/eav's Universal Themes in Literature (School Edition)

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This CD-ROM by CLEARVUE is about common themes that have been observed in literature over the ages. It starts with stories of ancient civilizations carried through to modern times. After a brief introduction, the material of the CD compares Odysseus and the epochal tale of the Odyssey to Arthur C. Clark's modern 2001: A Space Odyssey, pointing to similarities between Odysseus' strange journey and the strange world of Clark's science-fiction story. The narrative includes QuickTime movies in small windows that illustrate each point. The flow of the narrative and the quality of the overall seamless presentation are impressive.

Several story plots are offered by a number of different authors, with a QuickTime movie sequence or other graphic highlighting each. There are nine different topics covered: introduction; individual as hero; individual and cosmos; individual and nature; individual and society; individual and family; individual and individual; individual and self; and a summary. Whether you agree with the divisional topics or not, each topic is duly covered with quotations from p'ems, readings from novels, excerpts from plays in QuickTime and plenty of graphics. In the topic "individual and cosmos," the concept of creation was mentioned as a common thread among all human cultures. This is true, of course, but this topic sometimes offends members of our society today. Be assured that the topic is tactfully presented and should offend no one. However, be warned that the oppression of blacks and the topic of war is covered. Concerning war, the early notion of war as noble fighting between brave warriors is contrasted with the darker side of war, the senselessness of killing, the fear of death and the horror of combat.

The material presented is brief in its duration but rich with quotations from literary figures, such as William Shakespeare, Alfred Lloyd Tennyson, Henry David Thoreau and Edgar Allan P'e. The CD is easy to navigate; a VCR tool made stopping, starting and repeating segments easy; and a complete navigation menu is also offered, making the different topics easy to find. There are also common themes in literature that the material on this CD easily demonstrates. While a case could be made for a more complete discography of titles and examples of text of various authors, I tend to agree with the concept here - keep it simple, make your points clear and precise, and get it over with.

In addition, the CD offers a vocabulary builder section at the bottom of the screen. This presents 50 vocabulary words and concepts that are used in the material. This screen has a Presentation Manager that allows you to take any segment of the material from a panel, move it into another panel and organize a unique lesson from the material. This makes it as easy or difficult as your needs require. Printing options are offered here as well. Not having a lot of time to use the CD, I created several customized lessons from the material for my students. I drew the lessons from some of the nine topics, some from the appropriate vocabulary words, then created an associated customized quiz in a matter of minutes. I saved this to a disk and got a complete, mini lesson.

My students are seventh- and eighth-graders, the age group the CD seems to be targeting. The CD runs easily on just about any Macintosh, requiring no installation and running directly from the CD. CLEARVUE has gotten this part right from the start. The Mac hardware requirements are a 68040/33 MHz processor or better, OS version 7 or later, 16 MB of RAM, and at least a quad-speed CD-ROM drive. Windows requires a Pentium processor or better, Windows 95 or later, 16 MB of RAM, and at least a quad-speed CD-ROM drive. Note that QuickTimeinstallation is located on the disk for both Windows and Mac operating systems.

 

Ken L. Foster
Computer Lab Instructor
Gila Vista Junior High
Yuma, AZ

 

Contact Information
CLEARVUE/eav
Chicago, IL
(800) 253-2788
www.clearvue.com

 

TX@XOpenTag000his CD-ROM by CLEARVUE is about common themes that have been observed in literature over the ages. It starts with stories of ancient civilizations carried through to modern times. After a brief introduction, the material of the CD compares Odysseus and the epochal tale of the Odyssey to Arthur C. Clark's modern 2001: A Space Odyssey, pointing to similarities between Odysseus' strange journey and the strange world of Clark's science-fiction story. The narrative includes QuickTime movies in small windows that illustrate each point. The flow of the narrative and the quality of the overall seamless presentation are impressive.

Several story plots are offered by a number of different authors, with a QuickTime movie sequence or other graphic highlighting each. There are nine different topics covered: introduction; individual as hero; individual and cosmos; individual and nature; individual and society; individual and family; individual and individual; individual and self; and a summary. Whether you agree with the divisional topics or not, each topic is duly covered with quotations from p'ems, readings from novels, excerpts from plays in QuickTime and plenty of graphics. In the topic "individual and cosmos," the concept of creation was mentioned as a common thread among all human cultures. This is true, of course, but this topic sometimes offends members of our society today. Be assured that the topic is tactfully presented and should offend no one. However, be warned that the oppression of blacks and the topic of war is covered. Concerning war, the early notion of war as noble fighting between brave warriors is contrasted with the darker side of war, the senselessness of killing, the fear of death and the horror of combat.

The material presented is brief in its duration but rich with quotations from literary figures, such as William Shakespeare, Alfred Lloyd Tennyson, Henry David Thoreau and Edgar Allan P'e. The CD is easy to navigate; a VCR tool made stopping, starting and repeating segments easy; and a complete navigation menu is also offered, making the different topics easy to find. There are also common themes in literature that the material on this CD easily demonstrates. While a case could be made for a more complete discography of titles and examples of text of various authors, I tend to agree with the concept here - keep it simple, make your points clear and precise, and get it over with.

In addition, the CD offers a vocabulary builder section at the bottom of the screen. This presents 50 vocabulary words and concepts that are used in the material. This screen has a Presentation Manager that allows you to take any segment of the material from a panel, move it into another panel and organize a unique lesson from the material. This makes it as easy or difficult as your needs require. Printing options are offered here as well. Not having a lot of time to use the CD, I created several customized lessons from the material for my students. I drew the lessons from some of the nine topics, some from the appropriate vocabulary words, then created an associated customized quiz in a matter of minutes. I saved this to a disk and got a complete, mini lesson.

My students are seventh- and eighth-graders, the age group the CD seems to be targeting. The CD runs easily on just about any Macintosh, requiring no installation and running directly from the CD. CLEARVUE has gotten this part right from the start. The Mac hardware requirements are a 68040/33 MHz processor or better, OS version 7 or later, 16 MB of RAM, and at least a quad-speed CD-ROM drive. Windows requires a Pentium processor or better, Windows 95 or later, 16 MB of RAM, and at least a quad-speed CD-ROM drive. Note that QuickTimeinstallation is located on the disk for both Windows and Mac operating systems.

 

Ken L. Foster
Computer Lab Instructor
Gila Vista Junior High
Yuma, AZ

 

X@XCloseTag000X@XOpenTag002X@XOpenTag001Contact Information
X@XCloseTag001X@XCloseTag002X@XOpenTag003CLEARVUE/eav
X@XCloseTag003
X@XOpenTag004Chicago, IL
(800) 253-2788
www.clearvue.comX@XCloseTag004

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2001 issue of THE Journal.

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