Walk into any computer software center and youll find yourself up to your neck in an ocean of attractively packaged programs that make a variety of promises. Some offer all the graphics youll ever need, while others claim to be the ultimate in desktop publishing programs. Some claim to offer children all they need to be great readers, mathematicians or writers, but very few programs offer everything in one package, and those that claim to are often unwieldy and complicated. But Leonardo, a software program from NEC, offers everything from sophisticated presentation, desktop publishing and word processing capabilities to impressive educational applications.
At James Madison Elementary, a K-5 School in Madera, Calif., we have been pleasantly surprised to find out just how much Leonardo has to offer and how quickly it can be learned. With all of our classrooms wired for Internet access, Madison teachers have struggled for creative ways to tap into this resource. Leonardo, with its direct connection to the Internet, provides an excellent solution.
Sitting in a training session in the schools computer lab, teachers began to think of how they could use Leonardo in their classrooms. Leos amazing animation capabilities and its ability to capture information from the Web or directly link to live Web sites generated some great discussion. Teachers came up with a variety of ideas for using Leonardo to embellish their social studies, science, math and fine arts curricula in the intermediate grades, while primary teachers talked about ways to use Leonardos vast graphics library to get children to write and illustrate stories or to develop language skills. The possibilities are impressive.
Leonardo offers a combination of versatile tools such as paint, animation, a large library of graphics, a Web browser and button technology, all in a simple menu-driven format. Students at any level can use these tools to create state-of-the-art presentations on any topic, or to do research for classroom assignments. For a program that offers so much, Leonardo is surprisingly user-friendly. Its wonderful to have a program that can enhance learning and excite children about the curriculum. It enables educators to tap into the Web and use its tremendous resources in meaningful ways. Leonardo belongs in every classroom. Its powerful stuff.
Platform: Windows 95 or higher
Price: Single $135.95
25 Licenses $1,599.95
Additional pricing information
available on Web site
San Jose, CA
James Madison Elementary School
This article originally appeared in the 09/01/2000 issue of THE Journal.