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CBI Third-Party Software Reviews

DayDream Interactive Whiteboard Charts: Music - A Resource

This was really excellent-although I didn't use all aspects with my class this year. I am really looking forward to exploring it further next year.
It really is an excellent resource for teaching the orchestra.The children were able to view images and sounds for every instrument, compare families and compare pitches of families.
The children became familiar with all the orchestral instruments. Previously neither myself nor the children would have any idea of how unusual instruments such as the celeste should sound. Using the board we were able to compare its sound to a variety of other percussion instruments and were even able to identify it as the instrument which plays the Harry Potter theme tune.
The ability to remove text and images was an added bonus.
One resource which teachers everywhere will love was the pitch section.This allows teachers to play all the tonic solfa notes without having to sing them themselves. It is a great aid to a singing lesson where teachers would often not be confident enough to sing the notes themselves.
I would love to see an extra section on Irish music which is were Daydream needs to go to sell it as an Irish resource. Also a section on rhythm using the ta,ta-and ti-ti names would be good. Overall an excellent resource. Although I haven't seen the other cd tilters from DayDream, judging from the sample cds the DayDream music resource would seem to be superior.
The additional cd was an added bonus but I don't know how applicable it would be to the Second Class curriculum. A nice additional resource but I don't know if it would sell on its own

DayDream Interactive Whiteboard Charts: Primary Maths

I have been using the 'Primary Maths' Daydream Software for the last few months with my class and I have found that the children's response has been great. As I teach 6th class I have found the software very helpful when revising a topic. In particular I found the area and perimeter chart excellent.

The best part of the software is the quiz function that accompanies each topic. The children love it and usually there is a large demand to come up and answer the question.

I have also installed the software on the P.C. in my classroom and the children use it independently or in pairs. I feel that the charts are excellent but only as means of introducing or revising a topic but may be better pitched to a 5th class level as some may be a bit basic for 6th.

Overall, the Daydream Charts are well laid out, very simple to use and the option to hide the text is very useful.

DayDream Interactive Whiteboard Charts: Music

I have used the 'Music' Daydream Software for the last few months with my class and I have found that the children's response has been good. I have particularly looked at the orchestra chart-the strings and the woodwind.

The charts are excellently laid out and the children loved listening to the different sounds made by the different instruments. The quizzes that follow are very helpful, however I did find that there were some questions that the answers were not covered in the charts and they were difficult for my class and I to answer.

The worksheets were also a lovely idea but again a little difficult and the answers were not covered in the charts.

However for teaching music they are an excellent resource for explaining concepts such as pitch.

Overall, the Daydream Charts are well laid out, very simple to use and the option to hide the text is very useful. But I think a teachers handbook would be very useful too.

Daydream Interactive Whiteboard Charts: Chemistry

The charts are very useful resources and are colourful with lovely animations, which attracts the student’s attention. I do however feel that the charts could be a little larger to make it easier to read the writing.

The quizzes are a good idea but overall a lot of the questions in the quizzes are too easy and the students lose interest and complain. The quizzes would be more beneficial if they were directly related to the junior cert course and slightly more challenging. It would also be a good idea to have a link to a complete list of the questions for each quiz so a teacher can review the questions in the quiz before class instead of having to do the quiz themselves which takes a lot of time.

The following is a list of comments in relation to each of the charts.

• The diagrams are lovely but some of the apparatus would be better if they were renamed to the names the students have to know:

• There are a lot of things moving on the screen, which makes it hard to focus the points of information e.g. the clouds.
• The statue of liberty and the falling pipe would be confusing for the students, as they wouldn’t see the relationship between the pictures and the properties of solids.
• The animated diagrams of the particles in the solid, liquid and gases are a very effective way of demonstrating the difference between solids, liquids and gases.
• The property “difficult to control” which is discussed in relation the solids, liquids and gases is a confusing concept for the students to understand.

• It is difficult to see the significance of the diagram of what looks like a waterfall.
• The diagram, which is to show that liquids take the shape of its container, might be better as a picture of juice instead of cola.

• The question in the quiz on liquids has too easy of questions at the beginning and the students lose interest. The questions towards the end about the particles are more appropriate for secondary school students. However some of the questions bring in other topics such as heat transfer and sound which students may not have covered before studying solids, liquids and gases.

Water Cycle
• The chart is very cluttered and one arrow representing evaporation and one representing condensation would be sufficient.
• It would be nice to have the water cycle animated.
• The questions in the quiz on the water cycle are more balanced for secondary school students.

Periodic table
• It’s nice to have wall chart of the periodic table but it’s a little hard to read the names of the elements on the table.
• The level of the questions on the periodic table are very good and the questions are based on the Junior cert course however there were a few questions that I feel should not be included as they are not relevant to the course e.g. the question about rate earth metals, the element in bulb and the link between group 1 and s group.

Separating mixtures
• The wall chart on separating mixtures is very nice particularly when you are able to remove the labels.
• The distillation diagram I feel should include a liebig condenser.
• The quiz was very good particularly the questions where you can drag and drop the correct method of separation to the relevant diagram however the question where it asks how many methods of separation and how many require heat are no benefit to the students learning.

DayDream Interactive Whiteboard Charts: Biology

I have used the interactive Biology CD with my Fifth-Year students. I found that the topics on the CD were well presented but only served as an introduction to a particular topic. The interactive diagrams are a good learning tool for weaker students. It is my opinion that the material is not of an adequate Leaving Cert standard for teachers to be enticed into buying it. That been said, the layout is excellent but much further development of the content is needed in order for it to be a valuable resource for secondary teachers. I feel the quizzes are a great way to get the whole class involved in recapping material. The students themselves found that the quizzes were too easy and were eager for more of a challenge!!!!!

As regards the interactive maths CD I think that the software is very good for junior certs that are doing foundation level maths. The posters or interactive whiteboard charts are visually appealing to students at this level. The charts are easy to use and colourful. Worksheets are similar to that of the material covered. I found the circle theorem and ratio charts aswell as transformations and trigonometry impressive.

DayDream Interactive Whiteboard Charts: Mathematics

The Fractions/Decimals/Percentages chart was suitable for weak First Years only. I enjoyed the Select Element features of the graphs and coordinates chart and the way the text and images can be switched on and off. This chart displays lines through the x and y-axes as well as lines with a negative gradient. If I had a First-Year class I would have used this CD to show students how to plot points and to show them the different quadrants of the graph as I feel these aspects are well illustrated. Reflection, rotation and lines of symmetry are easily understood from the symmetry wallchart. The images/text button is good to use with this chart as the students can guess beforehand where the lines of symmetry in the shape are.