Identifier: The Identifier provides information about the frame or movie that is currently displayed by the player. If the videodisc has database files about the images on the disc, then lessons can be prepared by searching the database and including the descriptions in slideshow notes.
Remote Control: This feature allows the computer to act as a remote control in selecting and playing video clips. Any selected clip can be added to the clipboard for putting together a slideshow. An interesting feature of the remote control is the Quick Quiz Machine(or Slot Machine). This will randomly choose and display frames from within a defined range, set by the “start movie” and “end movie” fields. Students can quiz themselves by trying to identify an image, and then clicking the Identifier button in the header bar to see if they were correct.
Button Maker: A variety of different types of buttons can be created on a Hypercard stack in order to make interactive lessons. Text and graphic features allow you to create concept maps, flow charts, and outlines that access specific frames and video clips from the disc. This option can be used to create a lesson from scratch or to enhance a preexisting slideshow list.
Slideshow: The Slideshow program is where you can arrange custom lists of still frames, movies, graphics, sounds and text for presentation. By editing a slide, you can add overlay text or vary the speed at which it is played. The list of slides can be run at preset durations or be manually controlled. Descriptive notes can also be added for each slide to create worksheets or lectures notes that will activate the slides by using “hotlinks”. This portion of MediaMAX allows you the greatest flexibility in creating lessons.
Notes & Barcodes: A Slideshow list can be printed out using barcodes to access the video frames, in place of the hotlinks. This option can also be directly opened from the Main Menu, to allow students to write reports to be presented to class. The barcodes can be saved to the Scrapbook file of the Macintosh for later use in a word processing file. Only videodisc slides can be used to make barcodes. To play a movie, you can make a barcode for the first frame of the clip, then play the movie once it has been activated.
Lessons: This option is used to access pre-made, interactive tutorials or presentations. These Hypercard lessons can be commercially prepared or homemade. The advantage of making your own lessons is that you can customize them to meet your particular needs.
The new CD-ROM interactive encyclopedias are designed to provide easy access to a wide variety of information. All of the written text found in a complete set of print encyclopedias make up only a small portion of the material on the disc. Besides more than 25,000 articles, there are hours of sounds, music, and speech; thousands of images, maps, charts and graphs; a hundred animations and video clips; an illustrated timeline of world history; an interactive atlas; and a complete dictionary. The software program used to search through the information, sort and organize it, and then incorporate it into a report is the foundation of the interactive encyclopedia. This elevates the process of research far beyond the mere collection of facts and figures. A higher level of thinking is required to logically piece the information together. Students and teachers can explore the inter-relationships between concepts taught in different courses to provide an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Cause-and-effect events help to illustrate this point.
Since the CD-ROM encyclopedias are minature laservideodiscs, the same type of classroom applications are possible. Teachers can organize information from the encyclopedia to support or review material presented in lecture. The research layouts prepared can be saved onto a floppy disk and re-opened later, when needed. A sequence of information can be presented for student observation and analysis. Small group-collaborative learning lends itself to assigning a research topic/problem to be explored. When computer access time is limited, this research can be included as an alternate class activity, and the outcomes reported to the rest of the class by the smaller group. Disc based quizzes can be led by the teacher accessing pre-selected information, or by the individual student searching for the answers to written questions. Since the computer is an integral part of the CD-ROM technology, the students will be utilizing its logical capabilities. The power and ease of use of these interactive encyclopedias allows the students to directly control their learning. This results in more interest and enthusiasm in class.
There are several interactive encyclopedias currently available. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The top three based upon consumer reports and personal evaluations are Compton's , Encarta and Grollier's. Key features for consideration are: ease of accessing information, options for creating reports, computer memory requirements and, of course, cost. Compton's™ allows the greatest flexibility to access information, opening more than thirty windows at once. However, pictures and charts can not be printed out directly from the program. Encarta, on the other hand, allows images to be printed along with the written text, but it is more restrictive in opening the different types of information. Before buying any of these programs, they can be previewed at most local computer stores to determine if they meet your particular needs.