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High-Tech Help for Students

That noise you hear is probably the collective groan of students decrying the last days of summer…. Or maybe it’s the collective sigh of weary parents. Probably both.

It’s “back to school” time again. Perhaps now, while there are still a few days before the first bells ring, is the best time to prepare your computer… and your student… for the academic year ahead.

UTTM Computer Consultant John Quain has the following suggestions:

Microsoft Encarta Reference Library
The Encarta Reference Library, on CD's or DVD, is $75. The Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2003 also comes with an extensive encyclopedia and quite a few extras, including a book of quotations, a dictionary, a thesaurus and an atlas. Both have plenty of video, audio and pictures as well as homework helper tools.

Encyclopedia Britannica 2003 Ultimate Reference Suite
This set costs about $60, or less in some stores; the CDs or DVD
comes with three encyclopedias: the big 32-volume set, a lighter version for students and another for those in the early elementary grades. You also get two Merriam-Webster dictionaries, two thesauruses, an atlas and thousands of images, animations and videos.

The Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia
This software costs $30, and comes on two CD's. It includes a 60,000-article encyclopedia, a world atlas and a student research center

Mind Power Math High School
This software set costs $30 and is available for Windows and Mac. It supports the Nation Education Standards and covers a review section, algebra, stats, geometry, trig, and calculus. It uses informational graphics, animations, and audio explanations, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee if test scores don’t improve. There’s also a Middle School version.

Princeton Review Inside the SAT and ACT
Also $30, and also available for Windows and Macs. This package includes diagnostic and skill assessment so you can work on weak areas, helps to keep track of your progress; and if nothing else it helps build confidence.

There are also a host of web sites that can help with your child’s homework. Click on some of the links on the right side of this page to discover them.

And remember these other tips:

Check your school’s web site, local library web site; many give students free access to databases like Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe that would otherwise be too expensive for most families.

If you’re thinking about buying a computer, ask if there’s a student discount, companies like Gateway and Apple often have promotional price reductions for students at this time of year; even Optimum Online, which is Cablevision’s high-speed cable Internet service has a special savings bond promotion right now - as they say, it couldn’t hurt to ask!

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