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Demographic Changes in America: 1990-2000

By Alice Kurtz - Posted Nov 1, 2004
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REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:4 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Company: GeoLytics, Inc., P.O. Box 10, East Brunswick, NJ 08816; Phone: 800/577-6717; Fax: 732/651-2721; Internet: http://www.geolytics.com/.

Price: $249—single teaching copy, CD-ROM; $995—lab pack of 10 copies for student use. Network versions and site licenses are available.

Audience: High school to adult.

Format: CD-ROM: text, data.

Minimum System Requirements: For Windows systems only. Requires an Intel Pentium 3 processor, 256 MB RAM, 30­100 MB hard disk space, and a 4x CD-ROM drive. Runs on Microsoft Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, or XP.

Description: Demographic Changes in America: 1990­-2000 is an easy-to-use educational software program that enables secondary education teachers and college instructors to bring U.S. demographic data into the classroom. Students can generate reports and develop maps on a variety of variables including race, economics, education, languages, housing, urban development, and more. The CD provides students with census data from 1990 and 2000 that demonstrate changes in American population over time. Data sets can be run in a variety of formats. Thematic maps of selected boundaries or data can be generated, printed, or exported into word processing and graphic programs.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: The product was easily installed using the Installation Wizard on the CD. Complete installation directions are included in the User Guide that accompanies the CD. The user must carefully enter a serial number that accompanies the package. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Demographic Changes in America: 1990-2000 provides U.S. Census data that can allow for a study of change over time, both demographically and through detailed maps.

Five basic steps are required to produce files and maps. First, the user selects a region and the type of geographical units to be studied. States, counties, American Indian Reservations, or Congressional districts are among the units that can be chosen.

Next, a sub-area is selected. This is the level at which data will be viewed and presented. The sub-area can be as specifically defined as a ZIP code.

Step three is the selection of the variables or census counts that are to be included. A pull-down menu allows the selection of such variables as Race, Households, Education, Employment, Disabilities, Income, and more.

The next step is the name for the output file. This straightforward process is explained well in the user manual.

The final step is to decide whether you want data only or data and a base map.

A variety of options are available, including the following: Time Series, a summary report with both 1990 and 2000 data including percentages for all of the variables; Summary, recommended as a quick check of population sums; a Dbf-dBase-compatible data table for importation into statistical and spreadsheet programs; ASCII for importing to statistical and spreadsheet programs; Map, which allows the map to be exported into mapping software packages or saved in bitmap format.

For the most part, data extraction is rapid.

There are a number of classroom uses for the Demographic Changes in America: 1990-2000 CD. Data and maps for learning about U.S. history, social studies, geography, economics, urban studies, business and marketing, real estate, mathematics, and statistics are easily used by the teacher to set up real-life problems for students to solve. Once students have been instructed in the use of the CD, they will be able to run reports and create maps to enhance their understanding of demographic trends over time.

One suggested lesson might be a look at the students' locale, allowing them to develop an answer to the question, "Who lives in your city?" After a thorough exploration of the data, the students could also be challenged with a question such as, "Based on what you've learned, could you create a jury of your peers?"

Another way the data can be used in the classroom is to show how maps and statistics sometimes don't give a full story by themselves. What appears to be a high concentration of a specific racial group on a map may only be a small percentage when viewed statistically.

The information available on the CD is available online through the Census Bureau, but to gather similar data from that site would be a time-consuming process. The CD allows for ease of use and temporal comparisons. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: The CD is relatively easy to use. The interface is user-friendly with icons and pull-down menus. I was able to generate a report in just a few minutes by simply reading the user guide headings.

Reports are automatically saved. If you don't name your report, it can be found as noname in a sub-directory.

The on-screen help menu is very useful for quick answers when first working with the CD. The clear and easy-to-follow user guide includes a complete discussion of the variables found in the program along with a section of Frequently Asked Questions. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: As mentioned above, the CD is accompanied by a very clear User guide. The disc also has an included help section. A prompt bar is found at the bottom of each screen; it offers automatic advice for the next step in the report creation process. Online help is available at http://
www.geolytics.com. Tech support is also reached by phone at 732/651-2721 or support@geolytics.com. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: The Demographic Changes in America: 1990-2000 CD provides an easy way for students to learn to use U.S. Census information.

The product allows students to have an in-depth understanding of trends in the nation, to explore real world problems in modern U.S. history, and to enrich their independent studies in geography, history, economics, and mathematics. The mapping capabilities add an extra dimension to the data. The data collections would certainly be invaluable to a policy debate team.

The user guide is clear and a benefit to the teacher. This product also offers the teacher free technical support to master the use of the CD.

If temporal analysis or ease of learning is an objective, then this CD is an excellent option. Highly recommended.


 
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