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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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Holt Middle School Science and Technology

By Sally Finley - Posted Nov 1, 2004
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REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Located online at http://www.hrw.com/.

Source: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 10801 N. MoPac Expy, Building 3, Austin, TX 78759; Telephone: 800/225-5425 or 512/721-7000; E-mail: tschrw@hrwtechsupport.com; Internet: http://www.hrw.com/.

Access Fee: Pricing begins at about $57 per student. A complete pricing guide for subscriptions to online material, print textbooks, related resources, resources in Spanish, and more is available at http://www.hrw.com.

Audience: Grades 6-12.

Format: Web site: text, graphics, audio, video.

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows systems: Pentium processor, 300 MHz, Windows 95/NT 4.0/98 Second Edition/2000/ME or XP, 800 x 600 screen resolution. Internet Explorer 5.5 is the recommended browser.

Macintosh systems: Power PC 7600, OS 8.0, 800 x 600 screen resolution. Internet Explorer 5.1 is the recommended browser.

A minimum of 32 MB RAM is required; 64 MB is recommended. A modem connection of at least 56K is required, although broadband or a DSL Internet connection will provide better performance.

This site requires the most recent Macromedia Flash and Shockwave Player plug-ins available from the Macromedia download site.

Description: The online versions of Holt Science and Technology for Middle School—covering Life Science, Earth Science and Physical Science—include the entire textbook in an online edition, as well as multimedia presentations that review main concepts, Web links, general resources for interactive learning experiences, and assessment tools.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Access: The Web site is located at http://www.hrw.com/ and requires a user name and password. The home page loaded easily and is easy to navigate. Performance is best using a broadband or DSL connection. Installation/Access Rating: A

Content/Features: The Holt online middle school science texts contain four components:

• The Book Pages provide an online duplicate of the printed textbook.

• The Quick Concepts offer interactive sections to reinforce text learning. The slide show presentation tool can be used for student study and teacher presentation.

• The Practice and Review Interactive Tutors review the main points of each chapter with interactive multimedia help. Sample Problems provide interactive examples of how science uses mathematics to solve problems. Concept map activities provide additional practice of key textbook topics. Self-Check Quizzes review chapter concepts and provide instant feedback.

• The sciLINKS Web site keywords offer opportunities for learning extension tied to specific textbook topics. Additional chapter resources and quizzes are available at go.hrw.com.

The Holt One-Stop Planner with Test Generator is a teacher resource containing teacher guides, masters, and visual resources to plan and manage lessons that complement the textbook. The Planner includes audio and video segments, print resources, lesson plans that can be edited, links to Internet activities, a test generator, and a clip art library. The Holt Grapher allows students to create graphs using information from their classroom experiments.

A Learning Management Center provides access to class and student rosters. The Student Group Manager permits teachers and students to highlight and annotate text.

The Assignment Manager can be used by teachers to assign specific resources, state standards tests, and teacher-created test generator tests for assessment or practice. This feature can also track scores and grades.

Teachers can select up to nine settings for each assessment, including students who will receive the assignment, date(s) and hours of access, number of times the assessment can be taken, five options for recording test scores, time constraints, pause and resume features, randomization of questions, student ability to view the scores, and access to a test after it has been scored.

The Student Performance Manager allows teachers to view and generate class or student performance reports, as well as to evaluate student notebook exercises and writing. The Tools section includes the Teacher Home Page Builder. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: The home page offers a screen interface that is easy to navigate, while providing access to each of the site's features. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: A technical support line connects the user with trained support analysts at a toll-free telephone number (800/323-9239). Technical support also is available online at http://www.hrwtechsupport.com/ or by e-mail to tschrw@hrwtech
support.com.

A How-To-Use section describes each component in detail and provides step-by-step instructions. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Middle school teachers using the Holt, Rinehart and Winston science textbooks will find the online version a useful tool in their classrooms. Specific text can be highlighted and annotated. Web links to additional resources on the Web provide reinforcement and extension of lessons.

Struggling readers who sometimes need assistance in determining the most important concepts within a chapter will find the concept maps, interactive tutors, and visual concepts focusing on the main chapter content to be useful aids.

The Teacher Management Center is excellent, offering many time-saving tools for the teacher. After setting up a test or assessment activity, the teacher has a variety of options regarding who will take the assessment, when it will be given, and how it will be scored. Students can be given the opportunity to retake an assessment up to five times with scoring determined by the teacher.

This online resource will be welcomed by parents who want to assist their students at home. Parents can view their child's progress through scores posted online for various assessments.

The easy access to current and age-appropriate Web sites is a beneficial tool for today's busy teacher. The sites I explored were current, safe, and informative. Students would definitely enjoy the aesthetically pleasing format and quick access to timely topics. Outstanding!


 
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