Polyester, a company that makes instructional software for K-8 communities, offers products that aren’t Mac compatible … yet.
However, their Scribblebug and Firefly products will be coming to the Mac platform in the future. Current versions of the products are being showcased at this week’s National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) in San Antonio, TX.
Scribblebug is a writing and communications software package. The technology helps grade 2-6 educators teach fundamental writing structures such as narrative, expository and compare & contrast. Thanks to interactive prompts, it helps children through the process of writing, from brainstorming and organizing to drafting and editing, Polyester vice president of marketing, James Selfe, told MacCentral.
Created to meet NCTE standards, Scribblebug offers assessment tools that enable teachers to import content from DOE rubrics and checklists. The program leverages school networks to enable electronic exchange of information. This function supports peer-to-peer evaluations, helps students practice writing skills with e-lettters and e-postcards, and guarantees safe, COPPA-compliant experiences for all users.
Firefly brings the skills of Web-based research to the K-8 set, by simplifying the sourcing, collection and classification of online data. It was created around the very special needs of K-8 students with the goal of simplifying the sourcing, collection and classification of Web-based information. Firefly helps children retrieve text, pictures, sounds and videos, regardless of their formats. Through a series of interactive prompts, the software also helps students think about their research results, and clearly identify and manage the content found on the Web.
Beyond helping children master essential productivity skills, Firefly stimulates learning through interaction with technology, Selfe said. The software develops cognitive abilities associated with research and enhances the meaning, value and context of Internet-based content for K-8 students.
The products are Java-based, so the move to the Mac platform is only natural, Paul Cirka, president and CEO of Polyester, told MacCentral. The products will run on Mac OS X, taking advantage of the operating system’s Java Virtual Machine. Why the delay in coming to the platform?
“Educators aren’t early adopters of new technology, but things have progressed to the point where we’re working on bringing our products to Mac OS X,” Cirka said. “And the Mac has significant marketshare in education, especially in the elementary area, and that’s not going to change.”
But Polyester isn’t rushing to get out Mac OS X versions of Scribblebug and Firefly. Expect to see finished versions in time for NECC 2003, which gives more time for the Mac OS X penetration of the education market to grow, Circa said.