PLATO'S TOP CLASSES: A SAMPLE
Education made excitingby MICHAEL CIRAOLO
Antic Staff Writer
This is the beginning of the Zeiss Planetarium, one of Plato's more
popular learning programs. Filenamed OZeiss, this model planetarium
displays star maps and other celestial information for the northern skies
at any hour of any year from 950 A.D. to 2950 A.D.
After Plato has loaded the program, you are presented with a menu, which includes an introduction, a catalog of 500 celestial objects available, star charts and a model planetarium-which fills an 8-inch by 5-inch oval window on your screen with graphics of stars, nebulae, galaxies and planets.
Plato's Planetarium has more information than is easily viewed on a standard monitor. This is an opportunity for you to use the joystick: the button will zoom in your view of the screen, and the joystick moves the close-up window around.
The Zeiss planetarium gives you a library of astronomical information at your fingertips and adds a new dimension to star gazing.
Parents and younger Plato users will find Obees an excellent beginning math game to teach subtraction. You are presented with a beehive, which you fill with two to nine bees. You let bees in and out of the hive as Plato asks you how many are left inside. The catch: you can't see inside the hive unless you use "X-ray" device to peek in and help yourself
One of Plato's vocabulary drills, OvocO, teaches Latin roots and English vocabulary. The computer congratulates you for correct answers and won't let you proceed until you make the right. choice. Help is always available, and you can flip back to prior pages of notes and information.
More advanced technical lessons, Odigestion and Oosmosis, use animation, detailed graphics and text. Diagrams illustrate the duodenum or a semipermeable membrane. You can choose introductory lessons, experiments or quizzes from the menu.
Plato's most popular computer science lesson is called Oroboint, an introduction to the Robocar programming language devised for teaching introductory computer programming. Designed for newcomers to programming, Robocar teaches simple commands which will move a robot car around a city. With the car, you see the immediate results of your programming while learning the fundamental principles of programming.