Software Critique

Title of Software: Rocket Reader
Website
Description of Software: Rocket Reader is a speed reading software designed for different age groups and reading levels. This software program contains many lessons, speed reading tests, tests on comprehension, and various other materials that can aide in sujects such as: Science, Literature, Story Telling, and History among a few. The best feature of this software is the instructions being offered in 5 languages: Spanish, English, French, German, Italian and Portuguese. Although this software is used to improve the reading speed and comprehension of Individuals, it helps people who are less proficient in English to understand the instructions that will guide them through their journey of learning. Rocket Reader helps children learn how to read and helps adults learn how to read more complex texts. The database includes 60,000 phrases and about 28,000 different words which the reader has a control over. In addition to all the features it has, this software tracks the progress of the reader, as well as creating a progress report showing the grade level, reading speed and comprehension of the user.
Ease of Installation and Use:  Rocket reader is very easy and quick to install with many different platforms, including Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 98, Windows ME, and Windows NT. The user can directly download the software from the website, not having to wait for it to be mailed. A free trial version is available which allows the user to try Rocket Reader for 10 days.
Price: $89
Evaluation: 69/75

Criteria Poor-1      Below       Average-2     Average-3       Above    Average-4 Excellent-5 Total Points
             
Content            
Content Accuracy        x
        
 4
Content age apropriateness          x  5
Educational Value          x  5
Organization/Presentation/Layout        x    4
             
Ease of Use            
Ease of Navigation          x
 5
Covers a variety of Skill levels          x  5
Learner Engagement/Interactivity          x  5
             
Technical Aspects            
Ease of Installation          x  5
Hardware          x
   4
Graphics/Multimedia           x
   4
             
Assessment            
Treatment of Errors/Feedback          x  5
Record-Keeping Features          x  5
Pre-assessment and Post-Assessment          x  5
             
Cost            
Price      x      3
Value relative to Features offered
         x  5
             





    Evaluation:      69/75

 


Title of Software: Propaganda
Website
Description of Software: Propaganda is a full-featured program that makes it easier for beginners to create their first podcast. The array of different features this software has is very well organized and fairly easy to use. There are some features which may be a bit complex for a first time user, but these features help us record, arrange and publish a podcast. The best feature of this software is the music and sound effects. With the help of this component, the creation of a podcast may be quick and easy. The beautiful interface gives the software an attractive look, as well as making it look professional.
Ease of Installation and Use:  This software is very easy to install, and the user-interface is very helpful for the first-time podcast creators. Some features lik drag and drop of audio and storyboard editing makes the use of this software very smooth. There are some editing features which could have been made simpler, but the overall software is perfect to create a  podcast. The publishing features helps the user publish his podcast on his own website.
Price: $49.95
Evaluation: 65/75

Criteria Poor-1      Below       Average-2     Average-3       Above    Average-4 Excellent-5 Total Points
             
Content            
Content Accuracy          x
   4
Content age apropriateness          x
   4
Educational Value          x
    
 4
Organization/Presentation/Layout          x
   4
             
Ease of Use            
Ease of Navigation           x
 5
Covers a variety of Skill levels      x
      
          
 3
Learner Engagement/Interactivity         x
   4
             
Technical Aspects            
Ease of Installation          x
           
 4
Hardware           x
   4
Graphics/Multimedia          x  5
             
Assessment            
Treatment of Errors/Feedback          
 5
Record-Keeping Features          
 5
Pre-assessment and Post-Assessment              x  
   4
             
Cost            
Price          x  5
Value relative to Features offered
         x  5
             





    Evaluation:      65/75




Title of Software: Fluenz Spanish 1
Website
Description of Software: Fluenz is a language software which uses a different approach to teach various languages, in this case, Spanish. Fluenz has created a one-on-one learning experience for the user, incorporating a video of a private tutor teaching each lesson. This software is more focused on vocabulary essential for tourists who want to learn the necessary words in order to have a conversation. Fluenz covers simple and essential words which will help in the daily life, rather than complex words which are only necessary in the intermediate and advanced level of Spanish.  The best feature of Fluenz is the reinforcement of vocaulary words through activities which help the user understand the word, as well as apply it to a context.
Ease of Installation and Use:  This software is pretty easy to use and the best part of this, is the free demo available which introduces us to all the features. In addition to this, the website has a sample session which gives the user an overview of what to expect when buying this software. The software's interface is very simple and easy to use. The tabs are clearly labeled and the menus are very helpful to the user.
Price: $218
Evaluation: 67/75

Criteria Poor-1      Below       Average-2     Average-3       Above    Average-4 Excellent-5 Total Points
             
Content            
Content Accuracy          x
5
Content age apropriateness          x 5
Educational Value          x 5
Organization/Presentation/Layout             x
  4
             
Ease of Use            
Ease of Navigation          x
Covers a variety of Skill levels          x
Learner Engagement/Interactivity          x
             
Technical Aspects            
Ease of Installation          x
Hardware        x   4
Graphics/Multimedia        x   4
             
Assessment            
Treatment of Errors/Feedback          x
Record-Keeping Features          x
Pre-assessment and Post-Assessment          x
             
Cost            
Price    x      
Value relative to Features offered
     x    
             





    Evaluation:    67/75




Title of Software: AutoDesk SketchBook Pro
Website
Description of Software: AutoDesk Sketchbook is an illustration and photo editing software program. Although it doesn't offer a variety of features (no natural media effects) like other illustration programs, it makes the experience quick and simple, make it easier for beginners. It has a very easy to use interface. Features such as: Brush customization, interactive mirroring, layers and color management give the software the essentials required to illustrate and/or edit.
Ease of Installation and Use:  Very easy to install. Although the software is not very cheap, there is a trial version available which can be downloaded from the website.  Very easy to install and runs on Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Mac, making it available to everybody. The menu is a bit limited, but quite organized, making the creation of artwork quick and smooth.
Price: $91.99
Evaluation: 59/75


Criteria Poor-1      Below       Average-2     Average-3       Above    Average-4 Excellent-5 Total Points
             
Content            
Content Accuracy        x    4
Content age apropriateness        x    4
Educational Value      x      3
Organization/Presentation/Layout      x      3
             
Ease of Use            
Ease of Navigation          x  5
Covers a variety of Skill levels        x    4
Learner Engagement/Interactivity        x    4
             
Technical Aspects            
Ease of Installation          x  5
Hardware        x    4
Graphics/Multimedia      x      3
             
Assessment            
Treatment of Errors/Feedback        x    4
Record-Keeping Features          x  5
Pre-assessment and Post-Assessment          x  5
             
Cost            
Price      x      3
Value relative to Features offered
     x      3
             





    Evaluation:       59/75




Title of Software: Babylon 8
Website
Description of Software: Babylon is a dictionary and translation software which  makes the translation of full webpages or documents very easy. Apart from this, texts from emails and Instant Messengers can be translated.  Just a right-click on a text can translate the text to 17 different languages, some of which are: Russian, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, French and German.. No instructions needed and perfect for people who don't want to type in a lot of information. Apart from translating texts, this software helps the users look up definitions of words they are not sure about.  In addition to this, Babylon includes a conversion utility that converts units, or numbers to different currencies or time zones. A perfect combination of different features and perfect accuracy.
Ease of Installation and Use:  One of the easiest translation softwares for people who don't have time to spare. Easy to download with a free trial and a monthly subscription offer in addition to a life-time membership. Operates on Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Vista. It would have been to have a version for Mac. Babylon is very easy to use and doesn't take up much of your screen space, as it is present as a small window on the corner of your screen until it pops up into action when looking up definitions and other references. The graphics are fairly good and the layout is above average.
Price: Monthly subscription- $9.70 and Life-time membership-$120
Evaluation:   70/75

Criteria Poor-1      Below       Average-2     Average-3       Above    Average-4 Excellent-5 Total Points
             
Content                    
 
Content Accuracy          x   5
Content age apropriateness          x  5
Educational Value          x  5
Organization/Presentation/Layout        x    4
             
Ease of Use            
Ease of Navigation          x  5
Covers a variety of Skill levels          x  5
Learner Engagement/Interactivity          x  5
             
Technical Aspects            
Ease of Installation          x  5
Hardware        x    4
Graphics/Multimedia        x    4
             
Assessment            
Treatment of Errors/Feedback        x    4
Record-Keeping Features          x  5
Pre-assessment and Post-Assessment          x  5
             
Cost            
Price (Poor=too expensive)
         x   5
Value relative to Features offered
         x  5
             





    Evaluation:      71/75