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About a month ago my dad bought me Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium which is a package for students containing study tools, dictionary tools, an encyclopedia and more. I’ve been using it ever since, so I’m going to post my thoughts on it.

First of all, its articles are pretty good and solid. The encyclopedia is an excellent tool for reading about the US Industrial Revolution or about what causes the seasons.The encyclopedia gives you a basic overview about any topic; and if you want to learn more you could follow the online links available, often of documents available online and simulations. However, I think there should be more links provided, and I’m not sure whether they are updated or not. The ‘visual browser’ is a very cool tool to navigate through topics and material. A note I’d like to add is that if you’re researching on a small specific topic, the encyclopedia would not provide you with enough material and information. You could read one of the articles available to know the overview, but you’ll have to go online if you want to dig deeper into the topic. Encarta provides very informative literary articles and book summaries of many books taught in schools. They’re not just book summaries; you could read characters analyses, theme analyses, symbols, historical contexts, etc.

Science media is particularly good; graphic simulations are available to help you understand the moon phases of the seasons better; they’re very helpful. Those may not be so easy to find online.

Student 2009 offers a lot of templates and tutorials for literary writing and scientific writing. There are a lot of writing and graphic resources at the ‘papers and reports’ section. These are very helpful aids. So are the foreign language tools, which provide a few links, verb conjugation and translation tools for Spanish, French, Italian and German.

The things in Encarta may seem simple, but if you dig deeper into them you’ll discover that they have some really good stuff.  The ‘games and fun stuff’ section provides animations, visual tours, games and videos covering all subjects. I expected the games to be more advanced and not so simple as they are. The animations and videos are very good, but I wish they covered more topics. The visual tools are not very good. They’re not made of the newest 3D technology, and I remember using the exact same Abu Simbel tour in Encarta 2003 when I was 6 or 7. It’s very difficult to navigate in their tours.

The Math tools are not bad. I find the ‘equation solver’ the most helpful tool because it shows you how to actually solve any equation you type in. The ‘math concepts’ explains a wide range of math lessons. There are a couple of other math tools available such as the ‘unit conversion tool’ and the ‘triangle solver’. However, I could use more tools, such as one which could show me how to create symmetrical snowflakes.

Among the numerous things Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium includes are geography tools and graphic learning essentials. Overall, it is certainly an essential software for students, but it doesn’t contain everything, and it’s not perfect.

note: the package costs about $50, to learn more click this link:

http://www.microsoft.com/learningspace/products.aspx?prod=student

image: http://www.jamdeal.com/uplimg/img_172381_e9cc7fbc62989ffc9962b83a50b5b642.jpg

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