NEW EDUCATIONAL SOFTWARE
The Associated Products Corporation’s Electronics Division has announced a new line of educational software called InfoQuick, or IQ for short.
Educational Programs: A New Breed of Computer Software
Ever since personal computers first became popular, the educational-software market has been a large one. Of the more than $10 million annually spent by business owners and personal-computer users, about $2 million comes from the purchase of educational programs.
California University has conducted studies of educational software. The research showed that game-oriented learning programs generally are the most beneficial. Interactive programs, the study concluded, generated student involvement and helped students gain knowledge faster.
Recently, companies have focused on creating wide-ranging software for students of all ages and educational levels. A California Research Institute study of first- to 12th-grade educators revealed that many teachers feel that student-teacher interaction is lacking. The study also showed that educators felt computer technology would prove an effective solution to the problem.
Development and Testing of InfoQuick
To help conceptualize the nature of their IQ programs, APC referred to a study conducted by the National Institute for Scholastic Testing. The Institute found that fun-oriented, interactive programs were the best software for teaching information and computer skills to students.
Educators in different fields were hired to assist in the conceptual phases of development. William J. Hoffman, the chief systems engineer, supervised the research team responsible for developing the programs.
Once the programmers had developed a tentative product, three schools—a grade school, a junior high and a high school—were picked to test a complete curriculum bundle. The schools were considered to reflect “the national average for student enrollment, socioeconomic stratum and cultural balance.”
Fourth-graders at an East Coast school learned about dinosaurs with “Big Bones,” seventh-graders at a Midwest school studied the 16th president with “Meet Mr. Lincoln,” and 11th-graders at a West Coast school tried out the “Algebra Plus” program. Students and teachers alike were asked for feedback, which was used along with the results to improve the programs accordingly. The other programs were modified using the same information.
Interactivity and Variety: Examples of Programs
APC continues to create an extensive range of programs. Thus far, the company has developed history and science programs for grades 1-12, as well as a math program for grades 9-12.
History curricula include the Famous Historical Personalities Series, with such themes as “Meet Mr. Lincoln” and “Meet Mr. Franklin.” These programs allow students to “interview” historical figures by asking them questions in virtual conversations, learning about the person’s accomplishments and the time period in which the individual lived. The Famous Documents Series features such programs as “Writing the Constitution” and “Mapping the Way West.” Students draw maps, write parts of the Constitution, and learn about treaties, the westward expansion and the causes of particular historical incidents.
The science programs include “Big Bones,” “Small World” and “Guts.” Respectively, these include facts and graphics about dinosaurs, atoms and atomic structure, and human biology.
High-school programs, some of which are still in development, feature advanced-level studies in math, science and social studies. Programs include Algebra IQ, Chemistry IQ and Geometry IQ.
A Bright Future for Educational Programs
President James Sutton strongly believes in the company’s future as a developer of educational software. “The IQ line of software will revolutionize education,” he said, adding that some of the nation’s best teachers have helped APC to develop challenging, creative learning tools.
According to Hoffman, APC has been working on IQ for about five years. He expects all grades will have a complete curricula suite within the next two years.
The programs’ curricula will range from first through 12th grade; the software will be available for both IBM and Apple computers.
Dedication to Education
Associated Products Corporation is working with the National Education Association to develop a program to educate children about computers. The program exemplifies APC’s belief in using computers to encourage problem-solving skills and stimulate learning. “We’re strong on education at APC,” stated APC president James Sutton. “A strong nation needs educated youth to help run it.”
The program, whose proposed motto is “Johnny can learn to read!”, will emphasize technology’s role in education by teaching students to learn from and about computers.
The NEA received a donation from APC to help fund the program. A portion of the money will go to schools and school systems that would otherwise be unable to afford a computer system.
A Brief Background of the Company
Associated Products Corporation began in 1956 as Apex Frozen Foods; it first entered the technology industry in 1960. James Sutton has been company president since 1975. The corporation is diversified and deals with a variety of product lines, but one of the focuses is the InfoQuick software, intentionally designed to be interactive to draw in students.
APC has steadily and greatly grown over time to become one of the top 500 corporations in the country. APC totaled nearly a half-billion dollars’ profit last year and maintains a strong stock, 43 percent of which is owned by the former company president. The company has about 4500 investors.