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PC (486 with 4Mb RAM and 2x CD-ROM or better)
Exploring World Religions
Published in 1998 by Granada Learning Ltd.
Religious Education and Exploring World Religions
The CD-ROM will run on a network.
To view or print the accompanying teaching notes Acrobat viewer must be installed and is included in the disk.
The CD-ROM was produced in accordance with the model syllabuses published by SCAA and QCA. The notes recommend that the disc is only suitable for individual or small group work (a group of three being maximum). It is also recommended that the teacher become familiar with the disc to enable its planned use in lessons.
The ROM presents the six major world religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism) in five different ways: 'Places', 'Holy writings', 'Special days', 'People' and 'Beliefs'. Each contains a range of pictures, text and spoken dialogue but no video clips which would have added vibrancy to the presentation. Other features include: a Notebook, in which pupils can create notes and print them with a picture, a Glossary of difficult words, an Index, a Timeline of important events in each religion and a quiz which can be played either alone or in teams.
On starting the CD-ROM the pupil is asked to log on using their name. This ensures that any notes created will be saved under that name for printing and is a good interactive feature. Once 'logged on' an introductory section begins automatically. This familiarises the pupil with navigation and layout by actively taking them through the disc. If the pupil is already familiar with the CD-ROM this feature can be turned off. The introduction was clear and helpful if a little fast. Navigation is simple and engaging using icons of keys, locks, treasure chests and scrolls. The text is clear and supported by audio narration which depends almost exclusively on a single, rather flat, voice. More engaging is the 'People' section which uses the voices and pictures of young people from each of the faith communities.
Besides the quiz there is little teacher support and the experience could be too passive unless well directed by a task. Each religion is presented in a narrow 'traditional' way preventing exploration of variations and alternatives within each belief. This contrasts with video resources such as Believe it or Not which explore such diversity. Other CD ROM's, such as Aspects of Religion (key stages 3 and 4), have a richer presentation with greater teacher support. It was also pointed out by one of our Sikh members that the Sikh section had photographs of women wearing nose studs and saris in the Hindu tradition.
As part of a well-directed project or task Exploring World Religions would be a useful addition to other more conventional resources.
Gurjit Kaur Shergill
PGCE Religious Education course
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