I am responding to a request for software suggestions for a computer lab
I have always liked ClarisWorks due to its very low price and ease of use.
ClarisWorks has a new version out--ClarisWorks 5.0. It has improved slide
show capabilities, according to Bettie Lake, an elementary/middle school
art teacher in Phoenix.
Have you also looked into KidPix Studio? This is a revised version of
KidPix Companion that is simply incredable. This is a greatly enhanced
program that has many facets and it challenges even the most sophisticated
user with all its different components.
My favorite program for your age group would have to be Dabbler and to use
it with a Wacom graphics tablet. It is much easier than Painter and would
be a good introduction to "real art tools" software, especially if they are
using Painter at your high school. Please get the new version of Dabbler
that includes the flip book. PS. The new version of Painter, however, is
simply incredable, but is even more overwhelming than earlier versions.
It has a very steep learning curve and I believe is even more complex than
I would also have you consider HyperStudio 3.1. If you are not familiar
with it, it is a multi-media construction program that children and adults
as well as professionals use to create very impressive multi-media programs
for various purposes that the user decides upon. It is very low cost and
supports most Photoshop plug-ins.
My preference would be to use all of these programs for the creation of
creative art rather than commercial applications. Perhaps the commercial
application could happen at the high school, after students have had a
thorough grounding in creative exploratory solutions at middle
school/junior high school.
Best of luck.
Diane C. Gregory, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Art Education
Instructional Technology Specialist
Department of Art & Design
Southwest Texas State University
San Marcos, TX. 78666