A&B Computing1st May 1986
Published in A&B Computing 3.05
BBC Soft has released a tape/disc based wordprocessor for young children. And it works on the Electron!
One ROM software domain which BBC Publications hasn't taken on is wordprocessing, leaving the way clear for Wordwise and View on the BBC and Starword, View and A&B's Easyword on the Electron.
Word Mover on cassette or disc could not complete on facilities. Even so, BBC Publications must have published more wordprocessors than anyone else as they turn up in lots of introductory packages like Inside Information. They have now published Wordplay, an animated introduction to wordprocessing for young children, utilising cartoon characters and featuring an attractively written booklet. Interesting that, with the introduction the computer 'word', we still place so much emphasis on the printed word, the documentation. This reflects the youthfulness of educational computing and the current hardware restrictions.
In the meantime, Petronius Pelican, Selina Seagull, Eve the Elephant and Boris Bear make a super start on the typing trail. The program comes on tape but can be automatically transferred to disc. (But why do tape users still have to set PAGE?)
The 'Adult' element includes system configuration, sound level and colour, file operations and, unusually for a memory-based program, Spell Checker. This is an important feature of professional wordprocessing. Children will very soon cross the 'adult' boundary in this package.
Wordplay works on the Electron but colours are not adjustable nor is there the Spell Checker facility available to BBC owners. That's disappointing and more effort should have gone into a converstion rather than releasing a version that merely 'runs'. All versions are somewhat restricted by memory to 23 line chunks of text but this shouldn't pose a problem for the age group in question. In general, Wordplay is a good way to catch them young.