Sunday, May 15, 2011

WonderMaps, by Bright Ideas Press

wondermaps

For the past month, we have had the opportunity to use a new product from Bright Ideas Press called WonderMaps.  WonderMaps is a computer program that is downloaded on to the computer and accessed by using an Adobe Reader.  It contains over 350 maps.  The boys enjoyed looking at it, and playing with it, and studying the different maps.  I found it useful as a teacher, too.

There are so many well thought out features in this program, that it would take me hours to write them all out.  In this video, you will be able to SEE them all, and I think that is a much better way to understand than if I tried to explain about black text and blue text and modern overlays.



As the video shows, the beauty of this program is the ability to customize a map to suit my needs.  I could look at an upcoming lesson about ancient Greece, go to the Ancient maps, and print off copies of what would correspond with that day's lesson.  Then, on another day, I could print blank copies of the same map, and let the boys fill in whatever I had removed.

We are also studying the United States this year, and I had the ability to use the maps in the same manner.   I could get either the whole map, regions, or individual states.  Then I could customize and print them for instructional use or blank for testing.

There is a very comprehensive Teacher's guide included.  A single page quick start guide and tutorial video, as well as a user's manual are all included.  There are bonus mp3 files that can be downloaded or listened to as you use the computer, and some resources that have some wonderful ideas for enhancing the usefulness of the program.

Once I had seen the tutorial and played with the program a little bit, I found it very simple to use.  I liked the ability to change the maps layer by layer keeping what I wanted and discarding the rest.

wondermaps

I'm sure I will be using this program quite a bit as we study Ancient Rome and some more US geography during the next school year.

The program can be used with students of all ages.  It costs $49.95 and may be downloaded onto two computers.  Once purchased, the program should be registered with Bright Ideas Press to open up the members area for the software.  This will give the owner access to any extras or upgrades as they become available.  (right now, TOS magazine subscribers will find a 20% off coupon in their current edition!  Look for the WonderMaps ad!)

wondermaps

As you can read on the website, WonderMaps has:
  • historical or modern-day maps
  • outline, reference, political, or topographical maps
  • black-and-white or color maps
  • features including:  names, borders, rivers, cities, physical features, and graticules
The program includes:
  • 60+ maps of the world
  • 60+ maps of the USA
  • 125 historical maps, including 25 biblical maps
  • The complete map sets from The Mystery of History vols. I–III and All American History vols. I & II
I think that if I were a Mystery of History or an All American History user, this would be a great time saving addition to my curriculum!

Bright Ideas Press

Bright Ideas Press is a great resource for homeschoolers.  They are well known for their Illuminations Program, but they offer a wide range of curriculum from fine arts to Physics.
  • The website for Bright Ideas Press (where you can order WonderMaps) is brightideaspress.com .
  • You can reach customer service by phone toll-free at 877.492.8081, Monday through Friday 8:30Am-5:00 Pm Eastern time.
  • The postal address is : Bright Ideas Press PO Box 333 Cheswold, DE 19936
  • You can also keep up with Bright Ideas Press on Facebook and Twitter.
Quite a few of my TOS crew mates used and reviewed the WonderMaps program.  You can find all of their reviews linked to the Crew Blog.

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**I was given this software to use so that I could write  an informed blogged review of the product. I was not compensated and my opinions are genuine.