RM Software Evaluation Form
Please refer to evaluating notes for fuller explanations of the section headers
Software Title: Romans
Publisher: Anglia Multimedia Name: Megan Dick
This CD is set in the second century A.D. in the British town of Sapientum. As visitors to the town, you must
choose one of four careers – soldier, merchant, physician or tailor – and then you must collect the tools and
knowledge to fulfill the role. The latest historical research was used to create an accurate computer model of
the town so that pupils can experience the sights and sounds as if they were there.
This is a simulation of a Roman town. Pupils can walk around the town and talk to different people and find
out what they do. They can look into different buildings and learn what different jobs people did. As a
simulation, it works well. However, there is a lot of information to take in and it is not always clear where
you are meant to go. KS2 pupils therefore would need direct guidance if they are to achieve the learning
objectives of the teacher.
Content Score: 6/10
The CD ROM covers life in a Roman town as well as other information to do with the Roman Empire. It
could be used to show pupils what a Roman town was like. It could also be used to focus more specifically
on topics to do with the Roman Empire, such as merchants or slaves. Much of the language would not be
accessible for pupils in KS2, though the graphics and some of the explanations are quite good. There is also
a ‘modern perspectives’ button that more able pupils could click on to learn more about the town from a
modern historical perspective.
Differentiation Score: 4/10
Teachers would be most likely to differentiate by outcome using this CD ROM. Lower ability pupils might
not get as far with the simulation as more able pupils. The graphics and visual mode of moving through the
simulation would be helpful for pupils with weaker literacy.
The activity sheets provided with the program are not differentiated in any way for pupils with low levels of
literacy. The visual and audio approach of software might be motivating for weak pupils, though they might
not understand all the information the CD provides. The software cannot be customized for individual pupils
though slower pupils would just not get as far in the simulation.
Motivation/Interest Score: 7/10
The aim of the simulation is to get a job in Sapientium and then collect the tools of your trade and find out
about your chosen job. Pupils will be motivated by this and could see it as a game. The graphics are good
and the use of sound is clear. It was a bit difficult to figure out where I was supposed to register for a job, but
if pupils were given clear instructions, they should not get bored.
The CD ROM is intended to be used by National Curriculum Key Stage Two pupils. Pupils are meant to
assume a Roman character so it is most effectively used by individuals though it is possible to use it with a
partner. It would be more difficult to use it for whole class teaching.
Design features Score: 7/10
The graphics used on the CD ROM are very good and most of the meanings of the navigational buttons are
obvious. The simulation is fairly straightforward to navigate, though pupils will probably need the activity
sheet that has a map of the town on it to navigate the program easily. The sound effects were good and the
speaking voices of the characters were easy to understand. The animations occasionally froze even though
the computer I was using is up to date. I also had to wait every time I had changed direction in the program
for the command to operate, though this did not take too long. Pupils can save where they are in the
simulation so they can resume their session next time.
Reporting Tools Score: 4/10
Pupils could record their progress in the simulation on an activity sheet but there were no other ways to
assess the pupils’ work or understanding of the content of the CD ROM.
Additional Materials Score: 5/10
Activity sheets are provided but I think most KS2 teachers would need to write their own. The sheets are
quite general, the language used is often too hard for KS2 pupils and the worksheets are not targeted at any
particular learning aim or assessed task. They appear to have been written in 1996 though the CD is dated
2000. The files are not in Word so they cannot be edited. Some are meant to be activities that can be done
away from the computer. (i.e. make a theater mask, how to make a toga and mosaic or do a Latin crossword)
One sheet has some sources on it that pupils then answer comprehension questions about. The sources are
quite long but they could be adapted for use with KS2 pupils.
Support Score: 7/10
Free technical support is offered at www.anglia.co.uk. A phone number and e-mail address are also supplied.
There is a help button in the program that explains how to navigate around the simulation.
Value for money Score: 6/10
As this program can really only be used as a simulation, it might be limited for use in a classroom. However,
as pupils would see it as a game, they could be motivated by it. It would therefore depend on what type of
resource the teacher is looking for. If you want a CD ROM that provides extensive information on the
Roman Empire, this might not be the program for you.
It is possible to get lost at the beginning of the simulation, as it is not immediately obvious where you are
meant to go. But if this is explained clearly to pupils before they started, this problem can be overcome. The
activity sheets provided with the CD ROM are dated and teachers cannot edit them. Better support resources
could have been provided with the software.
Uses and Applications Score: 7/10
Pupils could use the software if they are clearly directed. They would enjoy using the simulation but the
teacher would need to create learning objectives for the pupils. If they followed the aims of the CD ROM and
followed one of the four careers offered in the simulation, as long as they gathered information as they went,
they could produce some useful work. They could write a project on their Roman character or could do
presentations so that they rest of the class could see what the other pupils has done. It is possible to cut and
paste some information from the program for pupils to use in their work.
Score from National Curriculum / Schemes of Work Match 7/10
Total Score: 60/100