Microsoft Enters Skills-Software Category With My Personal Tutor: Preschool-First Grade

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 10, 1997 — It’s no wonder the popularity of educational software in America’s households continues to climb. According to a recent survey, two out of three parents feel educational software is one of the most effective tools for enriching children’s learning outside of school. The survey, conducted by independent research firm Market Facts Inc., also found that more than 70-percent of parents believe learning on the computer is more fun, while 80 percent of parents view the computer as an important tool in their children’s education that will better prepare them for the work force.

Today Microsoft Corp. takes traditional educational software to the next level with the introduction of Microsoft® My Personal Tutor: Preschool-First Grade, a powerful new suite of four full-featured learning titles for children ages 3 to 7. Featuring innovative TutorAssist
learning technology, My Personal Tutor takes learning on the PC a step beyond the standard drill-and-practice approach used in most children’s software by providing targeted instruction to meet a child’s specific learning needs.

“Microsoft is committed to developing innovative technology to enhance the education of today’s children,”
said Robbie Bach, vice president, reference, games and learning division in the interactive media group at Microsoft.
“We believe we have a valuable contribution to make in the educational software category with My Personal Tutor’s breakthrough TutorAssist learning technology. It represents an entirely new way to use the PC to help kids learn.”

TutorAssist learning technology enables the My Personal Tutor titles to track a child’s progress, recognize when the child is having trouble with a concept, and offer a multimedia tutorial to help him or her understand the concept behind the problem. This new approach helps kids develop the necessary thinking and problem-solving skills to progress to the next level of learning, instead of just practicing what they already know.

My Personal Tutor offers more than 100 multimedia tutorials in which Professor P.T. Presto, the charismatic and clever tutor, uses music, animation and humor to make learning fun. Guiding children with warmth and encouragement, Professor Presto is on hand to offer helpful tips when a child experiences difficulty with a concept. And because the tutorials are as engaging and entertaining as the core learning activities, children consider them a bonus opportunity to explore at their own pace.

By including four educationally rich CD-ROMs in one box, My Personal Tutor provides parents with a comprehensive early learning software solution for their children. Beginning with Preschool Workshop and continuing through Mathopolis, each My Personal Tutor learning title grows with the child. With hundreds of engaging activities, games, animations, songs, characters and tutorials, each title keeps kids playing and learning for hours.

  • Preschool Workshop, the first title in the suite, is designed to help 3- to 5-year-olds learn to recognize shapes, count and other early learning skills as they help jungle animals build toys in the Preschool Workshop.

  • Alphabet Playhouse, the second title, helps 3- to 5-year-olds master letters, sounds, uppercase and lowercase letters, and pre-reading skills as they sing and play games with Rosy® Raccoon.

  • Reader Railway, for 4- to 6-year-olds, builds vocabulary, reading comprehension, creativity, phonics, memory and storytelling skills, all on a trip to the circus with Rusty® Raccoon.

  • Mathopolis, the fourth CD-ROM in the suite, reinforces fundamental addition and subtraction skills while challenging the creativity and problem solving skills of 5- to 7-year-olds.

Educational Development

Developed by a team of education experts from both inside and outside Microsoft and extensively tested with parents and kids, My Personal Tutor is designed to unlock children’s learning potential and inspire in them the joy of learning. Microsoft developed Alphabet Playhouse, Reader Railway and Mathopolis in cooperation with The Waterford Institute of Sandy, Utah, a nonprofit organization with expertise in early learning and curriculum design, as well as 10 years of experience in designing award-winning educational software. Microsoft developed Preschool Workshop in a collaborative effort with Brains Pty Ltd. and Hyperdyne Technologies, award-winning educational software designers and developers who provided design and content expertise.

“My Personal Tutor is a perfect example of how technology can be put to excellent use helping kids learn,”
said Lillian Brinkley, past president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals and current principal at Willard Model School, a public elementary school in Norfolk, Va.
“As kids develop and progress through all four titles, Professor Presto provides the instruction, motivation and encouragement children need to keep learning. Kids fall in love with him and view him as a special learning partner.”

A unique reporting feature in My Personal Tutor enables the computer to track a child’s progress on all subjects and key learning objectives for all four titles in the suite. Parents can quickly and easily look at a single-learner report to stay apprised of each child’s progress. In addition, My Personal Tutor comes with a Learning Activity Guide including suggestions for parents to encourage a child’s learning in everyday life. And kids can continue the fun and learning offline on their own with the accompanying Read-With-Me coloring book.

Pricing and Availability

Microsoft My Personal Tutor: Preschool-First Grade is scheduled to be available at retailers nationwide in late September 1997 for an estimated retail price of $54.95. Free trial software (connect-time charges may apply) is scheduled to be available on the Microsoft Web site beginning Sept. 10 at .

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, TutorAssist, Windows and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Waterford Institute, Rusty and Rosy, and design of Rusty and Rosy are registered trademarks of Waterford Institute Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Survey of 700 respondents conducted by independent research firm Market Facts Inc. for Microsoft, August 1-6, 1997.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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