Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 31, 2000

Software designed by U of G team captures top international prize

A CD-ROM designed by U of G's CyberNatural Software Group that introduces students to the creatures of the Great Lakes has received a 1999 Pirelli International Award, taking the top prize in the educational division.

The program, Amphibians, Reptiles, and Mammals of the Great Lakes, topped more than 800 entries. U of G was invited to submit the CD-ROM, the second in its The Great Lakes Faunal Atlas series, for the competition.

The international award is sponsored by Pirelli, an Italian multinational company that produces cables and systems for telecommunications and energy transmission, and is intended to promote science worldwide via the Internet.

U of G's program was recognized as the best multimedia program produced by an educational institution and includes a $2,000 cash prize. The award will be officially presented in Rome April 11.

"Our selection for the 1999 Pirelli Prize represents a great triumph for the digital media team at CyberNatural and positions the University as a leader in this field," says Prof. Paul Hebert, Zoology chair, who launched the software group in 1994.

"I'm optimistic that this international award will, in the great Canadian tradition, enhance local recognition of the important role CyberNatural is playing in the creation of quality education software."

The winning CD-ROM educates students through the use of jigsaw puzzles, animation, slide-shows and in-depth information on amphibians, reptiles and mammals found in the Great Lakes. Students learn how to identify animals using photographs and sound, and can test their knowledge through an interactive game.

The program covers evolution, reproduction and morphology and includes exercises, questions, discussions, curriculum summaries and a teacher's manual. Students also learn about the interplay between natural processes, living organisms and human impacts in the Great Lakes.

The CD-ROM also won the 1999 AMTEC Award of Excellence from the Canadian Association for Media and Technology in Education. It is part of a series produced by CyberNatural that explore aspects of Canada's freshwater and marine environments.

CyberNatural is based in the U of G's zoology department and includes a multimedia team of artists, illustrators and writers who create instructional CD-ROMs and Web teaching materials on the environmental sciences.

Contact: Prof. Paul Hebert, Department of Zoology (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3598

For media questions, contact Lori Hunt, Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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