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 NOVATO, Calif., Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Software Toolworks Inc. (NASDAQ: TWRX), a leading publisher of education, edutainment and multimedia software, today announced the shipment of "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing!(R) Version 3." This latest extension to the award winning Mavis Beacon product line features improved analysis for accelerated learning and enhancements to well-loved core features. Developed for home, office and classroom use, "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing! Version 3" is available for MS-DOS(R) floppy diskette at retail stores for a suggested list price of $49.95.
 "'Mavis Beacon' is a Software Toolworks flagship product -- an international best seller, that consistently maintains a leadership position in terms of market share and sales," said Bob Lloyd, chief executive officer of The Software Toolworks.
 A Little Apple Polishing
 Selling more than two million units since its 1986 introduction, the critically acclaimed typing-instruction software line benefits from improvements in technology, ergonomic design, and teaching methodologies. "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing! Version 3" places renewed emphasis on typing accuracy, and offers more sophisticated customized lessons, new skill building games, and a new text library. The program projects a new on-screen look with fantastic 256 VGA color graphics.
 Speaking about the popularity of the product, Ed Bernstein, senior vice president of edutainment and multimedia products, said, "People want personal, patient attention and instruction. The success of the 'Mavis Beacon' line can be attributed to the personal touch of the customized lessons. Supported by artificial intelligence technology, the program simulates the responses of a good human teacher."
 Class in Session:
 Typing is a complex skill bringing together motor and cognitive functions. Good typing teachers look for students' characteristic error patterns and changes in typing speed that signal the need for a new set of lessons. "Mavis Beacon" software programs use Artificial Intelligence (AI) feedback to do the same thing. The AI allows the program to process detailed analysis of student progress which in turn drives creation of on-the-fly customized lesson plans based on the students' pattern of mistakes.
 The Mavis Touch
 Sophisticated pattern-recognition capabilities are utilized to analyze over 30 kinds of errors and statistics such as accuracy and speed per key, dropped keys, doubled keys, transpositions, overlapping errors, mirror image, and Shift key problems.
 A "hot key" rating is assigned to identify extremely faulty keys using a standard statistical analysis that rates the importance of any key by its overall contribution to the speed/error matrix. Analysis is scanned against established criteria and student historical data to look for error pattern types. Results are compiled and if there are statistically significant variances detected, the appropriate customized lessons will be built to match.
 "Mavis Beacon" also monitors students' attitude during the lessons and looks for lengthy pauses in typing, lessons quit in mid-lesson, or an increase in missed keystrokes. Highly tuned to a student's "frustration factor," the program minimizes this negative impact by mixing a variety of lesson topics to avoid boredom, interspersing games that are actually skill builders to recapture attention, introducing entertaining text to type, revising speed goals to retain motivation, or even suggesting that the student "call it a day" and return when refreshed.
 New & Improved Features
 New features include 256 color graphics, a new interface design, and MIDI sound and music. Version 3 provides enhancements to the best features of award-winning Version 2. "Mavis Beacon" continues to use its revolutionary "guide hands." This pair of animated hands appears poised above the keyboard and types along with the student. The guide hands provide examples of correct hand placement and fingering technique. But don't look down at your hands as you go!
 "Mavis Beacon" also provides alternative tutorial for the Dvorak keyboard arrangement. In the Dvorak mode, the on-screen keyboard, as well as the user's keyboard will conform to this ergonomically designed key-stroke layout.
 Interesting Text, Dynamic Graphs
 The library has been expanded to include text from The New Grolier's Multimedia Encyclopedia(TM) and Newsweek(R) magazine, as well as short stories, riddles and quotes from famous people. New progress charts allow the student to view any one of 43 graphs that display student progress in every typing category.
 Skill Building Games
 Games continue to be an important feature with four colorful new skill builders: Card Flip and Dart Game to build up accuracy; RoboMan for typing rhythm and consistency; and Clown Race for improved speed. Each game has its own skill building emphasis with varied levels of difficulty to match all stages of typing and 10-Key modes.
 System Requirements and Availability
 "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing! Version 3" requires an IBM(R) PC-AT or compatible with minimum of a 286/16 MHz or higher hardware system. Hard disk is required with 2 MB memory free. 560K RAM, 1 MB memory recommended. Supports MS-DOS 5.0 or higher, VGA graphics. Sound Cards supported: SoundBlaster(R), AdLib(R), ProAudio Spectrum(TM) (PC speaker requires a 386 or higher).
 "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing! Version 3" is currently available for MS-DOS floppy diskette. A Windows(TM) version for both floppy diskette and CD-ROM is expected to ship in spring of 1994. "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing! Version 2" is currently available for floppy diskette on MS-DOS(R), Windows(TM), and Macintosh(R), and MS-DOS for CD-ROM.
 NOTE: The Software Toolworks Inc. develops, publishes and distributes entertainment, edutainment and educational products for IBM(R) and compatibles, Macintosh(R), CD-ROM DOS, CD-ROM Macintosh, MPC (CD-ROM Windows), 3DO(TM), Sega(TM) CD, Nintendo Entertainment System(R), Super Nintendo Entertainment System(R), Game Boy(R) and Sega(TM) Genesis(TM).
 The Software Toolworks is headquartered in Novato, with offices in Chatsworth, Calif.; Naperville, Ill.; London; Dusseldorf, Germany; Paris; and Castle Hill, Australia. The company is listed on NASDAQ under TWRX.
 All brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
 -0- 11/8/93
 /CONTACT: Tracy Egan, public relations manager of The Software Toolworks, 415-883-3000, ext. 828/

CO: The Software Toolworks ST: California IN: CPR SU: PDT

LW-TM -- SF008 -- 1604 11/08/93 09:02 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 8, 1993

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