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While programs written for computers made by Apple Computer, Inc., continue to lead the educational-software field, programs geared to International Business Machines Corporation products appear to be coming on strong.

In its 1989 edition of "Only the Best: The Discriminating Software Guide for Preschool-Grade 12," Education News Service found that 92 percent of the 159 programs that earned the highest ratings are compatible with Apple II microcomputers.

Ens also found, however, that products made for ibm and ibm-compatible machines had made "substantial gains" in the market. Forty percent of the highest-rated software can now be used with ibm equipment, it said.

Writer Rabbit, a language-arts program for students in grades 2-4, received the most high marks from the 32 evaluation services surveyed by ens

Sunburst Communications, Inc., with 24 entries in the guide, had the most programs on the list, followed by the Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation and Tom Snyder Productions, with 11 each.

Since the guide was first published in 1985, ens has given superior ratings to only 5 percent of the approximately 11,000 education programs on the market.

Copies of the guide are available for $24.95 prepaid from Education News Service. P.O. Box 1789, Carmichael, Calif. 95609.

The stories may be silly, but the prizes are not.

The Learning Company, a software developer, and the Tandy Corporation have announced a "silly story" writing contest.

To win, students must complete a story from one of the four categories in The Learning Company's Writer Rabbit software program--"Summer Camp," "News Flash!" "I Had a Dream," and "My New Pet."

Contest packets, with unfinished stories, can be ordered by calling The Learning Company's toll-free number: 1-800-852-2255.

Prizes include a trip to Florida's epcot Center, Tandy computers, and collections of The Learning Company's software.

Entries must be postmarked by Nov. 30.

Apple Computer, Inc., wants at-risk students, and those with little access to computers, to have "Equal Time" to learn computer skills.

So the company is accepting applications, through Jan. 4, for its annual program of giving computer hardware to schools.

Applications and guidelines for the program may be obtained by writing to Apple Education Grants, Apple Computer, Inc., 20525 Mariani Avenue, M/S 38-J, Cupertino, Calif. 95014. Inquiries should be marked "Attention: 'Equal Time."'

--pw

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