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Because today's computer-dependent world has left some teachers facing technology demands beyond their level of understanding, the publishers of the popular computer reference books subtitled ... For Dummies have released a ... For Teachers series designed to help educators through the ever-changing maze of new electronic material.

The five volumes cover a wide range of topics, including the hardware that sits in the classroom, the software that runs on it, and the intricacies of the Internet. Written by teachers who specialize in educational technology, the books are designed, the editors say, to let the teacher learn at his or her own pace and to provide an alternative to time-consuming and often expensive computer classes.

More titles in the ... For Teachers series are scheduled for publication later in the year. The volumes currently in print, which are list-priced at $24.95, are available from most bookstores or through the Educational Sales Department at IDG Books, (800) 434-2086.

A new series from Scientific American magazine explores the natural world in a manner its editors describe as both informative and easily accessible. Although the three volumes published so far are aimed at the lay reader, they provide an in-depth and engaging look at areas of science that are vital, current, and relevant.

The easy-to-read books, written by science writers, discuss mental illness, comets, and animal language. Each 128-page paperback volume includes dozens of detailed illustrations, an extensive index, and suggestions for further reading.

Three more titles will be added to the Scientific American Focus series in August. Those now available can be found at most bookstores with a suggested list price of $9.95.

Penguin USA is offering a free set of teachers' guides as companions to their popular classroom-edition books. Three new titles have been added to the series, which is designed to assist teachers in presenting selected works of literature in a clearly focused way. Each of the volumes contains extensive background information, an author biography, and a bibliography.

The three new titles, covering Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya, short stories by Stephen King, and Shakespeare's "King Lear," join guides for more than 30 other works. Seven of Shakespeare's plays are included in the series, as are such classics as The Scarlet Letter, Animal Farm, and "The Glass Menagerie."

The guides are designed for the high school and college levels, and are available at no charge from Penguin USA's Academic Marketing Department, 375 Hudson St., New York, N.Y. 10014-3657; (212) 366-2372. They may also be accessed electronically through Penguin USA's Internet site at http://penguin.com/usa/.

--David Field

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