FlexiTree 3 is a branching database program which is designed for Primary Schools. It can help deliver the following National Curriculum Computing requirements for KS1: use technology purposefully to create, organise, store, manipulate and retrieve digital content and for KS2: use software to accomplish given goals including collecting, analysing, evaluating and presenting data and information.
What is a branching database?
A branching database (sometimes called a binary tree) is a way of classifying a group of objects. If it has been designed properly, someone else could use the tree to identify one of the objects. It could be used, for example, to classify mini-beasts, musical instruments, white powders or fruit. Using a branching database is rather like playing "20 questions". You are asked a series of questions, each of which must be answered yes or no. Finally, only one of the choices matches your answers and the object is identified.
Creating a branching database
FlexiTree makes it very easy to create your own
tree (branching database). After typing the title of the tree, and giving an
(optional) description, you are asked to type in a list of objects. You can
always add more objects later if you wish. You can then give a comment about
each object, and link a picture file and/or a sound file to it. Once this is
complete, the program leads you through typing in a series of yes/no questions
which will distinguish each of the objects in your list.
Once this process is complete, you can begin to use the tree. While you are creating a tree, you can stop at any time and save your work so far on disk. When you load the file back in on another occasion, the program will automatically take you back to the same point in the creation of the tree.
Changing the tree
You can change any aspect of a tree after it has been created:
|edit the title, description and author;
|edit object names and comments;
|edit picture and sound links for objects and questions;
|choose the text colour of objects and questions;
|add new objects, move an object or delete it;
|edit the text of a question and/or change all the tree above it.
Using a branching database
Once you start to use a tree, you are asked a series of Yes/No questions to identify an object. If you click on the Yes or No buttons, answering each question in turn about your object, then the program should identify it. Of course, if your chosen object is not included in the file, then you will get some other answer. If that happens, you can add your own object to the tree if you wish.
There are five formats for printing the tree:
|The whole tree
|A diagram of the whole tree. This can either be made to fit on one page, or spread across several pages for a large tree.
|A series of questions
|Print each question with a yes and no answer pointing to another question (by number) or an object. You can then use the questions to identify any object in the tree. There is also an option to print the list of objects on a separate page.
|Details about each object
|Print details about each object in the tree: its name, comments, picture and a list of all the questions and answers which lead to that object.
|Details about the whole tree
|Print the number of objects in the tree, including the number with comments and/or picture links, the number of questions, the efficiency of the tree (as a percentage) and the number of words in the tree which are not recognised by the spell checker.
|The objects as cards
|Print all the objects as cards - you can choose how many across and down each page. The card shows the picture of the object and can include the object name and comment. The cards can be used to help design the tree away from the computer, or as a starting point for pupils to identify objects.
Viewing the whole tree
The program also allows you to look at a
diagram of the whole tree (see below for an example). You can choose the
direction of the tree to be up or down the screen. If the tree is very large,
you can still see the shape of the tree, although you may not be able to read
the text. In this case, you can use the mouse to point to any question or
object and it will be shown in the normal text size. Alternatively, you can
zoom in to look more closely at part of the tree.
The program comes complete with a 36 page booklet which is written with the beginner in mind and includes an index. The FlexiTree program also includes a very comprehensive help system with over 250 pages of information.
FlexiTree will run on any computer running Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, or 7. The program requires the minimum RAM for each version of Windows and 6Mb of available hard disk space.
The program will run on stand-alone and networked computers. It may be installed either on individual machines, or on a network server (minimum requirement is a 10 machine licence). It will run on most major network systems including Microsoft, thin client and RM Connect. The package includes an MSI which is suitable for RM Community Connect networks.
|very easy to create and edit a branching database
|questions can include pictures and sounds
|objects can include pictures, sounds and comments
|able to view the whole tree on screen
|can stop part way through creating the tree and save it
|able to save the tree as a series of web pages
|integrated 80,000 word spell checker (UK English)
|suitable for Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, or 7