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Evaluating Educational Software “The Computer as an Educational Tool: Productivity and Problem Solving” ©Richard C. Forcier and Don E. Descy.

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Presentation on theme: "Evaluating Educational Software “The Computer as an Educational Tool: Productivity and Problem Solving” ©Richard C. Forcier and Don E. Descy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Evaluating Educational Software “The Computer as an Educational Tool: Productivity and Problem Solving” ©Richard C. Forcier and Don E. Descy

2 What is software?  Term has many different meanings  Currently defined as “programming code stored on CD-ROMS that transforms a computer into a set of games, a word processor,or an Internet browser”

3 Purpose of software?  Designed to teach a specific skill  Different interactive method to instruction  Used in quiet classroom settings  Gives variety to lessons  Delivers large amounts of content  Costs less than a floppy disk

4 Effectiveness of Software for Students  Must have meaning so students absorb information  Must have relevance to environment  Always want feedback

5 How do you know if software will tie in with the lesson?  Supplied with table of contents and/or student workbooks  Look for corresponding topics with current lessons  Provide supplemental practice and drill  Tell students purpose behind activities

6 Key to Educational Technology  How teachers and students approach the software  Must observe the appropriateness, effectiveness, and capability of the technology

7 Who is making the learning- centered classroom a reality?  Simple-to-use multimedia authoring applications  Digital media collections  Internet  New educationally valid, curriculum-based software

8 History  Software and evaluation during the 80s—at its highest  First and largest software evaluation effort conducted by Educational Products Information Exchange (EPIE)  1980s—first standardized evaluation instruments for children’s software  Attempt at quantifying factors with effectiveness of software

9 History of Software  1986 Fewer than 20% reviewed rated as satisfactory  1991 Learning disability software nonexistent  1992 No data to validate claims as to the value of the educational software and student learning

10 History of Software (Continued)  Theoretical framework missing in design of most educational software  Contacting of 33 educational software publishers  11 provided information  22 unwilling to provide any information

11 Decrease in Evaluation  Evaluation activity has decreased significantly over past few years.  Problem?  Increase with computer use by children in recent years

12 Due to Lack of Information from Software Publishers…  Parents are not finding software for their child’s needs and learning.  Software is not teaching what it should.  Software does not support the current learning in the classroom.  Considerations must take place before buying the software.

13 Considerations for Software  Sometimes difficult to choose for the classroom  Can take time and proper planning  Must be simple; want focus to be on context  Error-free programs to lessen frustration  Clarity to avoid confusion (no clutter)

14 General Guidelines  Must stimulate high level of interest for student  Must contribute developmental learning and increase performance  Must be based in concrete experience to enhance understanding  Must make optimal use of the visual and aural sensory channels

15 What You Want Software to Do  Enhance teaching and learning  Determine whether it fits your educational goals  Heighten classroom attention, engagement, and enthusiasm for learning  Students take responsibility for learning

16 Questions to Ask  How do I pick software?  How do I evaluate software appropriate for my learners?  How can I integrate software use into my overall curriculum?

17 More Considerations  Check with school district first  Initial considerations  System requirements  Age level  Time requirements  Cost  Classroom applications

18 Technical Considerations  Does it freeze up?  Easy to solve technical problems?  Run slowly or interrupt frequently?  Technical support available?

19 In-Depth Considerations  Content  Objectives clearly defined?  Cover concepts and skills required?  Assessment tools? Modifications?  Correlations to state standards?  Modify sequence of content?

20 What Teachers Should Note When Evaluating  Familiarize yourself with entire product  Run program following directions  Adjust the level of difficulty  Reinforcement of material  Drill and practice appropriateness  Age appropriateness  Learning aids that are provided

21 What Teachers Should Note When Evaluating (Continued)  Accommodating multiple modes of learning  Engaging for students, keeping their interest  Tracking of performance  Used for variety of settings  Give feedback on software with description for future reference

22 Criteria for Teachers  Is the text readable?  Are the navigation controls clear and easy to use?  Is there a “search” function to find information?  Does the program progress at an appropriate pace?

23 Criteria for Teachers (Continued)  Do the graphics enhance the learning experience or detract from it?  If human characters are used, do they represent an accurate cross section of genders and ethnicities?

24 One Grading Method: PACE  Presentability—overall appeal to user  Accountabilty—evaluation of student work and progress  Customizability—technology and level of difficulty  Extensibility—easily available, allowing for creation of new things

25 Examples of Evaluation Forms  Sample from book Sample from book Sample from book  Buyer’s worksheet Buyer’s worksheet Buyer’s worksheet

26 Questions?

27 Works Cited    m?x=0&rid=2574 m?x=0&rid=2574 m?x=0&rid=2574  ionupclose.phtml/print/30 ionupclose.phtml/print/30 ionupclose.phtml/print/30   Forcier, R., & Descy, D. (2005). The Computer as an Educational Tool: Productivity and Problem Solving (4 th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill/Prentice Hall


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