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”
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
Effectiveness of Software for Students Must have meaning so students absorb information Must have relevance to environment Always want feedback
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
Key to Educational Technology How teachers and students approach the software Must observe the appropriateness, effectiveness, and capability of the technology
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
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
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
History of Software (Continued) 1995 - Theoretical framework missing in design of most educational software 1999 - Contacting of 33 educational software publishers 11 provided information 22 unwilling to provide any information
Decrease in Evaluation Evaluation activity has decreased significantly over past few years. Problem? Increase with computer use by children in recent years
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.
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)
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
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
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?
More Considerations Check with school district first Initial considerations System requirements Age level Time requirements Cost Classroom applications
Technical Considerations Does it freeze up? Easy to solve technical problems? Run slowly or interrupt frequently? Technical support available?
In-Depth Considerations Content Objectives clearly defined? Cover concepts and skills required? Assessment tools? Modifications? Correlations to state standards? Modify sequence of content?
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
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
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?
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?
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
Examples of Evaluation Forms Sample from book Sample from book Sample from book Buyer’s worksheet Buyer’s worksheet Buyer’s worksheet
Works Cited http://www.ncrel.org/tech/claims http://www.ncrel.org/tech/claims http://www.scwablearning.org/articles.asp?r=785 http://www.scwablearning.org/articles.asp?r=785 http://magazines.fasfind.com/wwwtools/m/2574.cf m?x=0&rid=2574 http://magazines.fasfind.com/wwwtools/m/2574.cf m?x=0&rid=2574 http://magazines.fasfind.com/wwwtools/m/2574.cf m?x=0&rid=2574 http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/educat ionupclose.phtml/print/30 http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/educat ionupclose.phtml/print/30 http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/educat 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