Presentation on theme: "EDU 271 Technology and Early Childhood. Technology Can expand and supplement the early childhood program Two main uses include software the Internet."— Presentation transcript:
EDU 271 Technology and Early Childhood
Technology Can expand and supplement the early childhood program Two main uses include software the Internet
Software Selection Guide Selecting software can be fun, exhilarating, and rewarding. Or it can be a nightmare. With over 15,000 existing software titles and thousands more released each year, there is plenty to get excited about and plenty of ways to make mistakes. Considering that the average cost of a title is about $35.00 it is important to make good selections. A good selection process will help you make good selections.
Consider Purpose & Equipment By defining your purpose you can quickly narrow your search. Ask yourself these questions. What are the ages/grades of the target audience? Is the primary purpose recreational or educational? Are there specific topics that the youth you work with want to learn about? Will the software be supporting activities that are self-directed or adult-lead?
Hardware Requirements Each software title has a specific set of hardware requirements. Generally, software written for older machines will run on the newer machines of the same general processor type.
For example Macintosh software won't run on PC-type machines. However, old Macintosh software will run on newer Macintoshs and old PC type software will generally run on newer PC-type machines.
Hardware Requirements Before you start shopping, know your system specifications. You'll need to know: DOS and/or Window version (Example: DOS 5.0, Windows 95, Windows 2000) Processor type and speed (Example: 486 or Pentium, 100 Megahertz) Amount of memory (Example: 8, 16 megabytes) Disk drive required (Example: 4x speed CD-ROM or 3.5 inch floppy) Hard drive space required (Example: 20 Megabytes) Display type (Example: VGA, SVGA) Sound card type (Example: 16-bit Sound Blaster compatible)
Identify Quality Products One way to learn about new software is to get on several distributors' mailing lists. They often send catalogs monthly. After considering your purpose and equipment, make your first cut based on the catalog description. Then look for reviews of this specific software on web sites, in magazines, from newsletters and lists, and other media.
Another route is to subscribe to magazines that have software reviews. After identifying the software that has received positive reviews and meets your criteria, look for additional reviews (just in case you read the only good review) and a distributor.
Children's Technology Review (CTR) is an independent survey, published monthly, of commercial interactive media products designed for children, aged birth- to 15-years. These are the products that children use for both fun and learning, either at home and/or at school. They include software, video games, interactive toys, web sites that a child might visit, and so on. From a theoretical perspective, CTR exists in the space between child development and interactive media. The Children's Software Finder(TM), our database of more than 7,300 reviews, has become a critical step in our core subscribers' purchasing- making decisions.
Identify Quality Products There are several Internet locations for software reviews. You can browse the information on these sites, but it's endless. It is more efficient to identify likely titles and then use the search engines to find reviews on that product. Older titles (12-18 months) are a little easier: there are books that review and rate titles. Very old titles (5-10 yrs) are the most difficult to find. Most distributors favor the newer machine markets. Several publishers do continue to market older software.
Discontinued software can be found on the Internet. It is generally not worth purchasing software for "real" old machines (IBM XTs/ATs or old Apples) or monochrome machines, as newer computers are being given away or used for doorstops. Upgrade! There are more and better programs for the new machines.
Identify Quality Products Most software reviewers will explain their criteria and bias. Try to find a source whose bias closely matches your criteria and intended use. Most reviewers will look for: Easy to Install--It's hard to use if it can't be installed Quality Content--Whether for fun or for work, the content should be high quality Easy to Operate--It should be easy to navigate, easy to make changes, easy to follow. Technically Sound--Graphics & sound should play smoothly without long delays. Should be no bugs.
Adequate Use Time--Titles that have multiple levels of play, incorporate changing variables, and other elements that extend the play, make it fun or educational to use multiple times. Objectionable material--Just like movies, software needs to be screened for violence, nudity/sex, language, and other objectionable material. There will be trade-offs and sometimes reviewers will not agree. Decide what is important to you. Set a standard and eliminate titles that fall below.
Selecting Software for Young Children The average consumer doesn't usually have the opportunity to look at software before purchase. To make an informed decision, it makes sense to check in with independent review sources. Following are the criteria editors of Children's Software Revue use in evaluating each program:
Ease of Use (Can the child use it with minimal help?) Skills needed to operate the program are in range of the child Children can use the program independently after the first use Accessing key menus is straightforward Reading ability is not prerequisite to using the program Graphics make sense to the intended user Printing routines are simple
It is easy to get in or out of any activity at any point Getting to the first menu is quick and easy Controls are responsive to the touch Written materials are helpful
Instructions can be reviewed on the screen, if necessary Children know if they make a mistake Icons are large and easy to select with a moving cursor Installation procedure is straightforward and easy to do
Childproof (Is it designed with "child-reality" in mind?) Survives the "pound on the keyboard" test Offers a quick, clear, obvious response to a child’s action The child has control over the rate of display The child has control over exiting at any time The child has control over the order of the display
Title screen sequence is brief or can be bypassed When a child holds a key down, only one input is sent to the computer Files not intended for children are safe Children know when they’ve made a mistake This program would operate smoothly in a home or classroom setting
Educational (What can the child learn from this program?) Offers a good presentation of one or more content areas Graphics do not detract from the program’s educational intentions Feedback employs meaningful graphic and sound capabilities Speech is used
The presentation is novel with each use Good challenge range (this program will grow with the child) Feedback reinforces content (embedded reinforcements are used) Program elements match direct experiences
Content is free from gender bias Content is free from ethnic bias A child’s ideas can be incorporated into the program The program comes with strategies to extend the learning There is a sufficient amount of content
Entertaining (Is this program fun to use?) The program is enjoyable to use Graphics are meaningful and enjoyed by children This program is appealing to a wide audience Children return to this program time after time Random generation techniques are employed in the design
Speech and sounds are meaningful to children Challenge is fluid, or a child can select own level The program is responsive to a child’s actions The theme of the program is meaningful to children
Design Features (How "smart" is this program?) The program has speech capacity Has printing capacity Keeps records of child’s work "Branches" automatically: challenge level is fluid A child’s ideas can be incorporated into the program
Sound can be toggled or adjusted Feedback is customized in some way to the individual child Program keeps a history of the child’s use over a period of time Teacher/parent options are easy to find and use
Value oHow much does it cost vs. what it does? oIs it worth it? oConsidering the factors rated above, and the average retail price of software, rate this program’s relative value. Poor Good