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Using Instructional Software

Rhonda Christensen
CECS 4100
Types of Instructional Software
 Drill and Practice
 Tutorial
 Simulation
 Problem Solving
 Tool Software
 Programming
Drill and Practice Software
 Prior to 1984 about 75% of educational
sofware was drill and practice
 Easy way to “get started”
 Easy programs to write
 Often keep track of student progress
Drill and Practice Software
 Advantages
• Immediate feedback
– error analysis techniques
• Efficient record keeping
– current progress of each student
• Motivation
– Even though perhaps electronic worksheets
• Can help individualize instruction
Tutorial Software
 Concepts are presented followed by the
opportunity to practice using that
 Guided practice
 Immediate feedback
Tutorial Software
 Advantages
• Interaction
• Individualization
– Adjust pace
– Student control vs. computer control
– Branching techniques
– Intelligent tutoring systems
• Efficiency
How to Use Tutorials in Teaching
 For self-paced reviews of instruction
 As an alternative learning strategy
 To allow instruction when teachers are
• advanced students
• rural areas
Computer Simulations
 A representation or model of an event,
an object or a phenomenon
 Simplified model containing essential
elements of real thing
 Power to manipulate aspects of model
• Ex. Lemonade Stand
• Decisions, Decisions
• Carmen series
How to Use Simulations
in Teaching
 Compress time
 Slow down process
 Get students involved
 Make experimentation safe
 Make the impossible possible
 Save money and other resources
 Repeat with variations
 Make situations controllable
Problem Solving Courseware
 Similar to simulation but not necessarily
an attempt at a real-life situation
 Problem solving skills
• Working backward
• Breaking a problem into parts
• Identifying necessary/unnecessary info.
• Looking for sequence or patterns
• Visual reasoning
Tool Software
 Has become common in education
 Word processors, data bases,
spreadsheets, graphics programs,
hypermedia and stat programs
 Most can be used in many ways in
many disciplines
Programming Software
 Most control over computer
 Teaching of programming has steadily
declined in U.S. schools
Programming Software
 Controversial regarding teaching in
 Few will become programmers
 Learning how to program teaches an
awareness of what can be done, etc.
 Should be used to reach a goal - within
curriculum goals
Integrated Learning Systems
 Includes instructional software and a
management system
 Operates on a LAN (Local Area
 Includes pretest, diagnosis of learner’s
level, assignments, post-test,
Integrated Learning Systems
 Students typically work at their own
 Usually in lab setting
 May drive rather than support the
 Expensive
 Overuse in U.S.
Computer Managed Instruction
 Teacher’s use of computer to manage
• gradebook (spreadsheet)
• newsletters
• reports
• clerical management
Problems with Effective Use of
Computers in the Classroom
 Teacher training
 Lack of integration into curricululm
 Dynamic nature of computing
Evaluating and Selecting
Instructional Software
Locating Software
 Vendor catalogs
 Professional journals
 Conferences
 Online web sites
 Educational organizations
 Colleagues
Evaluating Software
 Determine what will meet curricular
goals and objectives
 Determine criteria
 Read reviews
 Order preview copy
 Mechanism for inventorying and
distributing software
Criteria for Software Evaluation
 Content characteristics
• Is content accurate?
• Does the content have educational value?
• Is the content free of race, ethnic, sex and
other stereotypes?
Criteria for Software Evaluation
 Instructional Characteristics
• Is the purpose well defined?
• Does it achieve its purpose?
• Is the presentation of content clear and
• Is the level of difficulty appropriate for
target audience?
• Are graphics, color, etc. appropriate?
Criteria for Software Evaluation
 Instructional Characteristics (con’t)
• Is the package motivational?
• Does it stimulate creativity?
• Is feedback from students effectively
• Does the learner control rate and
• Is instruction integrated with previous
Criteria for Software Evaluation
 Technical Characteristics
• Are user support materials comprehensive
and effective?
• Can intended user easily operate the
• Can teachers easily use the program?
• Is the program reliable?
Stay legal with Software
 Determine the number of copies your
school/district will purchase
 Follow copyright agreement
 Consider lab packs, site license