Relative Advantage of Instructional Software in the Classroom

This week in EdTech 541, we were to research appropriate uses of instructional software in the classroom and discuss the relative advantages of doing so. I enjoyed making my presentation of this information. I found software applications for AP Statistics. This will really assist me as I progress through the school year being only my second year teaching the course. Here is a link to the presentation located on my Weebly website which contains all things EdTech 541.

There are many relative advantages when a teacher uses appropriate instructional software in any classroom.

The software can provide an alternative learning experience. This can keep students more interested in the coursework. It can also ease the workload of the teacher and save them time when the software is ready to use. Likewise, using instructional software in the classroom can increase student motivation by providing variety in the classroom routine.

GSP stats ex

An excellent software purchase can save schools and districts money over the long-run. A software package purchase that is well thought out, teachers are trained to use it and it increases productivity over using pencil and paper, is a well made investment. The idea is more student learning will occur with such a purchase.

aleks pic

Branching tutorial software can help close gaps that students may have in mathematics, statistics and other topics as well. These provide an individualized learning plans, like Aleks.com, where students can learn and relearn topics they struggle with from their past (or present as well). If a student knows a topic, they can quickly answer the questions on that topic and move on. Students do not have to wait for others to move on to a topic they need more assistance with.

applet pic 1

Within my Instructional Software Presentation, there are four resources that are my personal favorites to use in the math and/or statistics classroom; Aleks.com, Statistical Applets, Spreadsheets (Microsoft and Google) and Geometer’s Sketchpad. These are all resources that do more than simple drill and practice, as they provide lessons for students or the opportunity to explore math and data in open-ended scenarios.

spreadsheet pic

Well designed instructional software provides differentiated instruction opportunities, creates higher student engagement rates, can improve student problem solving skills and incorporates the use of many 21st Century Skill Standards. Each teacher needs to explore which software will work best for them and their students.

References

Roblyer, M. D. & Doerling, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.) (p.10-51). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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10 Comments

Filed under AECT Standard 2.4

10 responses to “Relative Advantage of Instructional Software in the Classroom

  1. Angie,

    You’re right about some programs providing an alternative learning experience. Some students need the reinforcement, or motivation associated with using one of these programs. At our school, we practice Mastery Based Learning, which is very similar to a learning video game. You continue to work to master a concept, or you don’t pass the level. Once you have mastered the concept you get to move on.
    On e of my favorite resources is Khan Academy, it provides basically all five categories of learning software into one neat package.

    Dave

    • Thanks Dave: I do enjoy mastery based learning. We had that concept in our last curriculum for math. Now it has gone away because common core does not have that philosophy. Is your state adopting common core? That philosophy is learn it once, but learn it well…depth over breadth. However, my big concern is we still have the expectation of breadth. I am not sure that is going to work very well. What is your district going to do?

      • Our curriculum gets re-written every 7 years, two years ago we adopted Common Core Mathematics, last year Language Arts and reading was overhauled to include the Common Core as well. It’s been interesting to see it included in the QSI philosophy to say the least! Like many things that we do here, we take the parts that work for us and then don’t bother with the rest of it. I guess you could say we have done common core ala carte. We pick a choose the parts that we follow in order to make it work with our system.

  2. Great ideas! I need to look into some of these that are new to me. Thanks for the information.

  3. Khan Academy is one of my favorite sites, too. My middle school students love how he explains things so simply. No matter how well I think I explained it, after they watch a tutorial, suddenly the light bulb comes on!
    Do you find that a lot of the really good software is super expensive? One of the physics simulations sites I found cost $1900 for a class of 30. I wish there was a better way to try out software before spending hundreds of dollars on a program.

    • Wow that is expensive!! With that price tag, it makes it even more important to make sure you are buying software that will enhance the student experience and save you money in the long run. I bet with physics, you would save some money by not having to buy consumable supplies for certain simulations. But then again, will you lose some excitement too?

      • You definitely lose some of the excitement, but you gain accuracy. The biggest problem with experimentation at our level is being able to control all the variables. In addition, the simulations allow us to test and measure variables that we cannot possibly do because the equipment is costly or the reactions are dangerous. Still, $1900 is way out of my price range. I’ll be looking for cheaper options.

  4. Carrie Day

    Angie,
    I appreciated looking at all the software you selected and your presentation was thorough and in depth. I’m sure your motivated learners use much of these resources outside of class. The problem-solving choices especially intrigue me since there seem to be so few in social studies for middle school students.
    As usual, excellent work!
    Carrie

    • Hi Carrie:
      I had a tough time finding “good” resources for AP Stats as well. There are resources, but are they useful and enhance the student experience? That is the true question to ask when looking for software.
      Thanks! Angie

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