Jay Hawkins (1997), for the Center for Children and technology, wrote that “Instead of asking, “Should schools have computers?” we need to focus on a more productive question: “How are technologies best used in education to help students achieve and prepare for the world outside of school?” Introducing hardware such as laptops, IPads and Smartphones into the classroom is becoming a redundant conversation. “Today’s technology standards (ISTE, 2000) challenge teacher education programs across the nation to address the need to produce computer literate teachers who are not just knowledgeable of the internet, word processing programs, spreadsheets, and presentation software, but are also confident in their ability to incorporate instructional software and websites into everyday classroom teaching.” (Mistretta, 2005). School districts and teachers alike are scrambling to find the best and most affordable software that assists in teaching students in a new and more diverse way.
Technology and Instructional software has been designed to combat common learning challenges within the classroom. These challenges include, but are not limited to, retaining and memorizing information, visualizing things that cannot otherwise be seen, and obtaining the correct and appropriate materials in a cost effective manner. Students who are physically and learning disabled benefit from specific and tailored assistive technology, which also has a place in this conversation. Simply put, when technology is adapted into the classroom, a spectrum of needs (of both the teacher and students) can be met IF the correct software is chosen.
Kent Peacock stated that “The purpose of technology is to enhance human to human contact, and if technology is intelligently designed with this end in mind the machine itself should tend to disappear, not dominate” (Smith). Instructional software has the ability to engage students in the subject while connecting them to others in class. For example, 9th and 10th graders are using software purchased by the school district here in Indiana to keep track of current events. This software allows students to pull information off the web in an organized way so that they are able to journal what they read. The advantage to this is simple. Students are becoming active, they are becoming opinionated and more so, they are eager to use technology to learn more and share more.
Trialing, selecting and then integrating instructional software can be challenging in itself. There are, however, five main classifications of software available that narrow down such decisions. These classifications: Drill and Practice, Tutorial, Simulation, Instructional Games, and Problem Solving could easily be integrated into a High School social studies classrooms and further more have the capacity for students to show certain skills and abilities while learning with the content.
Reflecting upon this module I will admit that my excitement knows no boundaries. I am excited to try new applications. I am excited to integrate problem solving and simulation software into my lesson planning but most of all, I am excited to know that through the use of Instructional software, public schools are one step closer to 21st Century learning.
The Instructional Software Prezi can be viewed here.
Integrating Technology into the Mathematics Classroom: the Role of Teacher Preparation Programs. Mistretta, Regina. The Mathematics Educator, 2005, Vol. 15, No.1, 18-24.
Smith, T. (n.d.). Technology in the classroom: a field guide. Retrieved from http://www.csf.usu.edu/presentations/field_guide.ppt
Roblyer, M. D., and A. Doering. Integrating educational technology into teaching . 5th ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2010. Print.