Teachers Network
Translate Translate English to Chinese Translate English to French
  Translate English to German Translate English to Italian Translate English to Japan
  Translate English to Korean Russian Translate English to Spanish
Lesson Plan Search
Proud New Owners of teachnet.org... We're Very Flattered... But Please Stop Copying this Site. Thank You.
Our Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Popular Teacher Designed Activities
TeachNet NYC Dirctory of Lesson Plans

VIDEOS FOR TEACHERS
RESOURCES
Teachers Network Leadership Institute
How-To Articles
Videos About Teaching
Effective Teachers Website
Lesson Plans
TeachNet Curriculum Units
Classroom Specials
Teacher Research
For NYC Teachers
For New Teachers
HOW-TO ARTICLES
TEACHER RESEARCH
LINKS

GRANT WINNERS
TeachNet Grant:
Lesson Plans
2010
TeachNet Grant Winners
2009
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
2008
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
2007
TeachNet Grant Winners
Adaptor Grant Winners
Other Grant Winners
Power-to-Learn
Math and Science Learning
Ready-Set-Tech
Impact II
Grant Resources
Grant How-To's
Free Resources for Teachers
ABOUT
Our Mission
Funders
   Pacesetters
   Benefactors
   Donors
   Sponsors
   Contributors
   Friends
Press
   Articles
   Press Releases
Awards
   Cine
   Silver Reel
   2002 Educational Publishers Award

Sitemap

New Teachers Online: How-To Articles: Use New Technology to Reinforce Instruction

Selecting Grade-Appropriate Software
Rand Briggs

The selection of grade-appropriate computer software involves very much the same process as textbook selection in most districts. Most school districts have a set process by which they choose and approve textbooks for use by their students. Issues that are examined generally include the following:

  • Readability
  • Appropriate vocabulary level
  • Supporting teacher materials
  • Gender/multicultural presentation
  • Durability

In the not too distant past, teachers were often left to their own devices when it came to selecting computer software for their students. Not only was the selection limited, but the software was generally fairly expensive and often not very attractive to the student. Thankfully, time has changed this situation. Although the software remains expensive, the range of choices and their attractiveness to the students has greatly increased.

With this increase in the range of choices, given the budgetary constraints most of us must work within, it is important to be thoughtful when examining software for possible inclusion into your program. In most cases, your district probably already has a software selection and adoption process. Some of the questions that are listed below may fall within their adoption process. I t may also be true that some of the items listed below will not be included in your district's software adoption policy. But my experience is that they are helpful guidelines, and they might also cause you to come up with additional questions of your own. These are questions that I ask when I look at new software for my students:

  • Are the graphics appropriate and interesting to the students?
  • Is the information presented accurate?
  • Is the program easy to use?
  • Does the program provide feedback to the student?
  • Does the program supplement material presented in your class?
  • Will it run on your computers?
  • Does it require speakers, a CD-ROM, or other additional hardware?
  • Will students tire of it easily, or does it provide new levels of difficulty?
  • Is it heavily text based (students generally avoid this type of software)?
  • Does it have an aspect of entertainment (puzzle, storyline, action, or activity)? Students are generally more attracted to this form of presentation.
  • What does it cost per copy?
  • Is a site license available and will this be more economical?
  • How many copies of the program will you need?
  • Can two students effectively share a copy of the program and work on it together?
  • Does it present new information, expand on (broaden) current information, or remediate to improve student understanding?
  • Does it provide an intellectual challenge for your students at their level (or within the range of abilities of your students)?
  • Finally, and I think this is perhaps the most important question to ask when looking at software-
    Does it make learning boring, or does it make it more fun?

These questions aren't the only ones you can ask, but they have kept me from buying software that just sits on the shelf. They also serve to remind me that just because I think a program is great, that doesn't necessarily mean that my students will!

 

Come across an outdated link?
Please visit The Wayback Machine to find what you are looking for.

 

Journey Back to the Great Before