Educational software…Which programs are effective for learning?

On Tuesday evening, Luke Braun, Rochelle Rugg, Krista Gates, Elizabeth Therrien, and Amy Singh spoke about educational software and media. I found their presentation to be insightful and informational as they explained the learning theories and ideologies behind many of the software programs that are currently being used within schools and in the work place. So, I would like to start off this week’s blog by saying thank you and well done to Luke, Rochelle, Krista, Elizabeth, and Amy on their delightful presentation!

During the presentation, we learned not all software programs are designed specifically with education in mind. Although, we may choose to use these programs depending on whether or not it may be used according to the task at hand. Educational software programs are usually created through a process of scaffolding, investigation, interaction as well as learning by design. Therefore, before we begin using software or media tools, it is essential to take the time to educate ourselves about the program and truly understand its purpose. By doing this, we can be confident that the tool chosen is valuable. Moreover, we must consider our audience when using educational software and media tools. Although many children engage face-to-face confidently and are visual learners, there are many children who do not engage confidently and are not visual learners, therefore using online software may prove to be constructive. We must also consider the privileged and disadvantaged students when using educational software. Factors such as policy, funding, socio-economic status and geographical location determine the accessibility of educational software and media tools. Therefore, not every child may benefit from its use.

Within my professional practice, I have always made an attempt to stay up to date with the most recent software programs and apps. As a teacher who uses technology often within my daily life and teaching, I am always searching for programs that may be useful within my classroom and for my students. Kahoot is an online program I have grown accustomed to. Although it creates somewhat of a competitive environment, I’ve always found it to be fun, encouraging as well as engaging for my students. It is also a wonderful tool that may be used at the beginning of a new unit (to test the students previous knowledge about the topic) or for reviewing learned content. Kahoot can also help the teacher identify the students who have grasped concepts and the students who have not.

I have recently learned how to use Screencast-O-Matic. Although this recording software program appeared to be intimidating at first, I have to admit I rather enjoyed using it after I learned how to use it appropriately. In fact, after using this program I began to brainstorm many ways which it could be incorporated into my daily lessons. This program would also serve well to children who fear publicly speaking. Perhaps, it may provide them with the confidence they need so they may speak in a more comfortable and private setting while recording themselves.

PowerSchool is an educational software tool used often within my professional practice. PowerSchool provides an online environment where I can store my marking/final grades as well as record attendance. Parents and their children now have access to PowerSchool, they may view their grades as well as their attendance record. Furthermore, this program provides an opportunity for both teacher and parents to be informed about their child’s progress and learning experience.

Google Classroom is a program I am interested in learning how to use. Although I feel this program may be too advanced for my students, I can definitely see how it may be useful within older classrooms. During the presentation, Elizabeth spoke about her love for using Google Classroom. She appreciates how effective the program is for organizing assignments as well as keeping students on track with their assignments.

Overall, there are many educational software programs and media tools available for use within schools and in the workplace. However, we must select programs that work best for our students. Educational software programs can provide an exciting and enhancing learning experience when they are use appropriately and in moderation. So, take the time that is needed in order to determine whether it is valuable to the task at hand. Remember, not all software programs were designed with education in mind. Find the ones that are beneficial to you and your students.


One thought on “Educational software…Which programs are effective for learning?

  1. I like this quote from the Tony Bates article this week: “However, for me, technologies or even technological systems do not of themselves communicate or create meaning. They just sit there until commanded to do something or until they are activated or until a person starts to interact with the technology. At this point, we start to move into media.”

    Educational software creates a lot of opportunities for learning with our students but I truly feel that it’s the people behind the technologies that are driving the learning and creating meaning. Technologies without the human connection are simply tools.


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