Saturday, February 2, 2013
Week 3: Only five types to write about....
Drill and Practice! Based on direct instruction, Drill and Practice software was popular when programs were first being developed. D & P software allows students to work on simple problems, gradually working to more difficult problems. Students answer questions, get feedback, and advance or regress to different levels of difficult depending on the number of correct answers. Many children find this kind of drill and practice (which has definite value) much more entertaining than completing fifty or so math problems on a boring worksheet. There are many different kinds of drill and practice software, and the first one that comes to my mind is the one that my kids would bring home from school during the fundraising effort for St. Jude's every year called the Math-A-Thon. My kids really liked it. They would get pledge money for every problem they completed correctly, and would move through the different levels in the program. Click here for an online version.
Tutorial- A directed method just like the D & P programs, tutorial is kind of like a virtual tutor that can take the place of a teacher entirely. However, this one includes instructions and explanations to help teach a concept, rather than just measure knowledge like the D & P, though it utilizes drill & practice. Some necessities of a good tutorial program, according to the text "Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching", includes having extensive interactivity, ability for user to adjust how fast/slow program works and which pages can be viewed (self-paced), loads of feedback, and is at an appropriate level for the learner. One that I've used in the classroom (and is also mentioned in the text) is found at The Physics Classroom .
Simulations- Simulation programs are very popular in the science domain. They are programs that "simulate" an environment or situation, allowing the use to experience it using the computer controls rather than authentic hands-on experience. One of my first experiences with a simulation program was the time I got to "fly" a BlackHawk helicopter some years ago when I lived in Ft. Wainwright, Alaska. Simulators can be a very useful tool in the classroom. These programs fall under both the directed and constructivist strategies in that they allow problem-solving to occur. One can find loads of examples of simulation software, "Sims" comes to mind, a once-popular program that allowed people to build a virtual life for themselves. One that involves effective instruction (especially for the squeamish) is a sim program that allows for virtual frog dissection
Instructional Game: These are essentially what we call educational games. These are computer games with an instructional bent. Obviously, kids would find games appealing, and the added benefit of learning is a great thing to bring to the classroom. The best of these should be appealing, exciting, challenging, and flexible to the user's abilities. They must be carefully evaluated to be certain that these really *do* help children learn the desired objectives. Jeopardy is an all-time favorite in my classroom, and there are many sites that allow you to use the content that want when creating your self-tailored Jeopardy game. There are more science games at this website.
Problem Solving- This kind of software focuses on higher-order thinking skills. Problem solving software allows the student to develop the skills of analyzing and solving problems. One that my kids use on their ipads (my own kids) is called "Bridgebuilder" which is a lesson in physics- they construct bridges and then try to drive trucks across them safely. Problem solving games utilize both directed and constructivist strategies, and increase motivation to learn. They can be used to teach a concept, and reinforce a concept. A middle-school science example can be found here.
Posted by Bonnie P. at 7:13 AM