Saturday, March 2, 2013

Journal Post #7

Week 7 is upon us! As I read through chapter  seven, contemplating which focus question to do, I found myself interested in all the questions. I decided to discus focus question two.

How can teachers evaluate the different types of educational software available today?

I think that this an important question and something that we all as teachers should know this information.

·      Educational software commonly used by teachers and students include skills-based learning software, educational games, composing and calculating software, inquiry and discovery learning software, visual thinking and concept mapping software, simulations and virtual reality environments, and digital games for learning.
·      School systems purchase software and install copies on every computer in a school or a districts, thereby largely establishing what software teachers and students can use in their classrooms.
·      The delivery of educational software is becoming increasingly Web-based.

As teachers we use educational software to meet multiple instructional goals. Let’s break these down. Starting with the educational software, let’s discuss the different kinds of software.

·      Composing and Calculating Software-  Microsoft Word and Excel would be considered composing and calculating software. Writing and math are considered core parts of everyday curriculum. This software is considered to be essential.
·      Building, Inventing and Creating Software- building, inventing and creating happen when students engage in open-ended explorations of topics and items that interest them.  Building, inventing and creating software can function to provide students with environments for interactive and engaging explorations. The key to this outcome is the students’ efforts not to be determined by the software. The most effective programs are those that do not require a single right way to use them or a single right answer. Kid Pix and Google Earth of two examples of this software.
o   Kid Pix- A widely used educational program for more than twenty years. It began as a paint program and has evolved into a multimedia online art studio with an extensive collection of features. In addition to letting you draw, paint and collage on the computer screen, you can import text and images from other files, add sound effects, resize images and other visual materials, record your own voice, or build a slideshow to show viewers.  Instructionally, teachers can use Kid Pix across the curriculum to accomplish creative learning. Much of what elementary school students do on a paper worksheet can be uniquely done in Kid Pix. In Math, Kid Pix invites K-6 students to make their own books and posters illustrating math facts and concepts.
o   Google Earth- It’s composed of photographs taken by satellites and aircraft of virtually every location in the world over the past three years. It lets users zoom down from the sky to explore landmarks, paces and points of interest and study. Teachers at every grade level can make use of the resources in Google Earth. Students can take virtual journeys throughout their community or across the country. Such journey’s are unique opportunities for thoughtful discussions between teachers and students. 

·      Visual Thinking and Concept Mapping Software- Allows teachers and students organize and outline their ideas visually on a computer. Inspiration Software, Inc. has created three highly flexible visual thinking programs. Tools in these programs include graphs, symbols, charts, voice, and other organizing devices, that are catlysts for creative self expression by students.
o   Kidspiration- Elementary students
o   Inspire Date- Middle and High school students
o   Inspiration-High school and adults
·      Computer Games as Learning Resources- Computer games are computer, video and web-based game software applications that are immediately popular among children and adolescents today. Computer games and simulations range from relatively simple programs to highly interactive and dynamic multimedia experiences where the users have multiple ways to interact with the computer.
o   Computer games share six basic characteristics-
§  Rules
§  Goals and objectives
§  Outcomes and feedback
§  Conflict/competition/challenge/opposition
§  Interaction
§  Representation or story
·      Skills Learning Games- Use elements of game play to involve in learning academic material.
·      Virtual Words and Digital Games-
o   Virtual Worlds are online computer based environments where users adopt online identities (avatars) and interact with other game players. Virtual worlds however do not always have game structure with formal rules, specific outcomes, or defined winners or losers. Sesame Workshop would be a great example of an Education virtual world.

o   Digital games for learning is a computer and web-based game that is designed with educational rather than entertainment goals in mind. 

The information in this area is vast. As teachers we should continue to educate ourselves in technology and digital learning.

Now let’s talk about the Tech Tool. There were only two in this chapter and I felt that while the second one had great information and worth reading and learning about, I chose the first tech tool.

Tech Tool 7.1

Discovery Learning using Squeak and Scratch

Squeak etoys is an open source, free, downloadable software that supports inquiry learning and problem solving by elementary and middle school students, especially in math and science

Scratch is an electronic toolkit that enables students to make their own games, animated stories and interactive art.

As you can see with the information and videos that this chapter is full of information, that included here and as I said before there is much more in this chapter that I would love to share. Using the technology in the classroom is becoming more and more prominent and accessible to us. Knowing how to use this technology inside the classroom is essential. Knowing the different types of technology and how to use it will help me as a teacher.

As we come to a close of yet another week and another chapter, enjoy and until next time!


Textbook - Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5   

1 comment:

  1. Extensive view of the focus question and glad you looked into Squeak and Scratch - both interesting ways to build creativity. I wonder if you have thought about how you might use this type of software in your future classroom?!