Instructional software is applications software that is designed specifically to deliver or assist with student instruction on a topic. Instructional software mainly comes in five forms: drill and practice, tutorials, simulations, educational games, and applications (Roblyer & Doering, 2012). Why is instructional software needed in the school classrooms? Roblyer and Doering go on to say that there is increasing conversation about computer programs helping perform various teaching functions which in turn would transform the teaching process. Instructional software refers to computer programs that have a specific function of assisting with the teaching or conveying understanding of a topic. There are five types of instructional software: drill and practice, tutorial, simulation, instructional game, and problem solving.
Drill and practice utilizes working examples of that allow for the user to practice solving the problems. A great website for this activity is http://www.studyisland.com/web/index/ . Students seem to like the graphics that study island has and the interactive problems that they solve. This site also lets them know if the learner’s answers are correct or incorrect.
Tutorial helps students learn concepts through presentation of material and examples of what is expected and how to complete the task. Example of tutorial would be http://www.mts.com/ . This software provides many different tutorial programs for education.
Simulations offer students a chance to test out theories in computer generated versions of real world applications. Example of simulation would be http://www.time4learning.com/ . This software allows the learner to go through many different math lessons, building on what they do not know and testing their knowledge at the end.
Instructional Games allow students to learn a variety of topics in an edutainment type of manner. An example of an instructional game would be http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/ . This software is used for math concepts and brings fun to the classroom.
Problem Solving Software has students using logical thinking and prior knowledge to accomplish objectives. An example of this is http://pbskids.org/ . This software allows the students to solve different problems related to science and math.
Two online sources that have reviewed software are:
http://www.discoveryeducation.com/ -This website was evaluated by educators and parents alike and discusses software on many different subject areas.
http://www.learningvillage.com/ – This software is evaluated by educators and constantly being updated. Software is evaluated on ease of use, educational and engagement value, depth of content and multilevel learning.
Roblyer, M.D. & Doering, A.H. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Allyn & Bacon.