Beyond The Basic Programs
24 years ago Joe Nathan stated in his book Micro-Myths;
"The evidence is accumulating that computers are having a decided impact on the way schools and society organize, communicate, and make decisions."
Evidence has proved this to be true.
There are many categories of software tools. Each has proven to be benefitual in many occupations and life.
Software that generates material from IEP's , Tests, Worksheets, and publishing have allowed creation and use of documents while saving time.
Data collection and analysis tools such as electronic grade books, student management in all realms, and useful statistics have enabled all those involved with a students education to track the students progress and analyze the progress for possible needed improvements.
Graphic tools such as draw and paint programs along with editing software has allowed visual learners to better gain comprehension of a subject, while allowing other students to have the opportunity of self expression in an educational way.
Planning and organizing tools have made lesson planning and scheduling easier and less time consuming, thus creating more time for individual students.
Research and reference tools such as electronic encyclopedias, atlases, and dictionaries have made it easier and supplied the opportunity for access to varying perspectives of specific topics.
Other occupations have been developed and taught as tools to support specific content areas. These include CAD systems, MIDI tools (music editor/sequencers), Reading tools, and Global Positioning systems (GPS).
Classroom application can be in many forms. The opportunity to attract the attention and motivate every type of learner is available. The current and upcoming generation of learners and students is exposed to all forms of technology. It is shaping their lives and perception of learning. This requires a broad knowledge of the varieties of ever expanding technology. To gain this knowledge and apply it to instruction, time and funding is needed. With the use of test generators, easy electronic access to research guides and information, the graphical stimulation technological sources have on modern day learners time can be saved while learning by both the teacher and student can occur. Recommendations of workshops and grant writing to help increase technology use and access within every classroom is needed. The student who has a more rounded and up to date education will have more confidence in facing the ever changing world that is becoming dependent of technology.
Student information systems (SIS) are networked software systems that help educators keep track of student, class, and schools data to maintain records and support decision making. Depending on the SIS schools choose, the system may do any or all of the following:
o Track and report on attendance
0Maintain records on student demographic data
o Schedule students
o Track and report on test scores and achievement by objective
o Allow parents to have online access to student grades and attendance information
o Notify parents about problems with grades or attendance."
(Roblyer, M.D. Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching 2006 Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ Ch.5 p.163-164)
Statistical data of student interests and behavior can allow for better and more efficient tracking of the students who may need some for of physical or emotional help. Technology and statistical data programs can track students behavior and incidents, including where and when. This data can then be analyzed to help get to the root source of the students behavior and types of incidents. Computer tracking of students when they access the schools computers can be used to monitor and guide inappropriate use, along with allowing access to student interests, thus helping guide and motivate them to set a goal related to their interests. Creativity from teachers and students alike must be explored and put to an educational use. The software programs can help express ideas and even generate them. The feeling of control is in the hands of the learner, thus making the education experience more relevant and meaningful. The meaningful experience creates knowledge an intrinsically learning atmosphere.