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Quality Software for Your Curricula

How do you find education software that fits your curricula? What issues should be considered and once identified how do you locate products to evaluate? Even if a software package looks good, if it doesn't match your curricula and enhance student learning, it may not be worth your purchase price nor your efforts to use it.

Educational technology should enhance the teaching/learning experience. Look at the curricula to determine the topics taught at various grade levels. Can educational software enhance the topics and teach a new skill to the students by its use? Does the software provide a learning opportunity that enhances the other experiences in the unit for that grade level? Does the software provide for a variety of grade levels and a variety of experience levels as well? These questions, in addition to some basic evaluation issues, will guide you toward making cost effective choices of educational technology.

Basic issues of the curricula match, quality of content as to accuracy and objective presentation should be accompanied by good technical aspects of both the software itself and any support materials whether in print or nonprint format. An additional issue is the overall instructional design.
With the definition of teaching and the experience of teaching/learning being redefined, as well as the influence of the growing use of the Internet and WWW, this should affect how software will be designed in the near and coming future.

A good resource for educators looking for quality software to preview is the Educational Software Preview Guide. The guide for 1996 lists over 800 titles in all subject areas for K-12 and only lists software that has received favorable reviews by members of the ESPG Consortia. Copies are available for purchase through the Lederman Science Center. Cost: $7.00. Copies of educators review comments about software previewed in the TRC are available to be read as well. The TRC collection of educational software is approaching 200 products.