Instructional Software in the Classroom

Instructional software is used to deliver or assist in the delivery of a topic (Roblyer, 2016, p. 75). In my psychology class, I use a significant amount of tool software, but I do not use as much instructional software as I probably should. There are different types of instructional software and many advantages to using these tools.

Drill and Practice

Drill-and-practice software is exactly what is sounds like, software that allows students to practice skills or learning they have already obtained. I do not spend much class time on drill-and-practice activities, but I do believe they are valuable as a study tool for students of any age. Quizlet was the resource that first came to my mind as I was reading the drill-and-practice section. Quizlet allows students to create their own flashcards or use cards that have already been created and perform different activities to practice vocabulary terms and key concepts.

Tutorials

Tutorials are used to teach a concept. Tutorials are different from the other types of instructional software because tutorials should be able to stand alone. A good tutorial can teach a topic without any other supportive materials. A good tutorial that fits all the standards is difficult to find. I found a website entitle the Brain from Top to Bottom that fits all the standards but two. It does not provide opportunities to check for student understanding and give feedback, and it does not keep records or provide a way for teachers to keep a record of student progress.

Simulations

Simulations are very beneficial in my psychology class. I do not have the funds, resources, nor the time to complete some of the activities that simulations make possible. I use a texting while driving simulation, dissection of a brain and an eye, and a simulation of lab mice on different types of drugs. My students always enjoy these activities, and I am always on the hunt for more simulations that can be used to help demonstrate psychology concepts.

Instructional Games

The use of instructional games in my classroom is typically as a review activity. I had not really considered using games to help teach content and not just review or practice it. I found some great instructional games on BBC Science that could serve as introductions to different concepts or activities to supplement the content. I am very excited about this find! During the previous school year, I was introduced to Kahoot!. It is my students’ favorite game to review material. Students are able to compete against each other and use their own devices, which they love. If you have never used Kahoot! before, I strongly encourage you to give it a try.

Problem-Solving Software

Problem-solving software was the most difficult one for me to relate to psychology. I am sure there is some out there somewhere, but I had a tough time finding any. Math can be used in psychology, especially that of statistics, but I do not often have my students complete such activities in my class. I finally settled on some TED-Ed videos with different riddles and lessons to go along with them. The lessons center around using heuristics, which are problem-solving strategies we discuss in psychology and how riddles can benefit your brain. I believe these are activities that my students would enjoy and could open up discussions on psychology topics.

Advantages

As I viewed all of these different forms of instructional software, I found a few relative advantages across the board. The largest advantage, in my opinion, is that each of these resources will increase student engagement. There are times when students need to have a basic understanding of a concept before we can move on to the more “interesting” or “exciting” information. Using some of these resources, could help students engage in order to get that basic foundation. Instructional software programs can also save precious class time and allow for activities that I would not have the resources to complete otherwise. Another important advantage is that this software allows for the individualization of student learning. It can be used to help students who may need more support with a particular concept, or it can be used to give high-achieving students something more to challenge them. I believe the advantages are enough to convince me to incorporate more instructional software into my curriculum.

Resources

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.

Instructional Software

Quizlet

Brain from Top to Bottom

Gauging Your Distraction (Cell Phone Simulation)

Sheep Brain Dissection

Cow Eye Dissection

Mouse Party Simulation

BBC Science

Kahoot!

TED-Ed

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Instructional Software in the Classroom

  1. Your post was very interesting.
    The part about the simulation software reminded me about this youtube video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbjSWDwJILs (in belgian french with american subtitled). I had the same problem with problem solving software: finding something that was simple enough yet interesting proved very hard.
    Finding engaging software is not an easy task;)
    Odile

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  2. Very well said, the two in your list that I am really familiar with kahoot and quizlet are excellent resources. I am very excited to check out some of your other resources. I in math even struggled to find some really good problem solving resources (first year in math taught 3 in science) so I can image your struggle in finding resources for your content on problem solving. I think that you did a pretty good job at find resources!

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  3. I enjoyed reading your post; it was easy to follow, and I like the design of your page. I think your class sounds interesting; the simulations must be a hit with your students! I had the same issues that you did with finding good tutorials and problem-solving software. I think it’s inherently very tough to provide good student feedback in a tutorial, regardless of content. The other qualities are a lot easier to design/program. And with problem-solving software, I think you solved the problem with a creative solution! As others have commented this week, it’s hard to find good problem-solving software, especially anything related to your specific content. I was lucky to stumble upon one app that fits the description for Spanish class, but that’s about it!

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  4. Hey, Brittni! Great to see you in class again! I enjoyed reading your blog, especially the intro about Kahoot! As an online teacher, I am always looking for ways to engage students and have them interact with one another. I believe this would be a great tool for me to use to accomplish this goal! I envision utilizing it during a LiveLesson session to review for an exam or to just get my students interacting with one another. Thanks for sharing this software! ~Leanne

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