Sample Software for Class Review and Discussion
- Animations & Tutorials
- Atlases & Databases
- Tablet Apps
- Phone Apps
- Words with Friends; Buzzword
(1) General Software Review
In this activity you will be reviewing software that you would find useful in your roll as a teacher. Note, this is a review of software, not websites. Websites can be used only if they have a high level of interactivity and animation such as those at ExploreLearning.com. You may find software on freeware and shareware, or on AppStore for iPad or Android devices.
- Review five or more pieces of educational software.You are free to chose any piece of software that is of value either for instructional, administrative, or professional purposes.
- You must have hands-on experience with the software... watching someone's software review is not sufficient.
- Write a paragraph describing each program and your professional opinion of its usefulness in education.
- At least one of your titles should be freeware or shareware that you have downloaded from the Internet.
- Include a screen capture from the software.
- Choose the best one from among these 5 for the formal software review/presentation
El Mejor Ahorcado is a vocabulary game that is better known as "Hangman" in English. The reason that this is a good application for beginning spanish students to download is because it is a vocabulary frontloader. Another positive to this application is that the student learns to spell words in Spanish by choosing each letter at a time. Just like in Engish, they will be asked to choose vowels, consonants, and learn phrases all at the same time. A negative aspect to this application is the lack of illustration. There is no way for the student to know what they are trying to "guess" other than the category name that appears. It is crucial that first year learners have some sort of image to look at.
This is one of the best applications for students to use. It is an english-spanish (along with many other languages) dictionary that offers conjugations, synonyms, and definitions. There is also an option to see a word in context. When you choose this option, the link will take you to a website in order to show you more about your word in context. When searching a word on wordreference, there is a list of "uses" of the word that is provided below for your convenience. For example, if the word "Take" was searched in Spanish, many definitions for the word would appear and each definition is used in different situations. The list of options that appear will help you with your specific context for the word. There is hardly ever any confusion when using this tool and it can be used as a reference when in a quarrel with someone about a definition or conjugation.
Spanish touch trainer is unlike any other application that I have seen. This is a translation application that comes with two levels-basic and advanced. Each "level" consists of about 100 sentences (that change as you progress) that are ready to be translated. If you click on a sentence, spanish grammar appears at the bottom of your screen and you are ready to begin translating. If you are incorrect during a portion of the sentence, the software will not advance, it will force you to correct it. This is an amazing tool for students who want to perfect and master their use of the language. It is also an amazing application for students who are just learning. The basic level of the application really stresses placement, whether it be adjective or noun placement, and allows students to concentrate on what they are doing. The best part about it is the fact that it constantly corrects the user. The downfall would definitely be the lack of images as well, but the interaction is so high, that it almost isn't necessary to have images.
Living Language Spanish is an application that deals with the essentials of the foreign language. It is broken down into four categories; words, phrases, sentences, and conversations. The reason that this type of breakdown works for students is because many of them jumped into saying, "I just want to know phrases!" or, "I just want some vocab practice!" Many students, in their demands of learning the language, refer to one of these four categories at one point or another. It is crucial to let students know that these free applications exist for their smart phones. When there is no chance for students to connect to wifi or 3 or 4G, these applications will work. I suggest that for students to pass the time in these "dead zones", they can quickly open spanish games and learn quite a bit of information.
Spanishdict can be a very useful tool for oral practice of the language. This application will take your spoken words and put them into text. I would hope that students would not use this application for homework assignments, but it would impress me that their spoken spanish was so good that it could be understood by the computer. This application can be very fun for students to play around with the sound of their own voice in spanish and be corrected at the same time. If a student does not pronounce the word correctly, the application will not recognize it and will leave the student with a word underlined in red. There are very few software programs that allow students to speak into them and get a text-like result. I think that if students could have more oral based exams with this kind of technology, and they will be surprised with themselves.
(2) Formal Software Review
In this activity you will be reviewing software that you would find useful in your roll as a teacher. Note, this is a review of software, not websites. Websites can be used only if they have a high level of interactivity and animation such as those at ExploreLearning.com. Although we have software on our local servers, much of it is antiquated, and students are best served by downloading freeware and shareware.
- Select one software product for formal review and presentation to the class. Write reviews for each according to the format guidelines provided on the following page.
(1) Description of program (Paragraph)
(2) Basic Information (a) Title (b) Publisher (c) Cost (d) ___shareware ___freeware ___commercial
(3) Target Population
(a) Is this designed for teachers or students to use ?
(b) If students, in what subject and at what grade level ?
(c) Where would this best fit into the curriculum? Subject, Grade level, Academic Ability
(d) Would this software maintain the interest of this population. Explain.
(3) Formal Presentation of Software: One or two sessions will be scheduled for formal software review. During these sessions you will present your software in small groups or to the class using network sharing software such as Apple Remote Desktop. Once you have decided on software to review, post your decision on the newsgroup as specified in class or on the web-page. first-come, first-served.
- (4) Content Goals
- (a) What, if any, concept(s) does this program introduce ?
- (b) How effective of a job does it do at teaching these concepts?
- (c) Compare with traditional techniques for teaching this concept(s). (What, if anything, does this software accomplish that traditional forms of instruction could not do as effectively. Explain)
- (5) Process Goals
- (a) What type(s) of reasoning does this program encourage (rote memorization, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, deduction, induction, etc.)?
- (d) Compare with traditional techniques for stimulating these reasoning skills. (What, if anything, does this software accomplish that traditional forms of instruction generally do not do as effectively. Explain)
- (6) Lesson Plan.
- Write three specific tasks, questions, goals, or projects that you would have your students accomplish or answer after using this software.
- (7) Summary.
- Assuming that you had access to this software, would you use it in your classroom? Explain why or why not.
- PLEASE SEE ATTACHED FILES
Make a presentation of your software using the following guidelines
- Each presentation must be limited to 15 minutes.
- Your presentations should stress how this software can be used effectively in the curriculum.
- Do not spend time discussing mechanics (menu structure, etc.) nor shortcomings
- Illustrate how the software can be used to enhance instruction.
- Provide your peers with a "hands-on experiences" lesson if at all possible.