Instructional Software for Family and Consumer Science Education Teachers

Below are the five types of instructional software and some additional information and resources about each. Please read the information and use it to help guide instruction in your own classrooms. Thanks for stopping by!

-Maggie McGriff, ETEC 5303

Drill and Practice

  • Description: This type of software allows students to work, usually individually, on exercises that provide practice on mastering a skill or knowledge item. Students receive feedback on their attempts and are able to repeat items if they answer them incorrectly. Examples of drill and practice software activities include flash cards, branching drills, and extensive feedback activities.

  • Relative Advantage: Not only do drill and practice softwares save teachers time, they also provide immediate feedback and can increase student motivation to learn the content.

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  • Description: This type of software is a sequenced instructional approach that could potentially replace a teacher’s instruction. Tutorials are meant to be effective learning tools that students can do individually and usually without additional assistance. Two types of tutorials are linear (same instructional sequence of explanation no matter the learner) and branching (directs different learners through different paths depending on their responses).

  • Relative Advantage: The same advantages apply to tutorials as drill and practice software. In addition, tutorials offer self-paced, self-contained instruction.

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  • Description: Simulation software models a real system that is used to teach how the real system works. These types of software can teach about something or how to do something, and can be physical, iterative, procedural, or situational.

  • Relative Advantage: Simulation tools have many benefits. They can compress real-time situations, slow down real processes, get students involved in a model of real work, make experimentation safe, and even make the impossible possible. Simulations can also save money and resources, allow repetition that may not be possible in the real world, and allow for observation of otherwise complex processes.

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Instructional Game

  • Description: These technology-based games add rules and competition to learning and instruction. Students engage in games differently than other types of learning activities, so instructional games can be used like drill and practice, or as types of learning assessments.

  • Relative Advantage: Instructional games add fun and competition to learning, which can motivate students.

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Problem Solving

  • Description: Problem solving software provides opportunities for students to do just that—solve problems. The three most important components included in problem solving are goal recognition, process, and mental activity.

  • Relative Advantage: With problem-solving software, students have increased motivation and interest in learning and will become more able to think critically. Also, problem solving creates opportunities for students to go beyond inert knowledge and apply what they learned to solve problems and think for themselves.

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Reference: Roblyer, M.D. & Doering, A. K. (2009). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching. 5th edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.