Choosing Educational Software for Adult Literacy
Review: Choosing educational software for adult literacy
(ARIS Information Sheet, February 1999)
BY MARIA MORIARTY
Given the ever-increasing number of educational software packages on the market and the increasing use of computers and software packages in literacy programs, the issue of how to make appropriate, cost-effective choices is becoming evermore critical.
In addition, the budget and time limitations that affect most teachers and programs mean that the need for advice and guidance in making software purchases becomes correspondingly important.
Needs and priorities will of course vary widely from program to program and among individual teachers and no single evaluative tool can guarantee good choices. This short pamphlet produced recently by ARIS, the Adult Education Resource and Information Service, Language Australia offers practical suggestions as to how to set about evaluating software prior to purchase. The pamphlet consist of four short sections:
An outline of what educational software has to offer in adult literacy.
A note on the importance for programs to make decisions about their software needs and purchases in the context of the overall educational goals of the individual organization.
The "Where to Begin" section is further subdivided as follows:
This short, easy-to-read information sheet does not claim to be a comprehensive guide to software purchasing. It is, however, a useful resource to help guide programs and individual teachers in focussing their own priorities and concerns when making decisions about suitable software. The information in the pamphlet is presented in a clear and wellorganized manner and could be used effectively as a ready reference tool in guiding appropriate choices and making costeffective software purchasing decisions. The pamphlet is available for sale from the Language Australia Web-Site at: http://sunsite.anu.edu.au/language~australia/sales.html
I have included below a list of further reading to complement this pamphlet.
For a more thorough examination of the issues surrounding the choice and use of educational software readers may wish to consult: Squires, D. & McDougall, A. 1994. Choosing and Using Educational Software: A Teachers Guide. Falmer Press. U.K.
This book includes an examination of several checklists used to evaluate software prior to purchase and in classroom use. Although somewhat dated it remains a useful resource in relation to the discussion of software evaluation in general for those who want to pursue a more indepth study of the issues. The appendix contains several sample checklists that can be adapted for use by programs and individuals.
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