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Instructional Software. Deborah Lyman EdTech 541 Summer 2012. By What is instructional software?.

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Instructional Software

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Instructional software

Instructional Software

Deborah Lyman

EdTech 541

Summer 2012


What is instructional software

What is instructional software?

Instructional software is defined by Doering and Robyler (2013) as software that is “designed… to deliver instruction or to aid in the delivery of instruction” (pg 77).

Instructional software

What is instructional software?

Taken from Doering and Roblyer (2013)

Drill and Practice



Designed to give students practice solving skills. These programs usually give immediate feedback.

Designed as stand alone lessons, these programs are usually used to replace instruction rather than be used as an add-on to teacher instruction.

These games are created to add competition and game-like rules to learning activities.

This software is focused on developing content-specific problem solving skills.

This software is used to simulate real-world experience. They either teach how to do something or about something.

Educational Games

Problem-Solving Software

What is relative advantage of instructional software

What is relative advantage of instructional software?

Software should always have a positive impact on student achievement.

Types of drill and practice

Types of Drill and Practice

  • Flash card activity – Basic drill and practice activity in which the student sees a problem and then chooses or fills in the answer, usually timed activities

  • Chart fill-in activity – In these activities the students are asked to answer multiple questions by filling in a chart, usually timed activities

  • Branching drill – In these activities the questions get progressively harder based on correct answers to prerequisite skills

Relative advantage of drill and practice

Relative advantage of Drill and Practice

  • Improve automaticity of basic skills such as word fluency and math fact fluency

  • Does not require teacher direction, can be used independently of the instructor

  • Gives immediate feedback to students

  • Usually include a reporting system for teachers to be able to track student progress

  • Motivate students to practice skills

Examples of drill and practice software

Examples of Drill and Practice Software

  • Fastt Math – Scholastic program aimed toward math fact fluency

  • Mavis Beacon Typing – Keyboarding software by Broderbund

  • Spell Quizzer – Software to drill students on spelling words

  • Grammar Shape-Up – Software created by Merit to practice grammar skills

Types of tutorials

Types of Tutorials

  • Linear Tutorial – These tutorials use the same sequence, practice, and feedback to all learners regardless of the student’s performance

  • Branching Tutorial – These tutorials change in sequence and difficulty based on the student’s performance

Relative advantage of tutorials

Relative advantage of Tutorials

  • Self-paced review of materials for students who need extra support

  • Can be used in centers, allowing teachers to maximize time efficiency

  • Can be used to present information if the teacher is not available

  • Gives students a chance to hear instruction from alternative sources

  • Can be used in a flipped-classroom

Examples of tutorials

Examples of Tutorials

  • Math Tutor – Tutorials aligned with Common Core Standards of Mathematics

  • Core Learning – Company that has created tutorial software for multiple disciplines

Relative advantage of simulations

Relative advantage of Simulations

  • Allow students to experience something that would not normally be possible due to monetary or physical restraints

  • Highly engaging for students

  • Encourage higher levels of critical thinking and problem solving skills

  • Allows students to experience complex experiments and processes

Examples of simulation software

Examples of Simulation Software

  • Starry Night – This software simulates different astronomical concepts

  • Layered Earth – Simulates earth science processes

  • Oregon Trail – Simulates the journey of early pioneers as they crossed the United States

Educational games

Educational Games

Combining learning with gaming and entertainment

Relative advantage of educational games

Relative Advantage of Educational Games

  • Highly engaging, requires little teacher direction

  • Gives students a break from the “normal” school routine

  • Presented in a format very familiar to most students

Examples of educational games

Examples of Educational Games

  • Knowledge Adventure – This company created games such as Reading Blaster, Math Blaster and others

  • Learning Company – This company created games such as Reader Rabbit, Reader Math and others

Types problem solving software

Types Problem-Solving Software

  • Content-Area problem solving skills – This software focuses on learning problem-solving skills needed in a specific content area

  • Content-Free problem solving skills – This software focuses on general problem solving skills that can be applied across the curriculum

Relative advantage of problem solving software

Relative Advantage of Problem-Solving Software

  • Helps students visualize the process of problem solving in a unique environment

  • Highly engaging to students as they receive feedback and work through complex problems successfully

  • On their own so they are not overshadowed by other students “correct answers”

Choosing educational software

Choosing Educational Software

Websites to help evaluate and choose educational software

Websites to help evaluate and choose educational software

  • Technology Today

  • Software evaluation web quest

  • Evaluation Form



  • Reinberg, S. (2010, January 20). U.S. Kids Using Media Almost 8 Hours a Day. BusinessWeek: Lifestyle. Retrieved from

  • Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Pearson.

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