The idea of using computer software to teach is not a new concept. According to Roblyer and Doering (2012), educators and software developers have been evolving the idea since the 1960’s. These days computer software designed for teaching is often referred to as either “Instructional” or “Educational” software. Instructional software is any program designed with the primary purpose of teaching or aiding in self-learning. Instructional software often falls into five main categories. These categories are drill and practice, tutorials, simulations, instructional games, and problem-solving programs. However, the current trend is moving towards software that has multiple functions and combines these categories into a single package (Roblyer and Doering, 2012). There are many advantages instructional software can have over traditional teaching methods. These advantages include enabling students to better learn independently, providing immediate feedback, offering greater access to information, and allowing for levels of experimentation not possible in a regular classroom (Grove, 2012).

It is important to remember that despite the opportunities using instructional software presents, it does not necessarily guarantee success or is it a solution to all of teacher’s challenges. Merit software, one of the leading educational software companies even acknowledges this on their website. They state that there is not any single software product that helps all students but instead, “most educational software products are only helpful for a particular type of student at a certain competency level ("An insider’s perspective," 2008).” That is what makes choosing the correct educational software such an important decision. Jackson (2008), states that there are two basic approaches to choosing the right educational software. These are to either use guides to software and websites that list resources which have already been judged on their merit, or to complete an assessment of the software on your own (Jackson, 2000).

One great guide for finding quality instructional software I found is the Educator Software Reviews found on the Education World website. According to the site, “Education World's product evaluations reflect the observations and opinions of classroom teachers and educational technology coordinators, based on actual classroom use ("Educator software reviews," 2011).” The reviews include not only overall comments regarding the software but usability, performance, and usefulness feedback as well. Another site I found that has a list of instructional software and reviews is SuperKids. Two sites I discovered that don’t have reviews but offer software that could be self-assessed by the instructor were The Problem Site and SchoolForge

An insider’s perspective on educational software. (2008). Retrieved from  

Educator software reviews. (2011). Retrieved from

Grove, A. (2012, April 11). Understanding educational software in the classroom. Retrieved from and-disadvantages-of-educational-software-in-the-classroom/

Jackson, G. (2000). How to evaluate educational software and websites. TechKnowLogia,  Retrieved from

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (6th ed.). Pearson Education Inc.

Dann Mosteller
9/24/2012 01:33:34 am

This is well written and supported. Since I don't have a software budget, I typically look for the web-based free software. However, I have seen really good use of these software packages as well as lack of use. You point out that there are many variables among students and teachers that will affect how well a software program works. When the time comes for me to make decisions about broad software adoption, I can definitely benefit from the links that you provided.

Amber Lavoie
9/24/2012 03:01:57 am

I really enjoyed looking through the Educator Software Reviews site that you provided in this post. It was awesome to be able to see how other educators are using particular packages in their classroom and could certainly be a great place to do some research before investing in a particular program. Overall, a great post!


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