Some lingering issues with educational software
Of course, software like this is not without its problems. One of the biggest problems with learning software is, in fact, that it may require students to learn how to use software. Usability issues can be a key when it comes to learning or educational software as you will need the software to be:
- Usable by students of different technical skill levels.
- Usable across different platforms and web browsers. Some software is developed for specific browsers and operating systems, of course (and of course that would be MS-centric) but can your class/school/students adjust to this?
There are a couple of precautions to take before diving headlong into any software purchase or into ordering software packages for your class, of course.
- Take the software for a trial either yourself or get a reliable teaching assistant to be sure that the software is usable and that it teaches and does everything that it purports to. This may be a long process, wherein you may need to try out several software packages.
- Bear in mind that in the software industry, age is often a drawback. This will be pretty obvious to you when you find software that is several years old, finding that it is limited in its use, that its design is too minimalist and that it is not capable of doing all the things that newer software is able to.
- Be sure that you can integrate the software well with other materials in your course. You can almost be certain that there is software out there that will match your needs. Its just that you will have to look for it.
- Listen to the feedback of other professors and students, and find out what they think. Do students like the software? Why? What problems do they have with it and how relevant are these objections to your own objectives?