Educational software is used in education field to learn different skills. Many software packages are available on different subjects. Students and common people can learn foreign languages and use of application software through educational software. It is also used to educate basic skills of math, reading and writing to the students of preliminary classes.
Many educational software use computer-based training (CBT) approach. CBT is a type of education in which students learn through exercises with instructional software. This approach is used in different fields to teach different skills.
Different types of educational software applications are as follows:
- Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI)
Computer-assisted instruction (CAI) has been used in education for more than two decades. Computer-assisted instruction software helps in teaching the facts, information and skills associated with subject-related materials. The computer-assisted instruction is also called computer based instruction (CBI), computer based learning (CBL) and computer aided learning (CAL).
- Drill-and-Practice Software
Drill-and-practice software provides factual information. It allows the students to work on specific materials to memorize information through repetitive exercises. It is also known as skills-reinforcement software. It is effective for learning basic skills and for remediation. Remediation is a process of reviewing contents many times using alternative ways until a student grasps the concepts.
An important feature of drill-and-practice software is that the students receive instant feedback on correct and incorrect answers. It can increase students’ performance in areas that are weak. This software moves the student to the next level when he has completed a
- Educational Games
Many educational games are available on CDs, DVDs and the Internet. Educational games usually include a set of rules. The students can compete against other students or the game itself. These games can be an effective way to teach contents through repetition and practice. It is an interesting way to learn. Various educational games create problem-solving environments and the students use their thinking Skills to find the solutions. These games develop problem solving skills in the students. Many games are freely available for the students and teachers.
A tutorial is a teaching program that helps individuals to learn the use of a product or concepts. Many software products contain built-in tutorials to teach the user how to use the software. The developers create computer-based educational tutorials so that the students can learn the contents without any additional help.
The tutorials provide different types of teaching solutions. Some solutions use the structured linear approach with specific content objectives. Some solutions use a non-linear approach that offers alternative paths based on the students’ responses called branching. Branching reflects classroom learning and allows the students to improve at their own pace. It provides feedback and remediation when needed.
- Educational Simulations
Educational simulation is a computerized model of real life. It may represent an event, reality or phenomenon. The use of simulation is not a new teaching strategy. The business and industry have been using simulation for many years. Many educational simulations are available for students to interact with the examples of real life. Some popular simulations are SimCity, Sim Theme Park and Sim Coaster.
- Integrated Learning Systems
An integrated learning system (ILS) is usually developed by an educational software corporation as a complete educational software solution in one package. These software solutions provide the following:
- Diagnostic data of individual student through pretests
- Instruction based on the diagnostic data
- Monitor of student performance with automatic adjustments in instruction as needed
- A variety of formats for teaching contents
Most integrated learning systems also offer a management solution to maintain the software and to track student use and progress. Integrated learning systems are expensive but are comprehensive software solutions for schools. They are very effective for school administrators, school boards and principals as they provide full and flexible solution in one package. Some popular programs are CompassLearning, Renaissance Learning, Pearson Digital Learning and PLATO Learning.
- Curriculum-Specific Educational Software
Many high-quality interactive and digital media educational programs are available for the teachers. Most of these programs are available on CD and DVD. Some programs are installed on school networks and others are available via the Web. Many educational software applications are designed for curriculum-specific teaching and learning.
Mapping and Location-based Software
Mapping application is used to display satellite, aerial or street maps to locate places and get directions between two addresses. Google Maps is one of the most extensive mapping applications. Location-based software is used to access the current location and show the closest shops, restaurants, banks and ATM etc. It also displays the information about each location. Location-based software is available for desktop, laptop and handheld Computers. Mobile devices can typically find user location using the built-in GPS (Global Positioning System). Desktop and laptop computers can determine user location based on the Internet service provider.
Reference software contains detailed information on different topics. The users use it to find important references. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, health and travel guides are examples of reference software are. Microsoft Encarta is an example of reference software.
Entertainment software is used for recreation and fun. This type of software is used for enjoyment. Some examples of entertainment software are interactive games, videos etc.
Software for Communication
Different types of communication software are as follows:
Email stands for electronic mail. It is the exchange of text, messages and files through the Internet. Messages can be in the form of graphics, sounds, video clips or simple text.
Email is a fast way of delivering messages anywhere in the world in a very short time. Email can be sent using an email software. This software is integrated in many suites or available for free on the Web. Email software can also be purchased from the retailer.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It is used on Internet for sending files from one place to another. It is specially designed for professionals. Audio, video, graphics and data files can be uploaded or downloaded using this protocol. Different software’s are available, which use this protocol for transferring files on the Internet. CuteFTP and WS_FTP are examples of FTP software.
3 News Groups
A newsgroup is a global electronic bulletin board system. People exchange information on a vast range of topics such as news, recreation, business, science, and computer. Newsgroup may require a news reader software. It is integrated in some operating systems, web browsers and email programs. It can also be downloaded from the Internet. Some websites provide built-in news groups.
4 Chatting & Instant Messaging
Chat programs allow users on the Internet to communicate with one another by typing messages. They are sometimes included as a feature of a Web site, where users can log into the chat room to exchange comments and information.
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is a service through which participants can communicate to each other on hundreds of channels. These channels are usually based on specific topics. TO access IRC, you must use an IRC software program.
A type of chat is instant messaging. With instant messaging, a user on the Web can contact another user currently logged in and start a conversation. Most famous is America Online’s Instant Messenger. ICQ is another commonly used chat program.
5 Web Browser
A web browser is software that is used to view web pages. It acts as an interface between the user and the Internet. It can understand HTML. It can display text and graphics. The browsers are also known as web clients or universal clients. A browser is often included in the operating system of a computer or mobile device. For example, Internet Explorer is included with Windows and Safari with Mac OS.
6 Internet Telephony
Internet telephony is used to talk to other people over the Internet. It is also called Voice over IP (VolP). It uses the Internet to connect a calling party and one or more called parties using the Internet telephone software. When the user speaks, Internet telephone software and sound card digitize and compress the spoken words and transmit it over the Internet to the called parties.
7 Video Conferencing
Video conferencing uses video and computer technology to conduct a meeting between participants at two or more geographically separate locations. It is used for technical support, job interviews, distance learning etc. It requires a computer with microphone, speaker, video camera and communication device and software.
Web conference is a type of conferencing that uses the Internet, Web browsers, and the Web servers for video conferencing. Video telephone call is used to talk while seeing one another.