Software Support Tools According to Rogers (2008), “the landscape of the classroom is being transformed, with technology becoming a driving force” (p. 92). In today’s classroom there are numerous software support tools available to enhance learning and cater to the needs of all learners. Roblyer and Doering (2010) presented six categories of software support tools. They listed these as: material generators, data collection and analysis, graphics, planning and organizing, research and reference, and tools for the content areas. Material generators are software tools that are used for making instructional materials such as posters, brochures, quizzes, tests, rubrics, puzzles, worksheets, games, awards, and IEPs for special education students. Many teachers regard these tools as essential to the day-to-day operation of the classroom. Wellert (2008) stated that the use of games allow teachers to directly cater to the learning style needs of the visual and tactile learners, and that games can expedite the learning process when constructed with the different learning styles in mind. Data collection and analysis software tools allow teachers to collect information about their students and closely monitor their performance and progress throughout the year. According to Roblyer and Doering (2010), the electronic grade book is preferred by many teachers because of its special feature to analyse data from tests and print reports based on the information given. Student information systems (SIS) help teachers keep account of students’ data such as attendance and test scores. Roblyer and Doering also referred to computerized testing systems which offer benefits such as immediate feedback of results. Additionally, it
2 allows students to take tests on screens or scanned sheets. According to the authors, these simplify test scheduling because everyone does not take the test at the same time. Graphic tools consist of draw/paint programs, image editing tools, charting/graphing tools, and clip art animation, sound, video, and font collections (Roblyer & Doering, 2010). These allow teachers and students to create, illustrate, modify, and combine drawings, illustrations, clip art, pictures, charts and graphs. They also give students the opportunity to create their own designs and show them on paper or screen. Additionally, teachers and students can insert these into documents and reports to give a more professional look. Catchings and MacGregor (as cited in Roblyer & Doering, 2010) believed that these programs aid in the development of students’ visual-verbal literacy and creativity. Planning and organizing software tools entails outlining and concept mapping, software, lesson planners, and scheduling and time management tools. Outlining tools assist students in outlining their story ideas and help them to get their stories started, while the other tools help teachers organize their time and prepare for instruction. Research and reference tools such as electronic encyclopedias, atlases, and dictionaries help facilitate research. Electronic atlases and maps are useful in the classroom because students get to see and learn information being taught, and are especially helpful because they are interactive. Wellert (2008) stated that students need to have active participation and involvement in lessons that include technology. Furthermore, student engagement is vital to ensure motivation during the learning process. Finally, the last category of software support tools put forward by Roblyer and Doering (2010) is content area tools. These support teaching and learning in the different content areas. Multimedia
3 Multimedia refers to multiple media or a combination of media. Media can be still graphics, and photographs, sound, motion video, animation, and or text items along with products used to communicate information in multiple ways. Multimedia impacts the classroom in various ways. For example it increases motivation as it...
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