Educational software: types, characteristics and uses

Over the years, the company has undergone a transformation in which the use of new technologies extends to all fields, and as it is evident, the field of teaching and pedagogy also wanted to take advantage of the possible advantages. of these.

This change in the teaching / learning dynamic is materialized by the creation of a series of educational software that supports both teachers and students. Throughout this article, we will describe its main features and types, as well as their potential uses or functions and their disadvantages.

    What is educational software?

    Also known as instructional software, educational software is a teaching program that uses the digital platforms to use as support for teachers and students in teaching / learning processes. And although they may seem very new, their beginnings date back to the 60s and 70s.

    These programs are specifically designed to facilitate and improve the acquisition of exclusively academic knowledge. In other words, this must be its main objective and must be explicitly stated. This means that while it can also be found in certain areas of work, these are not considered educational software as such.

    However, although these resources are primarily used in school settings, there are also programs in which learning can be done at home, thus enhancing and supporting the knowledge gained in the classroom.

    Thanks to these computer programs or applications, the student can strengthen their knowledge in different curricular subjects of all kinds, Including more practical ones like mathematics or languages, to those of a more theoretical nature like history, biology or geography.

    With the immense amount of possibilities that educational software can offer, information or knowledge can present itself in different ways; outlines or sketches for information, questionnaires or games. This great variability of the format, facilitates the motivation and the interest of the students.

      What features does it have?

      For educational software to be considered such, it must meet a number of characteristics. Among the main requirements, this must be used specifically by teachers and students. However, there are many other features among which:

      • Possibility of being used in any subject or field of education.
      • It is an interactive tool.
      • They have the ability to adapt to the needs of students and their characteristics. Including their age, school year or individual abilities.
      • They are easy to use. Teachers and students they must be able to install, understand and run the program no problem.
      • Depending on the purpose of the educational software, it can have a more directive character or, on the contrary, more constructivist, in which the student creates his own conclusions or knowledge.

      How many different types are there?

      By taking into account the specific purpose of the educational software or the way in which the interaction between the educator and the pupil takes place, we will be able to distinguish between several different types or categories of software. These categories are:

      1. Problem solving

      The first category refers to programs specially created to promote problem-solving ability. This is why the student will have to follow a series of sequences or perform a certain type of exercise that provides him with the necessary tools to solve a riddle.

      Throughout this process, the student will have to develop hypotheses, conjectures or hypotheses that they will have to verify in order to solve the riddle or the conflict posed.

      2. Exercise and practice

      In the educational software of exercises and practices, the student is presented with a series of exercises or tasks in which, after its completion, comments are provided on how the execution was carried out by the person.

      Through these exercises, which can take the form of tests or questionnaires, the student can put into practice the knowledge acquired previously.

      3. Simulation

      These programs offer the possibility of recreating environments or situations in which the student can interact and that it is not possible to recreate in the academic context or it would be too high a cost.

      4. Tutorial

      In tutorial-type software, the objective is the transmission of knowledge between the program, which plays the role of educator, and the student. Using a series of guidelines similar to those of a classroom teacher, the program offers a series of explanations, practice exercises, and commentary on student performance.

      5. Game

      In educational games, the goal is to increase student motivation by implementing tests with rewards. with them attention can be maintained and interest in the subject increased.

      What functions or uses can it have?

      Due to the great variability and the large amount of possibilities that educational software offers, it is attributed a large amount of potential uses or functions:

      1. Innovation

      These programs have the capacity to constantly evolve, which is an innovation in the teaching / learning process.

      2. Informative

      The computer software is the educational practice that can provide and transmit the most information to the student.

      3. Motivator

      Thanks to the variety of possibilities offered by these programs, students feel more motivated and attracted to discover them.

      4. Instruction

      The platform has the ability to explain any type of content, Either explicitly or through the development of games or activities.

      5. Expression

      The educational software is an ideal platform to improve the expressiveness of the students, who can bring their own perspective on the knowledge and share it with others.

      6. Research

      With fewer management programs, the student can develop their own research procedures. Especially in those that offer simulation activities.

      7. Playful

      Thanks to educational software, learning it is understood or interpreted as a playful and fun activity which reinforces the students’ desire to learn.

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