|Instructional Software use in Social Sciences
Instructional Software takes education far beyond the traditional classroom setting. It can help the teacher take students around the world without the expense or ever leaving the classroom. They can meet and greet historical figures from any point in History. Software, also known as courseware, engages the students by immersing them in the subject, bringing it to life.
There are five different types of classification along with examples of coursework listed below along with the definitions and the relative advantage of each.
1. Drill and Practice
Definition – Acquiring knowledge and skill through repetition and practice
Relative Advantage: Gives student’s immediate feedback and allows students to work at their own pace.
States Mania is a product that drills and tests students on States and Capitals using a matching game.
Discovery Quiz Center is a website where teachers can create their own drills.
Definition – series of steps that progress through levels of difficulty and understanding. Should be followed in a sequential order.
Relative Advantage: Students can review things they don’t understand the first time. Each student can move at their own pace.
Social Studies Alive! is a tutorial over many topics related to the Social Sciences. There are many multiple choice tutorials over everything from life to Colonial Williamsburg to Native Americans.
Sheppard Software has a tutorial about the branches of U.S. government.
Definition – Imitation of a real situation or circumstance.
Relative Advantage: Provides real world situations without leaving the classroom. Can create an opportunity for cooperative learning.
Hoagie’s Gifted is a website that is full of all types of History simulations. Students can be part of the axis or allies during WWII, or be a trader or a builder in early Europe.
The Jamestown Online Adventure is a simulation of the Jamestown settlement. The student takes an an active part in Jamestown.
4. Educational Games
Definition – games that have been specifically designed to teach people about a certain subject,expand concept, reinforce development, or understand event while they play.
Relative Advantage: Actively involves students. Engaging.
Funschool has many games for all content areas. For Social Sciences, kids can match up countries and then name their capitals. There is an arcade type game about country flags.
Kidspast is where you can find many games dealing with History, like “Hopping through History” where the student is a frog that has to hop around and answer history related questions to advance. Mainly for younger students.
Definition – To be able to put into practice what is learned.
Relative Advantage – Solving problems and making decisions. Highest order of thinking.
The Problem Site is where you can find sites to help students in problem solving skills like brain teasers and treasure hunts.
Superkids is a website full of application opportunities and problem solving scenarios for all subjects. The “Time Engineers” page is great for integrating History, Math, and Science. Students have to figure out how to construct water ducts for a community.