Monday, May 21, 2007

30 Minutes a Week

For 30 minutes a week, my 3rd graders go to computer lab and use a PEARSONS technology self-pace instructional program.

In 8 hours and 52 minutes of computer time my son improved his math skills exactly .48 of a grade level to a 4.82 grade level using Pearsons Educational Technologies "Math Concepts and Skills"

My daughter improved her reading skills .56 of a grade level in the same amount of time.

This was all done in the last 18 weeks.

I can honestly say that my sons TAG class did nothing more than teach him 40 Latin root words. Actually this is being to generous, he learned the words at home, they just gave him them in his TAG class.

He did do some really cool paintings of interlocking puzzle shapes.

Just in case you think that the computer program just recorded classroom progress, none of the math concepts mastered were covered in the 3rd grade curriculum.

I don't care what the studies say about educational software, at least it doesn't hold students back.


CrypticLife said...

Educational software needs to be designed correctly. The problem with most of computer use in education is that people tend to treat computers a s an end in themselves rather than as a useful tool.

I think a better way to think of computers is as a workbook that can tell you instantly, personally, and privately whether you did something right or wrong. It takes the fear out of responding, gives every student the ability to respond, gives immediate correction, and can guide itself to focus on areas where the student is having difficulty. Clearly these aspects help education. Learning to use MS Word or Powerpoint, however, is pointless for most students.

allen said...

Educational software needs to be designed correctly.

What doesn't? But how do you know if it has been designed correctly? What are the telltale indicators of poorly designed software?

A poorly-designed airplane leaves smoking holes in the ground which is pretty unequivocal. What's the less dramatic analog in educational software?

Without performance standards and measuring instruments determining what's good and what's bad is purely subjective. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but the judging educational efficacy ought'nt be.

Anonymous said...

Singapore Math has its own set of CDs. They put two grade levels per CD. While they don't put every last topic on the CD, they do put most of them and present large chunks of lessons. Also included, some drill practice in the form of games and word problems. (Cartoon characters demonstrate bar models) My oldest son self-taught entire topics from this.

For $30 it's relatively cheap.

allen said...

You don't have to go to Singapore:

Free High School Science Textbooks
California Open Source Textbook Project
Project Gutenberg - not, strictly speaking, a textbook but lots of important books, all downloadable.

rightwingprof said...

Sturgeon's Law is inviolable, and applies as much to ed software as anything else. That implies, of course, that 10% of ed software is potentially useful.