|Educational Software: Can It Help Your Child Learn?
by Marjan Glavac
I've been an elementary school teacher for 17 years and I'm also a parent to two children ages 6 and 9. Learning and the development of young children are a central part of my life.
Although computers and educational software have rapidly become a part of the schooling experience and the home environment, what can educational software really provide and where can it be of real help to my child?
Let's start with what typically goes on in the daily school experience. Most teachers, such as myself are facing class sizes of 25-30 (one of my grade 7 classes has 35 students). With the increasing emphasis on teaching content to students, I only have time to teach a concept once, before I need to go on to the next concept. The amount of time and individual attention I can give is limited and I constantly face the challenge that the students who are fast learners are being held back and the ones who are having difficulty are not going to get the attention they need. In addition, all students need practice to fully learn a skill and be comfortable with it. Can good educational software help a teacher overcome these challenges and make an impact on a child's learning? I believe it can.
Good educational software reinforces and expands what students are learning in school. For students that are having some difficulty, it's important to recognize that educational software and the computer never get tired or frustrated by students who take the time to repeatedly go over concepts and lessons. For those students who grasp concepts quickly, educational software gives them the opportunity to advance at their own pace and really master the concept. They are able to take the educational software and computer and fly at their own pace without anyone telling them to slow down. A great quality of good educational software for all students is that it is interactive. It is very engaging for many users and provides immediate feedback on how they are doing .
Can the computer and educational software help every student become an "A" student? No. Students who have poor work habits are not going to magically transform overnight into conscientious students by sitting in front of a computer and doing a software program. The human interaction, both from the teacher and the parent, are crucial to guidance, building self confidence, and building the desire to learn.
So when your children take you by the hand and ask you to come and see what they're doing with a software program, sit down and listen to them. Ask them to show you how the software works. You can learn a lot from how your children approach a software program by quietly observing them. And that's what good parenting and good learning is all about--being there for your children as they discover the world around them.
Marjan Glavac is a teacher, lecturer, author of "The Busy Educator's Guide To The World Wide Web" and is a member of the Learning Village editorial team
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