Educational Software -v- Traditional Teaching Methods

Education is rapidly catching up with the technological revolution and educational software now forms a key element of our children’s regular lesson plan. Homework and revision even takes place over the internet now using interactive software packages rather than traditional books and written test papers. But is this really a good thing? Can your child really gain the knowledge they need from educational software and can this self-schooling really work?

Typical class sizes in public schools and colleges are between twenty-five and thirty. The emphasis is increasingly on teaching content and teachers only have time to teach a concept once before moving on. Individual attention is very limited due to time constraints and many teachers have voiced concerns that faster learners are being held back by children who are struggling and are not getting the additional assistance they need. Some parents are able to afford private tuition in problem subjects to help their child catch up but many on lower incomes or with large families cannot. Regardless of ability, all students need practice to really become confident and at ease with a subject or skill and this is where good quality educational software comes in.

A good quality product can be a real boon to teachers, expanding and reinforcing what students are learning during their lessons. For slower students who are in danger of falling behind their classmates, educational software offers the chance to go over problem lessons as many times as they need to. Those who grasp concepts quickly have the opportunity to move forward at their own pace without anyone telling them to slow down and wait for the others to catch them up. Most educational software is fully interactive. This makes it engaging for the user and provides valuable, immediate feedback on how they are progressing; something that old-style text books obviously don’t do.

Clearly, student motivation is the key to success where any form of remote study is involved. If the student is lazy and not sufficiently motivated, it doesn’t matter how good the software is, they will still fall behind and ultimately fail. Human interaction, from both the teacher and the parents is essential to provide the necessary guidance and discipline which will facilitate learning.

It’s very important that parents take an interest in their child’s online educational tools. Ask them to show you how the software works; what lessons they are studying and keep track of test results as they progress. Encouragement and support is vital if your child is to succeed and you can learn much by quietly observing your child as they work through a software program.

Can educational software replace traditional teaching methods? Probably not. It can, however, fulfill a very valuable supporting role.


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