Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Guest Editorial

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Guest Editorial

Article excerpt

Buyer beware! Familiar words in today's marketplace full of products that have so many features that it becomes hard to keep them all straight, let alone make wise purchase decisions based on real needs. This is particularly true in the area of educational technology where, recently, the proliferation of products makes the decisions more difficult. With the constraints placed on both time and money, education technology purchases can no longer be considered "add-ons," nor fun and games, but rather must be the core of a comprehensive yet flexible educational program.

* Evaluating Educational Software

Given the number of products available and the complexity of the products themselves, there are four caveats to be noted when evaluating educational software products for purchase:

First, does the software meet rigorous standards at district, state and national levels and produce measurable results? Was the learner simply exposed to the area of study or did the student demonstrate mastery? I believe that the software must be based on sound research and clearly-defined content and performance standards. It must be capable of being updated to reflect the results of ongoing research and technology development.

Second, do the advances in technology enhance the learning process instead of just utilizing technology for technology's sake? We've seen that contextual-based learning can be dramatically enhanced by using technology to transcend the confines of the four walls of the classroom. Virtual field trips, convincing micro worlds that provide reality-based settings for study, are now all possible through the use of technology. More recently, online services, e-mail and video delivery offer dramatic opportunities for broadening the student's classroom experiences. These can be wonderful experiences in and of themselves; however, we need to make sure they are carefully used to achieve sound educational goals.

Third, does the technology complement and extend the instructional process? Technology will not, and should not, be the only instructional resource that teachers use, but rather one of many resources that they effectively use in their classrooms. …

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