Thursday, April 3, 2014

Key Questions for Selecting Appropriate Educational Applications

According to Dell, Newton, and Petroff, educational applications is a term that is used to discuss software programs and interactive Web-based activities for students with disabilities (2012).  When considering educational applications that will meet the needs and goals of a student, there are key questions that should be asked.

  • The first question that should always be asked is "what is the intended outcome of the use of the educational application?"  This question gives educators the opportunity to ask whether or not the application is meant to improve problem solving skills in math, or is the application meant to build the speed and accuracy of the learners basic math facts (Dell, Newton, Petroff, 2012). 
  • Second, "is the educational applications likely to fulfill its stated purpose?  For example, if the stated purpose of the activity is to build problem-solving skills, does it provide the explanatory feedback needed to do so or simply assess whether or not problems are solved correctly" (Dell, Newton, Petroff, 2012). 
  • The third and last question that should be asked is "can the educational applications be used as an alternative to traditional classroom activities to enhance students' participation?"  When making this decision, teachers should ask whether or not "students will learn as effectively using online math manipulatives as they would using traditional manipulatives" (Dell, Newton, Petroff, 2012). 
Because educational applications support learners of all levels, it is important that teachers select them with specific outcomes in mind.  All educational applications are different and focus on a certain area or topic in math, meaning that not all applications will be able to fit each individuals needs and/or goals; the educational applications need to be chosen accurately in order to achieve student progress. 


Dell, A.G., Newton, D.A., Petroff, J.G. (2012).  Assistive Technology in the Classroom: Enhancing the School Experiences of Students with Disabilities. 2nd Edition. 

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