Using instructional software in the Spanish classroom provides students the opportunity to practice their vocabulary, increase speaking confidence and find themselves “transported” to another country. There are five major types of instructional software and they each hold unique relative advantages:
- Drill and Practice Software
Drill exercises are a benefit in the classroom because they allow students to work at their own pace, provide immediate feedback to student work and save time for teachers because comments and grading are automatically generated.
- Tutorial Software
Tutorials allow students to work at their own pace, receive feedback quickly on their work and potentially have access to advanced topics or subjects that may not normally be offered at their school. (For example, students may have the option to take a class on astronomy, an advanced math class or language.)
- Simulation Software
This type of software provides students with a way to prepare for or review in-class lab exercises, as well as participate in experiments that wouldn’t normally be available in the classroom setting.
- Instructional Game Software
Using games to learn allows students to feel more comfortable taking risks, encourages students to work together in teams and often increases retention.
- Problem-Solving Software
Having students solve problems increases interest and also encourages them to find answers on the own using provided and found resources.
While there are thousands of instructional software packages available for free and purchase, it is important to take time to evaluate each package and ensure it is a good fit for your classroom. Here are a few evaluation resources:
- Evaluating Instructional Software
- Instructional Software Evaluation Factors
- Evaluating Software for Children with Learning Disabilities
For more information on incorporating instructional software into the Spanish classroom and relative advantages, please check out my presentation: Instructional Software for Learning Spanish.