Media software every school should make available
In addition to the rise of the World Wide Web, the new technologies that have arisen—new devices such as tablets and smartphones, of which new lines are continually being born—and the apps that are coming out by the millions practically every day—are having a tremendous impact on the way our children are being educated. To be sure, it has been over thirty years that computers and TV sets have been used in the classroom—I can remember from way back when. In the sections that follow we shall look at media software that should be made available in every school.
ClickView Digital Media Software Solution is intended to enhance the learning experience by enabling students to watch digital media such as videos. With this solution schools can put together a digital video storage library from which hundreds of teachers and pupils in institutions all across the country can be served. The best thing about ClickView is that no cumbersome TV or video equipment is required as in days gone by; instead, all you have to do is click on the computer screen. Editing software is included so that teachers can remove content that has been deemed unsuitable for children to see. Other things that can be done with the software include saving video resources on a USB drive for students to take home and go over themselves, recording everything from up to six channels at once, and off-campus viewing.
CISCO’s WebEx Meeting Center
This system has been recommended by one Christina Shinn for administrative use during staff meetings at Adams High School (for the complete report see http://polaris.umuc.edu/~cshinn/project3.pdf). Its many features include video and audio conferencing software that enables teleconferencing by video or over the telephone, chat/IM messaging so that users can post messages to each other and to those who are attending, record mode so that the entire conference can be recorded, support for sharing whole desktops in addition to documents and applications, and an interactive whiteboard where all of those who attend a meeting can use computer graphics to illustrate their ideas. No additional software is needed to use WebEx.
Mathematical and other software
Many software programs have been created to teach a specific subject, such as mathematics or geography. Math Tutor, whose effectiveness has been independently proven, advertises itself as “the premier math software learning series.” All branches of mathematics—pre-algebra, algebra 1 and 2, geometry, trigonometry and calculus—are covered in this program. Nor does its use have to be confined to the classroom—parents can use it to homeschool their children and Math Tutor is useful for remedial education purposes. Students can also use Math Tutor to learn business math and to prepare for the SAT or ACT tests.
Even better than Math Tutor is the Geometer’s Sketchpad, which is the leading math software in the world. High school students can use the graphics in this program to construct geometric shapes. The Sketchpad can be used by teachers to illustrate more concretely the various mathematical onccepts that are being covered in class. “Using the Geometer’s Sketchpad in my classroom has brought cohesiveness to the curriculum, connecting concepts in algebra, geometry, and beyond. This has encouraged the students to seek out the meaning behind the math,” says one teacher.
Ethical issues involving the use of software
When it comes to using media software in the educational environment, numerous ethical issues naturally arise with regard to copyright and licensing laws. In general, schools forbid the media software that is used in their classrooms to be taken off campus or from the designated areas where they are intended to be used. Nor can students or teachers make copies of them for personal use as such are the conditions under which the software is licensed to the school. The personnel who are entrusted with the use of the software programs must demonstrate their competence regarding the use of both the programs themselves and the hardware on which they are used.
Software can be used in schools for both educational and administrative purposes. There may come a day when almost all learning is computer-based.
Joe Johnson is an avid blogger who contributes to a number of publications on a range of topics from researching, study habits, and career development.