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[Fwd: Educational software]

Bob -
     How could I say no? This is something Bob brought back up from the
Seul-Research archives which happened while we were fleshing out the
educational software section. I had a bit of a concern with what has
being posted because I didn't feel that we were doing it justice at the
     The main focus of the post was the paucity of available apps for
teachers and teaching, and what could be done to rectify that. Anyhow,
my $0.01245 or so.


------- Bob's message to me -------
I am summarizing previous discussions on educational software for the
new mailing list seul-edu. I remembered one of your posts 'Software
issues (was Re: educational software...)' which I felt was very
appropriate. I was hoping you wouldn't mind posting your ideas to
seul-edu. Following is the pertinent part of your orriginal post.

-------- Original Message --------
[Educational software]
     Doug, I think this is a particularly important area to work on, for
several reasons, and I hope you understand that my few updates to this
particular part of the survey have been more a function of my limited
experience in this area than anything else. I've taught OS and
applications at the college level, but I REALLY don't feel that makes me
a good judge of what would be needed in the K-12 range. This is a big
and imporatant topic in itself, and if well done could have many
benefits for the teachers, students and linux community:

1- GPL-based development should be very cost-effective in that is
   should not cost a great deal to get workable software going
   (particularly as the development efforts snowball over time).
   At some point, it seems to me that someone should start an
   educational development site on the net (not unlike the SEUL
   project, but I'm not sure that the current mandate is amenable to
   said development)
2- GPL-based development of educational software would facilitate the
   development of individual programmers, both in terms of efficiency
   and cost
3- Foster the development of more diverse software for diverse
   educational needs
4- More people would be exposed to linux at an earlier age, and thus
   the linux community would be 'recruiting' that much sooner.

     On the learning side, it seems to me though that the use of the
computer-assisted teaching and learning would permit a number of things:

Improving the learning success of non-rote learners; When I was teaching
to my group of adults, I noticed that many were those who didn't finish
high school or stopped there (there were also those with B.A.'s and
B.Sc.'s, mind you). Looking at the results of the final exam in my
section (OS&Apps), where the first section of the exam is theoretical
(more or less rote concepts) and the second practical (more questions on
command usage), the test scores slew VERY strongly towards the
practical. Many of these folks were tactile learners, and in some ways
many of these same people have difficulty in learning in a conventional
setting. Given that the computer would facilitate other forms of
learning (tactile and audial (sp?), non-linear), these projects could
improve overall teaching success.

Facilitating individual development, monitoring and assessment; Not only
could these software support teaching of groups, but once constructed,
would give the teacher more flexibility in teaching approach, and allow
those students more adept to progress at their own speed. Integrating
testing and monitoring on a subtle but frequent basis would ensure that
the pupil is gaining the learning required to meet standards and
maximize student benefit. Of course, automating some part of the testing
phases (when appropriate) would reduce some of the load on the teacher
to spend more time with other students [and NOT to give the teacher more