5 Types of Software


Description Uses in 6th grade writing Relative advantage(s)
Drill and practice This software is designed to be a motivating option for repeated practice in order for low level skills to become automatic so that a student can move on to higher order skills. This software is often a replacement for what could be completed on worksheets, flashcards, or notes for test preparation. Conventions and Grammar practice: mobymax.com and frontrowed.com Students receive immediate feedback on responses and can also view graphs of their progress.
Software allows students to work at own pace and level due to a built in placement test.
Tutorials This software is designed to present a complete sequence of instruction. When unaccompanied by a teacher in close proximity, the student benefits from being a strong reader and someone who is self-motivated. Teach a sequence of instruction on opinion writing: learnzillion.com Tutorials are great options within centers when a teacher is not  available. As well, students benefit from the ability to replay or pause the tutorial as many times as needed to understand.
Simulations This software is designed for two purposes: to teach a learner about something or to teach how to do something.
Physical simulations allow the learner to manipulate objects on the screen.
Iterative simulations allow the learner to speed up or slow down processes that would be hard to see otherwise.
Procedural simulations teach the steps to a procedure.
Situational simulations provide the learner with hypothetical situations in which the learner must respond.
Classroominc.org provides simulations based on topics related to environmental concerns and community based organization.
Simulations like these would be a great way to launch an opinion writing unit.
Simulations provide engaging, real world content and real time decision making. As well, simulations allow for student interaction for the otherwise passive task of opinion writing. They also involve a complex idea and break it down into manageable pieces for students to do some critical thinking prior to writing.
Instructional Games Instructional games are appealing and motivating at the same time as they are instructional. Many  should be used sparingly to keep students focused on the learning rather than just the game-based factors. Topmarks.co.uk could be used as a remedial tool for students who need assistance in understanding paragraph formation. Some students in special education might benefit from a concrete game about paragraphs since they will be writing a multi-paragraph essay. It is engaging and could be used as a reward tool to continue the writing process.
Problem Solving This type of software is designed to either assist the learner with steps to solve problems or provide content area situations in order to apply solutions using previously learned problem solving skills. None that I could find that would be pertinent to writing in particular. Other than providing content as food for thought, I do not see any other relative advantage. Opportunities to use problem solving software would likely improve a student’s ability to provide a rationale for their opinion.

The description and relative advantages section ideas are referenced in:

Roblyer, M. (2016). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (7th ed.). Massachusetts: Pearson.