Friday, March 1, 2013

Chapter 7 - Problem Solving with Software and Web Tools

Focus Question: What are the standard software applications found on most computers today and what open source software alternatives are there?

Software applications commonly used by teachers and students include word processing, electronic databases, spreadsheets, communication software, presentation software, antivirus software, and specialized programs for other specific functions. The commercial product for some of these software applications that we are most familiar with include Microsoft Office, Microsoft Powerpoint, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop, and Internet Explorer. 
All of these commercial products have what I would like to call a "generic". These generics are commonly known as open source alternatives. For example, we have OpenOffice, OpenOffice Impress, OpenOffice Writer, Xess Spreadsheet, GIMP Image Editor, and Mozilla Firefox. 

These "generics" perform in almost the exact same way that the commercial products do. Although they are both open to the public to use, the commercial products usually charge their users for the service they provide. 

After visiting the Scratch website, I was very surprised at the things that these children are able to make with the use of technology. I was also surprised to find how much of a change these open-ended web tools can provide to the educational system. Teacher are always looking for websites that can provide a different spin for their students. The scratch website can open students up to the different things they can do online. Along with teaching them things they can do, it also allows them to use their imagination and create something original. 

Summary & Conclusion:

 I like the fact that these open-ended web tools are available for teachers to share with their students. These websites promote problem solving and inquiry learning but at the same time it promotes creativity. This website provides students something to look forward to, rather than the same old routine. Enticing students with something unique and different is crucial, especially for younger students. Maintaining their interest in school during their early years is just as important as anything you can teach them.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon. 

1 comment:

  1. Though the commercial software has been the most popular over the years, there is more evidence of both individuals and schools moving towards the open, free (or nominal cost) ones. Most of the ones you mentioned are well supported and are almost identical the 'commercial' version.

    As a student myself this semester in a class called Learning Creative Learning, I am learning Scratch! It is an amazing 'tool' to tap into a child's sense of play and computing!