Problem Solving and Inquiry Learning 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?
As technology continues to advance, it is important that we stay in touch and up-to-date on all software updates and resources. As educators, it is vital that we know what is going on with any software update because we are responsible for the growth of education and molding of incorporating technology within the lesson. Understanding what all this means can seem like a foreign concept, which is why I am going to elaborate on this subject.
You have heard the terms harware and software, but what exactly does that mean? Hardware" refers to the basic machinery and circuitry of a computer" while software is the "term for computer instructions, a collection of codes that tell a computer's hardware to perform specific functions". Meaning hardware and software are compatible with each other. The two together make computer technologies work properly.
There are two main types of software. System software, which is responsible for the overall functioning and control of a computer. System software includes the operating system, network operating system, database managers, and TP monitor. Application software, performs specific functions in specialized ways to produce a variety of services, including, word processing, databases, spreadsheets, slides and presentations, Internet browsing, email, movie making, or DVD burning, ect. You are probably most familiar with the commerical names: Microsft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Adobe, Photoshop, Norton Antivirus, and so on.
Standard Software Applications- Indespensable tools that we rely on heavily to preform tasks with ease. Most likely your personal or school computer has the following standard software applications:
- Word Processing enables writers to enter data into a word processing document. These text-based documents have replaced the idea of typewriters by allowing users to create digital documents that can be drafted, edited, and shared electronically.
- Electronic databases are data-organizing programs that allow information to be entered, passed, and retrieved. Many teachers use electronic databases to manage their grading systems and other academic records.
- Spreadsheets are documents designed like paper ledgers in which you can place numerical values in horizontal and vertical columns. Because the document is digital, spreadsheet software will calculate data based on formulas that users enter into the software.
- Web-browsing software allows access to favorite websites or search for information online. Popular Web-browsing softwares include; Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox.
- Communications software enables users to write or talk to other users by email, instant messaging, Internet chat, and other programs.
- Presentation software such as PowerPoint, gives computer users many creative ways to construct digitial slideshows and other displays to incorporate text, sound, voice, and pictures.
- Antivirus software scans the computer for dangerous programs that deliberatly interfere with its operation. a virus can be spread when one computer communicates with another computer. Antivirus software is an essential tool to protect your computer againt the constant threat of these potentally dangerous programs.
- Specialized software allows users to do functions at a high degree of specialty. Such as Dreamweaver, a popular Web-authoring program.
It is important to know what open source software alternatives are available when educating students. Open source software is "open" for the public to use, copy, and recreate, for little or no cost. In the open source community, individuals and organizations deliberately make the source codes available free to users and software developers with the idea that new and improved applications will emerge. Linux is a widely used open source operating system. Some technology educators consider open source software to be safer to run on computers because it is more secure in terms of privacy.
Some open-source alternatives include;
Integrated applicatons package
- Mozilla Firefox
- OpenOffice Writer
- OpenOffice Impress
- Xess Spreadsheet
- Mozilla Thunderbird
- Mozilla Camino
- Gaim Instant Messanger
- GIMP Image Editor
Tech Tool Link: Scratch
This Website draws you in by the colorful, fun look it promotes. Scratch allows students to create their own games, stories, and art while providing the support and interaction to other users. Scratch was developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group and the MIT lab. The idea of this website is to learn important mathematical and computional ideas while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively. I think this website is an awesome resource for educators to look into because lets face it, kids like games!
Chapter Summary & Connection
This chapter consits of the different types of computer softwares available to the public and also how educators can use these different sytem softwares to help teach their students. I was interested in reading more about presentation software, an application that enables computer users to construct digital presentation, because I find that as a current student and future educator, presentations will be a essential part of my everyday life. After reading this chapter, my mind is filled with creative future ideas for my classroom and I guarentee I will be incorpating games to involve my students in the lesson.
Verock-O'Lougin, Ruth-Ellen, Sharon A. Edwards, A, and Beverly Park Woolf. "Chapter 7/ Problem Solving and Inquiry Learning with Software and Web Tools." Transforming Learning with New Technologies. By Robert W. Maloy. N.p.: Allyn & Bacon, n.d. 176+. Print.