With so many educational titles available how do you decide what to buy on a limited budget? Here are practical ideas to assist you in your selection.
- Know your curriculum. What are the fifth graders studying in science? Do they study simple machines? Are the second graders studying butterflies? Knowing this will allow you to made appropriate purchases.
- Know your student's needs. Do you really need that copy of Oregon Trail? Is there a better title to support reading, abilities, interest levels, and the curriculum?
- What do the teachers have in the classroom? What does the computer lab already own? This may take some arm twisting, but by knowing what is already in the school will allow you to make better slections. You may also need to gently suggest some reallocation of titles. Was the study of the rainforest moved from fourth grade to sixth grade? Then perhaps the software should be moved to the sixth grade classrooms or the library?
- Are all the classrooms on the same computer platform? Is someone still using Windows 98? Perhaps that person would like the older CD-ROMs that are perfectly good, but won't run on other machines. This goes back to the previous survey of software.
- What computers are readily available? Know the requirements for CD-ROM drive speed, RAM, speakers, etc.
- Don't forget to read the reviews. There are many titles out there. How are they being reviewed and rated?
- Select reputable dealers. That guy in the flea market may have a great deal, but will he be there next week if you need to return the disk?
- Can you preview the software before purchase? Some companies have online versions that will give you a taste of the program. Review them with students you trust.