Thursday, May 21st, 2009 | software
Many excellent software packages in support of education are available commercially. Some of these products are content-rich, very useful to teachers who lack resources. Other products are content-free, used by innovative teachers to create exciting learning experiences for their learners.
A vast array of educational software products exist. Each one of these products has a specific focus and could be a useful tool for teachers when used in the correct context. It is no wonder that teachers become excited about some products when attending software demonstrations at trade shows or vendor presentations.
The principal has the difficult task to determine if the school should invest in a particular product. There are so many of them. Which one must you choose? Should you go on the recommendation of an enthusiastic teacher? You may have a persistent vendor knocking on your door. Perhaps you already have many unused software products and may wonder if it is worth your while to buy yet another one.
You need to ask yourself, and your teaching staff, only one question:
Will this product add volume or value?
There is no merit in having a great volume of products if they are not used. The only justification for purchasing the product would be if it has the promise of adding value.
Answer the following questions to help you determine if a particular product will add volume or value:
Does this product fill an educational need? Can you name the need?
How do we intend using the product?
How many teachers are going to use it?
Do the teachers posses the necessary competencies to use the product?
How much training is required, and how will the teachers be trained? Do they have time to be trained? Are they willing to be trained?
Is it a product I am buying, or a service?
The last point is very important. Software vendors can be valuable partners of the school. You will be able to identify good potential partners by the training and support service offered to you as part of the deal.
When confronted with the decision to buy a software product, pause and ask:
Will it add volume or value?