The Review Process
In the past, instructors, directors,
and volunteers have depended on the Software Buyers' Guide by the
Northwest Regional Literacy Resource Center (NRWLRC) for providing useful
information when purchasing computer software for the classroom and lab.
The Software Buyers' Guide includes information on software costs,
publishers, computer requirements, ratings, and summaries of the software
The need for advice on what
educational software is currently available is of utmost importance. There
are many new websites that directors, instructors, students, and
volunteers should know about. Changes to curriculum, such as the new GED
exam this year, need to be tracked. We endeavor to bring all this
information to you in the Software Buyers' Guide 2002.
As in previous editions, instructors
from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming have
participated in the 2002 evaluation of new software. In addition to these
reviewers, we also included computer technicians who have personal
experience as GED or ESOL students. All of the participating states above
had at least one representative reviewing software. The reviewers analyzed
ABE, GED, ESOL, Computer Literacy, and Instructor Development software
programs and internet sites.
The coordinator sent out a survey to
each reviewer asking them what subjects they would like to review. Each
reviewer was also asked to indicate the seven most important criteria that
make a piece of software beneficial to educators. The survey is below:
1. What target software group(s) would you like to review:
2. What software are you currently working with? Would you like to
write a review on any of these products?
3. What software products have you seen or heard about that you
would like to review?
4. What internet sites are you using? Would you like to write a
review on any of these sites?
5. What type of computer(s) do you use in your classroom or lab?
Please specify Macintosh or PC.
6. What seven criteria do you find most important in evaluating
software for purchase?
The seven most
important criteria chosen by our reviewers were as follows:
ease of installing software
appropriate for target age group
The reviewer evaluations were
based on these seven criteria and each product was given a rating from 0
to 4 with increments of .25. The rating numbers 0 through 4 correspond to
the following: 0 = not applicable, 1 = not recommended, 2 = fair, 3 =
good, and 4 = excellent.
The world of
technology is continuing to grow at an exponential rate and educators must
be willing to keep pace. Researchers indicate that students learn faster
and retain knowledge longer if they use computers to learn. Students are
demanding more software and Internet products. As educators we must
embrace the new technology and determine what is most beneficial for our
students while at the same time determine what is most cost effective for
our programs. We strongly believe that the Software Buyers' Guide will be
an invaluable resource tool for you as educators in making these important
used for software
ABE Literacy 0-1.0
Low Adult Ed.
High Adult Ed.