Software applications for the development of preschool skills

Record number: 407
Last update: April 2016
Type of document: Lectures
Author: Caprino F
Editorial data: Dispense Corso di Alta Formazione "Tecnologie per l'Autonomia". Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi Onlus
Year of publication: 2016
After an introduction clarifying the key-concepts and the value of educational software, the lecture focuses on the software applications which can be used to promote the development of pre-school skills. Educational software applications are first described according to the methodology adopted (drill and practice, exploration and discovery, etc.), the degree of flexibility for customization (“open” software vs. “closed” software) and their availability (commercial software, freeware or open-source). A second distinction is about the possible contexts and aims related to the software’s use (e.g. school or rehabilitation context), the type of primary users (e.g. children with or without special needs) and secondary users (e.g. teachers, therapists), contents (e.g. basic cognitive functions). For each category, the lecture discusses advantages and disadvantages related to possible learning objectives and different contexts of use, providing an useful guidance to the selection of software suitable for any specific situation. The lesson contains several examples of educational software (commercial products or freeware) that can be used to foster the development of basic cognitive skills and abilities (understanding of the basic concept of cause and effect, memory and attention skills, logic abilities as sorting, classification and seriation) of the fine motor and visual-perceptual skills as well as the language abilities (core vocabulary, early literacy skills). The lesson also presents the software design criteria developed within the Qualisoft project, discussing the accessibility requirements of educational software.
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