Developing Educational Software Components


Roschelle, J., DiGiano, C., Koutlis, M., Repenning, A., Jackiw, N., & Suthers, D. (1999). Developing educational software components. IEEE Computer, 32 (9), 50-58.


The demand for educational software is growing exponentially with the surge of interest in educational reform, the Internet, and distance learning. Educational applications must be very flexible because curricula and teaching styles vary tremendously among institutions, locations, and even among instructors at the same institution.

To meet these needs, a wide array of small-scale, casual developers at universities, research labs, and small businesses develop educational software, and no dominant solution or supplier has emerged.1 In this market, smaller suppliers often cannot produce full solutions without depending on the capabilities of other vendors. For example, producing software for a grade 6-8 mathematics curriculum might require more than 30 different tools, such as random number spinners, dice, tables, graphs, spreadsheets, and notebooks. As a consequence, small educational software publishers must either limit their product to a particular topic in the curriculum, or they must team with others who have already built some of the components. Because narrowly limited products are not very desirable in education, small developers are recognizing that they need a standard, common platform.

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