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Educational Software Interfaces and Teacher’s Use
Walquíria Castelo-Branco Lins Centre of Education - UFPE Rua Alcides Codeceira, 320/203 – Iputinga –Recife-PE 50800-090 - Brazil Abstract
Designing educational software is normally approached as a pure creative or interdisciplinary activity. Teachers’ activities are rarely considered in initial requirements elicitation phase. Theaim of our research was to propose a qualitative approach to analyse teachers’ classroom technology mediated activity as a source of information to educational software design. Our main results show the need to consider aspects correlated to how flexible the interface is to allow teacher to make changes according to his/her didactical choices.

Alex Sandro Gomes Centre of Informatics - UFPE RuaProf. Luiz Freire,s/n, Recife-PE Po. Box: 7851, 50732-970, Brazil



In the educational context, there is a gap between expectations generated from the potentiality of interactive and digital technologies and the way they are used mediating pedagogic activities (Resnick, 2001; CastroFilho e Confrey, 2000; Dugdale, 1999). In our viewpoint, many of theseproblems are related to usability: methods and operations, that these tools materialize, are inadequate (Leont’ev, 1975) to pedagogic culture concretised on professional day-life (Tardif, 2002). The National Center for Education Statistics (2000) indicates that half of the teachers of United States of America who have access to computer and to the web at classroom do not use them in class. The majorityof them use these tools to search models in class, to plan their activities, to elaborate teaching materials and to communicate, but they do not feel confident to introduce them in pedagogic activities with pupils in classroom. Researches in Mathematics Education points to the same issue: teachers use technologies in their teaching activities, in a limited way. Some researchers point to the needfor improvement in their teacher training (Kennedy, 1990; Ball, 1991 apud CastroFilho e Confrey, 2000). So, the point is how to train these teachers? According to Handler & Strudler (1997), Thomas (1999) and Wang & Holthaus (1999) quoted in Pope et al. (2002), in general, teacher’s undergraduate degrees (colleges of Education) include courses to introduce teacher on computer use, however, themethodological and educational courses do not use computer as a tools to discuss teaching and learning process on different content. Teachers learn how to use technology, but do not learn how to teach with them (Pope, Hare & Howard, 2002). Literature on school use of computer, normally, focuses researches on students’ learning. There are a small quantity of researches on the relation between technologyand teaching activities. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate teachers practice in the context of their pedagogic activities (CastroFilho & Confrey, 2000; NCES, 2000). Another historic source of problem is raised by considerations of educational software design quality (Frye & Soloway, 1987; Hinostroza & Mellar, 2001). The literature points to the limited quality of these materials as afactor that leads to a small percentage of use in pedagogical practice. According to Hinostroza & Mellar (2001), educational software designers give priority to

questions related to learning, and this would be a cause of teachers’ difficulties to incorporate these materials in their class activities. Our purpose is to investigate teaching activities using computational interfaces in classroom. Inthe second section of this paper, we discuss elicitation of requirements to educational software. In the third section, we describe details of method used in this research. The fourth section, some data illustrate the way we identified requirements related to teaching practice. Finally, we conclude discussing the results of this research.


Eliciting requirements for Educational Software...