The Limits of "Software Titles"

When educational software developers do not sign up with textbook companies, they are left to peddle their own software. To do this, they turn to bookstores and software stores which sell "software titles." This is an important expression because it makes clear how these "titles" have to be marketed. Software publishers look for "blockbuster titles," that is, the piece of educational software that will sell millions of copies, like Typing Tutor or Where in the World is Carmen San Diego? While these programs are nice enough at what they do, the blockbuster concept is quite an unfortunate model for education. Its effect is that no software developer can work on more than a few great titles. But how much instruction can be provided by a great title? One hour? Two?

One or two hours at $50 a title (the prices have dropped some, but not much) is not going to change the world. Here and there software will be created. It might even be good software that will entertain a child at home for a while, or provide an hour off from the tedium of the classroom for a while. Still, nothing important can change from the creation of such bits and pieces. Wholesale production of software is needed.

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