is Drill & Practice?
As an instructional strategy, drill & practice
is familiar to all educators. It "promotes the acquisition
of knowledge or skill through repetitive practice." It refers
to small tasks such as the memorization of spelling or vocabulary
words, or the practicing of arithmetic facts and may also be found
in more sophicated learning tasks or physical education games and
sports. Drill-and-practice, like memorization, involves repetition
of specific skills, such as addition and subtraction, or spelling.
To be meaningful to learners, the skills built through drill-and-practice
should become the building blocks for more meaningful learning.
What is its purpose?
Drill and Practice activities help learners master
materials at their own pace. Drills are usually repetitive and are
used as a reinforcement tool. Effective use of drill and practice
depends on the recognition of the type of skill being developed,
and the use of appropriate strategies to develop these competencies.
There is a place for drill and practice mainly for the beginning
learner or for students who are experiencing learning problems.
Its use, however, should be kept to situations where the teacher
is certain that it is the most appropriate form of instruction.
How can I do it?
Drill and practice software packages offer structured
reinforcement of previously learned concepts. They are based on
question and answer interactions and should give the student appropriate
feedback. Drill and practice packages may use games to increase
motivation. Teachers who use computers to provide drill and practice
in basic skills promote learning because drill and practice increases
student acquisition of basic skills. In a typical software package
of this type, the student is able to select an appropriate level
of difficulty at which questions about specific content materials
are set. In most cases the student is motivated to answer these
questions quickly and accurately by the inclusion of a gaming scenario,
as well as colourful and animated graphics. Good drill and practice
software provides feedback to students, explains how to get the
correct answer, and contains a management system to keep track of
can I adapt it?
has been a definite move away from paper-based drill and practice
systems to computer-based systems. Drill and practice exercises
with appropriate software can enhance the daily classroom experience.
Given the personalized, interactive nature of most software, the
computer can lend itself to providing extended, programmed practice.
Used in small doses, electronic learning experiences can supplement
any lesson effectively. Certain software allow students to reinforce
specific skills in a certain subject area. Although not as easily
integrated across the curriculum, drill and practice software can
be useful. It usually comes in one of two formats. The first focuses
on a specific subject area or a part of that area. The most common
areas are reading and math. The second type attempts to improve
skills in several areas of the curriculum. As with all other types
of software, the teacher needs to determine if technology is the
best way to work with the subject matter being dealt with.
provide child centered activities to apply problem solving strategies
as well as an opportunity to practice basic skills.
Skills Practice Cards can be designed to be used in many different
formats. They can be used with a game board, in a lotto format or