The same rule that applies for computers applies for software: ANYTHING can work. However, we have found that game-like educational software is very effective. The software chosen improves the quality of educational interactions between children and their peers. On page 5 we have included a list of software currently used. Also included in this list is software we have used in the past and a variety of suggestions for non-computer activities. Non-computer activities can be as essential to the 5th Dimension as computer oriented games.
The 40+ activities offered in the rooms of the 5th Dimension maze must be allocated according to the distribution of the available computers. For instance, if a site has five Apple IIgs computers, one Texas Instrument (TI), one IBM PC2, and one non-computer activity, then the maze can include about 25 games for the Apples, five for the TI, five for the IBM, and five non-computer activities. By employing these tactics, the available computers are represented equally in the maze resulting in the demand for the machines to be balanced. To ensure this balance, however, two more conditions should be observed: (a) the games for the infrequent computers should be distributed around the rooms; and (b) the games played on one type of computer should be paired with a game run on a different type of computer, or non-computer activity. This should maximize the games being played at any one time.
A great variety of different kinds of software can be woven into the fabric of your 5th Dimension. (keeping in mind that you need software that works on your computers). One way to make decisions about software is to ask what kinds of skills and knowledge you hope to foster: language arts, mathematics, computer programming, bilingualism, history, social studies, music, geography, logic....the list goes on and on.
As an example, in 1993-1994 the San Dieguito Clubs and U.C. San Diego are emphasizing “technological literacy,” offering three or more games in each of several areas: reading, writing, arithmetic, logic, computer programming, geography and telecommunications.