Tips for Evaluating Technology for Classroom Use


Tips for using four educational qualities when considering using instructional technology or media to support learning in the classroom.

Technology and instructional media are easily available, but not always conveniently packaged and ready for use in any lesson. After deciding to use technology in the classroom teachers need to evaluate their options and determine which, if any, are appropriate. As a teacher and essay writer, I know though this can be time-consuming, evaluating technology is an important step when choosing what to integrate into a lesson to support student learning. This evaluation can be broken into four pieces; audience, behavior, conditions, and degree.

Evaluate the Effect on the Student

Evaluating technology or media for audience and behavior requires a specific focus on the effect the learning aide will have on students. The audience is not as much the effect itself as for whom it is intended. For example, a certain video might be aimed towards middle-school-age learners, an available web quests for groups of three, a technological device might need the maturity of high school juniors or seniors or to be used specifically by the teacher or another adult.

Behavior describes what students should be able to accomplish after instruction using the chosen technology or media. This is similar to stating a learner's performance or observable behavior for a learning objective. When evaluating behavior, consider what real-world skill students should be able to do and not how well they could perform on a standardized test.

Consider How Students Will Show Understanding

Evaluating the conditions, such as material or environment, requires consideration about how students will demonstrate their understanding or behavior. With technology and media, this includes deciding whether or not any specific equipment or tools are needed and available for use within the learning environment. For example, if students will need to individually interact with multimedia presentations that are streamed over the Internet the school's network needs to have the capacity and speed to handle the demand.

Another condition that should be considered is if there is anything special needed within the safe and secure learning environment. If students are asked to show understanding by creating a 30-second video then there needs to be recording equipment, such as a video camera or webcam, available. However, if students are asked to create a final product using a specific piece of software, such as PowerPoint or Photoshop, then both the software and computers to run it need to be available for student use.

Determine Requirements for Acceptable Performance

The final evaluation tip is to determine the degree, or criterion, for acceptable performance. Another way to think of a degree is as a way to meet a course standard or competency. Some computer-based learning systems and similar media have this built-in, but much of the technology and media available for teaching leaves it up to the teacher to decide this.

There are some specific details to consider when evaluating the standard for acceptable performance. First is a time limit, such as creating a 30-second video with 2 days in class to prepare and 1 class period to create it. Another detail is the range of accuracy or required number of correct responses as can be determined by either a rubric or a percentage. Finally, these requirements need to relate in some way to qualitative standards for the course or unit of study.

Evaluating educational technology and media for inclusion in a lesson requires consideration of audience, behavior, conditions, and degree. Though this may be time-consuming, it is an important part when planning lessons that will use technology and makes technology integration easier.

About the author: John J. Gregg is an experienced writer on where he provides students with an opportunity to get high grades. Besides, He is fond of reading and playing the guitar. By the way, John dreams of traveling a lot and visiting as many countries as possible.

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