Instructional media evaluation criteria

* General information - title, publisher, contact information, price, grade level, subject, etc.

* Type of media - using a taxonomy of your choice, identify the category or type of media this product fits into and provide a link to the taxonomy of choice

*Meets instructional goals & objectives

Instructional objectives – list all content covered and identify whether it is aligned with national, state and local standards for subject matter, technology, information, etc.[include links to standards addressed] I know that my program can be purchased and used anywhere--so I assume that other states' standards would be addressed when they purchase the program. What am I to do when the program covers most, if not all standards? Should I list them all or just provide a link to where all standards can be viewed? [[Kelly Meyering 10/16] Good question! I think it makes sense to list standards satisfied by whatever activity you describe for use with the software product and not worry so much about what the vendor claims. AT 10/17/11]* I am using a drill and practice piece of software, and it is nearly impossible to find standards that are applicable to this style of instruction. (Tracy Bennett-Clare 10/18) My product is also available as standard software for any state and isn't incredibly standard . I am focusing on the standards that are meant to be fulfilled through its use in general at the given grade level (Sara Papineau 10/22). Mine will meet several state and core technology standards. (J. Bowen 10/29)I will identify three standards NationalState, and the District Technology standards as referenced in the Technology Handbook for my particular school district (Marla Baldwin 11/17/2011
Hardware & software requirements (CD/ROM, network support, site license, etc.) How do the site licenses work? Does your school get one CD that can be installed on every computer? Can it be used in multiple buildings? (Tracy Bennett-Clare 10/18)Installation and set up could be measured by 3 components: simple, difficult, time consuming (list each that apply) Also, is sound necessary...this would be important to know if a lab is being used, or if students need additional devices like headphones. (Jessica Ruthsatz 10/20) Its also important to think about size requirements, RAM/ROM Space/allocation on the Hard Drive. I believe the installation requirements are also important in looking at the Licensing agreement because some institutions may not have the manpower or resources to have all the resources (financial/physical) to implement such software. (Natalie Bush 10/22)In addition to installation requirements, reference whether or not the media is available only within the school's internal network or can be accessed off-campus/online. (Sara Papineau 10/22). Our district has some labs that are PC and some that are Mac. Is the software compatible with both systems? (J. Bowen 10/29)
Ratings: Effective instructional strategies – methods/approach [quantitative scale and qualitative remarks] I like a 1-5 rating scale for various components wanted in the instructional media. I like the one found in the external links folder. Many of the things this rating system is looking for are important in choosing instructional media. (Jamie Dorsey 10/21)
For ratings to be understandable and effective, asking the questions who benefits from instructional strategies? What portions are most effective? And how are the lessons applied? Make ratings relevant.( Marla Baldwin 11/17/2011)
Appropriate and timely feedback provided Motivational and student control Entertainment Value Entertainment value? Mmmmm. I suppose this is especially important for the students! (Tracy Bennett-Clare 10/18) This is important for the student. Entertainment may only me something that captures their attention and interest. Something that will help to keep them on task and engaged in learning. (Nikki Torrey 10/23) For elementary students, entertainment is priceless and motivational! Has to be included in a review of software to be used with third graders. (J. Bowen 10/29)
Ease of use/interface design – help, tutorials, navigation, visual elements, etc.If we include this in our rubric, i think on a 1-4 scale we should include some sort of teacher involvement. for example a 4 could be that the teacher needs to be very involved while the student is using the media, or a 1 could be that the teacher can say here it is, have fun (Drew Rutenbar 10/18)

I think teacher/student support is huge! Maybe a checklist system as to where instructional manuals or sample screens are. (Jessica Ruthsatz 10/20)

Not all Teachers and Students are technlogy literate. Jessica touches on a good point so that there is visible feedback on the tutorial process and institutions are not wasting money by purchasing separate instructional media for their instructional media (redundancy) (Natalie Bush 10/22)

Assessment features I think it is important to think of how the work the students are doing is delivered to the teacher. Is there some action that happens ongoing that is keeping a teacher informed on their students work? (Drew Rutenbar 10/18) [So some kind of notification or monitor of student work - good point! (AT, 10/20)] I love that my software actually generates teacher reports! (J. Bowen 10/29)
Documentation and directions
I like the scale idea for teacher involvement that Drew has, but what about teach support in particular...
Are they included in a booklet, via the internet, manual? Maybe a simple yes or no suffices here.
(Jessica Ruthsatz 10/20) Could this also refer to any available professional training that is available specifically for the tool? (Sara Papineau 10/22) [Perhaps, although we might want to differentiate between PD for teachers that is "free" or low cost vs. expensive, as districts may not have funding for PD for software they purchase. But this definitely could be a factor in choosing one product over another. AT, 10/24] I think that software that requires PD would be rank pretty low on the scale of ease of use. (J. Bowen 10/29)
Evidence of effectiveness – testimonials, published research, etc.
The testimonials and reviews on Amazon speak volumes. These come from the people who've tried it already. Know before you buy! (Tracy Bennett-Clare 10/18)

*Developmental & age appropriateness – reading level, terminology, etc. [This seems to critical to me but is often overlooked. Students, especially those who struggle reading or those who are ESL students, may find software with a reading level above their capability of little or no use. AT, 10/24] This is very important for third grade, where there are many non-readers yet! (J. Bowen 10/29)

*Content accuracy and biases
*Testing & evaluation features (management)- Does the software allow for grading and comment on student progress? Possibly a rating scale would be appropriate here as to how easy it is to evaluate progress. (Jessica Ruthsatz 10/20)
Is the software a representation of the population demographic in terms of age and race based on the consumers utilizing the program. Is the content respectful of cultures and religions mentioned in the lesson Marla Baldwin 11/17/2011

* Specific plans for instructional use, considering multiple configurations – computer lab, classroom, media center, mobile lab, etc.; individual, small group, whole class, etc.
*Consider possible adaptations that support diverse student needs and abilities, including ESL, diverse cultural background, student ability, and special needs
**Language versions especially combining Spanish and English as an option for intercity/urban schools. Reasonable accommodations also must be assessed when purchasing this software for students with disabilities. (Natalie Bush 10/22)

*Consider use with learner-centered activities, support for development of higher order thinking skills (HOTS) and open-ended projects

*Products’ best features [Are these best features in MY personal opinion in my critique or is it the features as reviewed by the company or is it the features as stated in customer reviews? - Jenni Clark 10.17.11 These are your opinions, based on your evaluation, of the best and worst features of a product. AT 10.17.11] Good to know. (J. Bowen 10/29)

*Products’ worst features [As stated above, whose opinion are we taking into consideration for this? - Jenni Clark 10.17.11 See above]

*Overall quality of this product– would you recommend its purchase/use? Why or why not?

My main concern is to evaluate a website that doesn’t require purchasing. I say this because I teach in a small district with little to no funds for additional media. This makes it much easier to “sell” to the administration and provides a new tool in a time when technology is growing at a rate faster than schools can purchase something new. Nikki Torrey 10/19/11 [So perhaps in the General Information about a product, assigning special weight to products that are free or inexpensive, like Apple's i(name)? (AT, 10/20)]

*Additional comments – use this space to add any items you think are important or relevant to your peers with regard to purchasing and using this software