Evaluating Digital Technologies for the Classroom

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Figure 1: Digital literacy word cloud (Cole, 2016)
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Figure 2: Successful technology integration requires evaluation during all phases of instruction. (Shelley, G., Gunter, G., & Gunter, R. 2010)

Evaluating digital technologies is the task of assess the value it brings to, as well as how appropriate it is in a classroom setting. “Web-based learning resources have provided teachers with a range of new teaching experiences that are not possible in traditional classrooms”. Evaluating digital technology is important during all parts of the lesson- during, before and after instruction (see figure 2).

Before using digital technologies in a lesson teachers need to regulate whether or not the technology is going to be useful in meeting the objectives of the lesson. “The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) provides a framework for describing and targeting the use of technology to enhance learning (Florida Centre for Instructional Technology, 2005). The Florida Centre for Instructional Technology constructed a rubric that includes five individual attributes of a meaningful learning environment that are then linked up to five levels of technology integration (see figure 3). In my opinion, while the technology integration matrix is a successful rubric for evaluating technology, is slightly confusing and has too many aspects that need to be addressed. Due to this issue, I created my own rubric based on the technology integration matrix to assist me in evaluating technologies for my own classroom (See Figure 4).

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Figure 3: The Technology Integration Matrix (Florida Centre for Instructional Technology, 2005)

By creating a personal rubric for evaluating digital technologies in the classroom, I can choose the technologies that I would like to use based on four main aspects – Active learning, collaborative learning, constructive learning and goal-directed learning. Unlike the technology integration matrix that has five characteristics and five levels of technology integration, my matrix only has four characteristics (based on TIM) and three levels of technology integration.

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Figure 4: Personal Rubric for evaluating technologies

By using a rubric to evaluate digital technologies in the classroom, as teachers, you are able to source technologies that would be beneficial to your students rather that destructive.  To know if certain types of digital technology are going to be beneficial to your classroom you need to judge aspects such as whether they will engage students and not distract them; whether students will be able to collaborate with their peers rather than working in solitude; whether they create links with information they have already learned; and whether they can use technology to learn in a goal-directed manner. If the technology you are evaluating scores high on all four of these aspects, then it would be beneficial to students learning for you to integrate it into your classroom.

REFERENCES

Cole, P. (2016). Digital literacy word cloud. Retrieved from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2016/07/assessing-digital-literacy-standards-tools-techniques/

Florida Centre for Instructional Technology. (2005). The technology integration matrix. Retrieved from https://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/matrix/

Hadjerrouit, S. (2010). A conceptual framework for using and evaluating web-based learning resourced in school education. Journal of Information Technology Education, 9, 53-79.

Shelley, G., Gunter, G., & Gunter, R. (2010). Teachers discovering computers. Boston, MA: Course Technology, Cengage Learning.

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