5 ways of using pupils to evaluate education technology resources
Here’s an idea you might like to try, if you haven’t already: use your pupils to evaluate resources. After all, they’re the ones who are going to be using them! There are five main ways of doing so, not all of which are mutually exclusive. Here they are.
Create a set of criteria
Ask pupils to draw up a set of criteria for different sorts of resources. If your pupils are very young, then you can ask them very simple questions and translate their answers into a set of criteria for you to use. It’s important to ensure that there is a commonly agreed list, of course, as you don’t want one list for each pupil in the class – although there does need to be some flexibility to meet individual needs and preferences.
Search for suitable resources
Ask pupils to use their agreed criteria to guide internet searches for suitable resources. This is a good activity because it involves searching for a real purpose – what I have, in the past, referred to as “authentic learning”.
Ask pupils’ opinions of trial resources
Get some evaluation or trial resources in, and ask the pupils to evaluate them according to their set of criteria. Make sure the criteria include something like “value for money” where appropriate.
Ask pupils’ opinions of your own resources
I have improved my own resources by asking pupils to critically evaluate stuff I have produced.
Don’t forget that with all of the ideas above you can have the pupils contributing to a dynamic document like a wiki or a Google doc.
Observe pupils using the resources
What people say, and what they do, can be two different things. I have had a situation in which pupils tell me materials are “boring”, having just spent 45 minutes working intensively with those materials without a break!
A welcome side effect of using pupils in these sorts of ways is that it helps to hone their critical faculties, which can be applied in self- and peer-assessment right across the ICT curriculum. And yet another pleasant outcome is that, having had some say in the resources they use, they are less likely to complain about them being boring!
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