Ask the questions below, perhaps on a form devised for the purpose. Ask other staff and, where appropriate, pupils to do the same. Obtain an evaluation copy if possible, and seek the views of the Local Authority or other advisory person or organisation, and other teachers.
1. What is the name of the resource?
2. What category does it fall into, eg Word Processing, Games?
3. Which computer systems will it work on?
4. How much is it?
5. Where appropriate, how much is a site licence?
6. Is it available via LGfL or another (cheaper) route?
7. What is the printed documentation like? Will users be able to understand it?
8. Is the on-line help good? Will pupils be able to understand it?
9. Do the graphics enhance the program, or distract one's attention?
10. Is the colour scheme too dull, too garish? Is it suitable for sight-impaired pupils?
11. Is the layout good, ie uncluttered, clear?
12. What print options are available?
13. How suitable is it for the classes you want it for?
14. Does it allow access by people with Special Educational Needs?
15. Does it meet the National Curriculum requirements?
16. Where appropriate, is it suitable for the examination in question, such as SATs?
17. Is it suitable for the scheme of work being followed?
18. How easy is it to use?
19. Does it make good use of the computer?
20. Will it attract pupils' interest in the short-term?
21. Will it be able to maintain pupils' interest in the long-term, eg through differentiated tasks?
22. Is it good value for money, taking into account things like the site licence cost?
23. Will it enhance your existing software resources?
Note that most of these questions apply even to free software, because of the opportunity costs involved.
Tomorrow: factors to consider when evaluating books.
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