The following is a generic list of points to consider when trying to decide whether or not to buy/adopt a particular product. By 'generic' I mean that it could be used for both digital and non-digital products.
- Will users be able to understand it?
- What's the layout like? Intuitive? Confusing?
- Is the information it contains accurate, or too dumbed down to be of much use?
- Does it meet the National Curriculum, NETSS or other requirements?
- Is it suitable for the age range, and course?
- Is it interesting?
- Is it challenging?
- Are the tasks realistic for its intended audience?
- Is it good value for money?
- What is the (printed) documentation like?
- Is the on-line help good, ie both accurate and easy to navigate?
- Does it meet equal access requirements?
- Can it be adapted for both low and high attainers?
- Is it expandable/scalable (ie open rather than closed)?
- Does it have assessment built-in?
- If the answer to #15 is 'yes', do you think it's accurate?
- What's your gut feeling about it: good, or not?
- Do the potential benefits of using it outweigh the extra costs – not only in terms of money but in terms of becoming familiar with it, changing the way of doing things, etc?
- Will it work on your school's platform?
- Will it cause conflicts with any other software?
- Are there any longer-term cost implications – again, not just in terms of money. For instance, if it's a free version of a 'freemium' product, are you prepared to risk being held to ransom if the free part is discontinued.
If a team is evaluating the product, you could use this list as a basis for discussion. However, that could take ages, so another option would be to turn these questions into an online survey with Yes/No answers. That will give you a score for each question, and you could then use the survey results as a basis for discussion, especially where the team is split down the middle.
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