How to Evaluate Digital Content
As more schools are moving towards digital learning environments, it is more important than ever to pay careful attention to the types of digital content students are using. With a large amount of educational digital content available, it can be overwhelming to find the best teaching tools for your students. Kecia Ray, the chair of the ISTE Board, explains, “There are a lot of options out there for free or fee, and there is the good, the bad and the indifferent.”
When it comes to evaluating digital content, you want to look for the best digital content available. For example, you want to avoid content that is simply an electronic version of the textbook without any added value to the student. It is best to evaluate the content in the following areas:
Assess the Academic Quality
Your primary concern should be the academic quality of the content. It should be well-written and aligned with your state standards and curriculum. Additionally, the content should be credible and accurate. Unfortunately, there is educational content that is unreliable when it comes to presenting students with factual information. If the content is not kept up-to-date, this is a problem for students.
Assess the User Interface
Even if the digital content is superb, it will not be a helpful tool to your students if it is challenging to use. Therefore, it is critical that you test out the user interface. Is it easy to navigate? Will students be able to browse materials and find their way through the content with ease? You should also look for digital content that is optimized for various devices.
Assess the Individualization Possibilities
As technology has developed, it is easier to allow for individualization. For instance, through using assessments, the technology should determine the student’s needs. Students should be able to use the digital content independently and then have opportunities to reinforce skills. Additionally, the content should provide not only a variety of assessment options but also the ability to track data for teacher review.
Assess the Interactive Elements
Digital content should be innovative and encourage creativity. Therefore, you should pay attention to the graphics and interactive elements. However, you should also pay close attention to the amount of interaction at hand. For example, does it provide too much stimulation or too little? You should choose a product that enhances learning rather than hinders learning.
Finally, it is imperative that you choose digital content strategically with a team. Evaluating content is not a task for one educator. Instead, you should have a team of teachers, curriculum leaders, and digital leaders evaluate the digital content to determine which products best meet the needs of your students.