3f: Select and evaluate digital tools and resources

Digital resources, platforms and ideas are plentiful which is great but can lead to feeling overwhelmed when deciding what to implement. In my blog post, Evaluate and Curate!, I walk through the process of deciding what to select and evaluate with digital tools and resources. Below are highlights from my blog post. 

One resource available is a simple Digital Tools Protocol designed by Ellen Dorr (2015) to decide if a tool or resource is worthwhile.  This protocol walks through how to assess the tool/resource, pilot programs, implementation procedures, best practices, surveying results and, based on findings, decide if the digital tool/resource is up to the high standards of school or district-wide use.  

Being culturally responsible is also an important part of selecting and evaluating digital tools and resources. In the article, Building Culturally Responsive Classrooms With Digital Content, Dr. Karen Beerer states,  Cultural responsiveness through “going digital” is about being able to answer yes to these questions throughout all classrooms in your school:

  • Is instruction relevant to students’ lives and the world around them?
  • Is your teaching preparing students to be future ready?
  • Do the instructional resources enhance students’ learning?
  • Do the instructional resources reflect the students in any way?
  • How is what you’re teaching going to impact or change students’ lives?

Beerer also mentions “…seven ways educators can use digital content to implement culturally responsive teaching effectively’:

  1. Integrate digital content into your instruction.
  2. Ensure the digital content is high-quality.
  3. Use digital activities such as high-quality graphics, games, virtual labs and robust math and science challenges to motivate students.
  4. Build students’ vocabularies with a variety of different digital resources such as videos, animations, and images.
  5. Engage students in experiences, such as a virtual field trip to the North Pole, that they wouldn’t ordinarily have, or perhaps may never have, to build understanding of others.
  6. Close the “belief gap”.
  7. Know your students and the communities you serve.

Selecting and evaluating resources thoroughly before expanding them into the classroom and school community is also incredibly important because if too many tools and resources are introduced and then fail, the possibility of digital fatigue and frustration increases for students and educators.  The role of a digital education coach is to not let this fatigue and frustration happen and instead provide innovative, exciting, creative, meaningful and long-lasting digital experiences so having protocols in place is crucial before implementation.  

Resources:

Beerer, Karen. (2017, Feb. 20) Building Culturally Responsive Classrooms with Digital Content. Retrieved from https://www.gettingsmart.com/2017/02/culturally-responsive-classrooms-digital-content/

Common Sense Media. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/

Dynamic Learning Project. Retrieved from https://dynamiclearningproject.com/strategymenuJohnson, Karen. (2016, March 15). Resources to Help You Choose the Digital Tools Your Classroom Needs. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-03-15-resources-to-help-you-choose-the-digital-tools-your-classroom-needs