educational publishers, teachers, researchers, or a soſtware compa- ny. Would you want a soſtware programmer or graphic designer with no education degree teaching in your classroom? Is it logical that a researcher should be designing lessons for fiſth graders if they have never taught fiſth graders? Educa- tional content written by educators with recent classroom experience may contain effective strategies and methods learned only by teach- ing concepts directly to students. Content designed by educators is usually organized and presented in ways that are simple and intuitive for other educators and students.
Equally important is the country in which the content was created. Find out if the content was created by educators in your country based on your standards and benchmarks or if it was created in another coun- try and had to be modified to fit your country’s curriculum. If it was modified, check what modifications were made to language, vocabulary, and teaching strategies as they vary greatly from country to country.
If considering purchasing resourc- es that were developed in another country, look closely at their user statistics and research. Does the product have a customer base and research on effectiveness in your country?
#8 Can I search by standards? Can I search by my publish- er-based cur- riculum?
At the very least, a product should provide a way for you to view
which state and/or national stan- dards are aligned to each of their resources. At the very best, a prod- uct will provide a way for users to search and find content aligned to each specific state and/or national standard. (Tis is particularly help- ful when searching for interventions based on results from standardized testing.)
A hard-to-come-by but very useful time-saving feature is the ability to search and find resources aligned to each unit/lesson/chapter in specific publisher-based curriculums. In addition to being a time saver for teachers, this search validates the digital content by closely tying it to your district’s specific curriculum.
#9 Do these resources include voiceovers?
Voiceovers add value and in- creased function-
ality to interactive content. Tey help to differentiate instruction and to engage auditory learners. If voi- ceovers are present in paid content, they should sound professional, be of an appropriate accent for your country, and preferably offer the option to be turned on or off depending on the needs of specific students.
#10 Is there support for the content and are up- dates pro- vided?
Content installations oſten don’t go as planned. You will have questions
as you begin to use new content, and there may be connectivity issues with web-based solutions. At a minimum, you should expect a basic level of technical support via phone and email. You should place even more value on content from companies that go beyond the basics to help you integrate the content into classroom instruction or to assist you in locating specific resources via phone, email, and newsletter support.
Updates are a known part of con- tent development, so you should expect updates to your content at least once a year. If the content is installed locally on your computer, find out if the company provides regular updates. If so, how do you know when updates are available? How are those updates delivered, and is there an additional charge?
If the content is web-based, will updates appear automatically? How oſten are updates provided? How will you know what has been updated? Is there an additional charge?
#11 How is this content delivered, and what program does it re- quire?
Content will be either web-based or installation-based. Web-based content is delivered online. Tis means content can be accessed on any computer with an internet con- nection via a web browser. Some advantages include no installation, automatic updates, quick response to technical issues within the content, and easy student/teacher
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