Being a new and young field, education technology may get confusing and overwhelming at times. Schools become more courageous in integrating digital resources in their learning process. However, with the vast array of choices of websites, apps, and tools, how do you know what are the right products to purchase? Here are some factors to consider when choosing digital resources for your school.
Each school has different goals and, therefore, has a varied set of policies and needs. In deciding what kind of digital resources to use, consider the curricular need of your school. The type of resources you need will differ depending on whether you plan to supplement, replace, or create a new curriculum. Moreover, the resources you purchase must match the interest and level of students.
A vital question to ask is whether the digital resource provides value for money. One way to test this is by checking if it corresponds to all, some, or few of your needs. Choose those that meet the needs of your curriculum and are appropriate to the age of your students. Remember that when it comes to education, you do not want to settle for cheaper but inferior resources. Ensure that the resource complies with government requirements and standards.
An essential part of content is the resource’s degree of engagement. Content, no matter how valuable, is still useless when students do not find it engaging and interesting. Students at different levels possess different developmental needs and therefore demand varying interfaces for optimal learning. So, ensure that both content and interface are appropriate for your target students. For instance, interactive materials like video streaming are more appealing to younger students.
Finding an appropriate digital resource provider is only half of the job. The sad reality is that quality education costs. Take note of your school’s financial capacity and if it can sustain the annual subscription fees or the hosting fees. Some providers offer practical packages that let your school subscribe longer and save. Many states give schools free or discounted access to digital content. Your school can maximize this service if it is offered in your area. Some textbook vendors provide a complementary access to digital content when you purchase from them. You can also take advantage of that.
Ease of Use
Technology is supposed to make life easier for teachers and students and not complicate the learning process. So, be sure to consider the ease of use and accessibility features of the digital resource. To encourage the students to utilize it and not intimidate them, opt for resources that are simple and intuitive. A good question to ask is whether teachers and students will likely utilize it if you purchase it. Also, inquire whether the resource providers offer support to teachers and students when needed.
Hardware and Other Equipment
Another important point to look into is the specific hardware and infrastructure needed to utilize the resource. Do you need a tablet, laptop, projector, or does it work on your current devices? Other things you might need to consider are the software, operating system, internet bandwidth, and storage requirements. Does your school have these tools or can it sustain the costs of buying and maintaining them?
These are important things to consider before purchasing a digital resource. As a last tip, capitalize on free trial opportunities. Be sure to let the teachers and students participate in the trial to gain accurate insight. After all, nothing will give you better information than an actual test.
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