Evaluating Educational Technologies: Historical Milestones

Evaluating Educational Technologies: Historical Milestones

Laurie Ruberg (Center for Educational Technologies®,Wheeling Jesuit University, USA), Manetta Calinger (Center for Educational Technologies®,Wheeling Jesuit University, USA) and Bruce C. Howard (Center for Educational Technologies®,Wheeling Jesuit University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-936-6.ch024


Our team of researchers reviewed published results from the last 15 years to compile a list of the characteristics of effective educational uses of technology. All the studies considered technical, administrative, and learning features, while more recent investigations emphasized administrative characteristics necessary to support No Child Left Behind reporting. Recommended characteristics have evolved over time as expectations for technology integration have shifted from a focus on technology skill development to integrated use of technology as part of effective teaching and learning practices. Technology literacy is now considered as an integrated component of curriculum support and professional development. A timeline of relevant historical milestones in the evaluation of educational technologies illustrates how the understanding of and expectations for effective use of educational technologies has progressed to keep pace with advances in technological affordances.
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In an effort to improve student learning, educators, administrators, and researchers over the years have sought to identify the disparities across policy, curriculum, teacher professional training, student learning needs, and classroom environments. What followed were their recommendations for closing the gaps through the promise of new emerging technologies. In the last 15 years nearly every school district has completed several phases of major computer purchases, upgraded their bandwidth, and conducted professional training on the use of technology.

In this chapter we review the most relevant educational technology reports and studies of the last 15 years to gain perspective on their results and the evolution of the educational technology environment. The studies from 1993 through 2002 share a common feature—they include, either implicitly or explicitly, specific criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of technology or for identifying the technology features necessary for use in formal or informal education environments. For example, such criteria might include cost, ease of use, or impact on student learning. More recent studies reflect a shift in focus away from evaluation of the technology (ISTE, 2002) to a perspective that examines how integrated use of a given technology (or system of technologies) improves teaching and learning processes (ISTE, 2008).

Our analysis includes only reports and studies that issued multiple recommendations. Each study represents a major effort or relevant perspective to our current objective of establishing design principles and metrics for choosing and using educational technologies. We briefly describe the context of each report and list its recommendations. Additionally, we provide a much longer timeline of relevant historical milestones in the evaluation of educational technologies. See Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Timeline of relevant historical milestones in the evaluation of educational technologies


Review Of Major Efforts In Evaluating Educational Technologies

<b>CEO Forum on Education and Technology (1996-2001)</b></div><p>The CEO Forum on Education and Technology was founded in 1996 and committed to a five-year partnership between business and education leaders to assess and monitor the progress toward integrating technology in America’s schools. The forum published annual <i>School Technology and Readiness Reports</i>. A few of the reports focused on topics such as teacher preparation programs and professional development, but evaluating and assessing the role of technology in education were the focus of several of the annual reports.</p><p>The last report, <i>Key Building Blocks for Student Achievement in the 21st Century</i> (2001), culminated a five-year study that assessed varying aspects of assimilating technology into U.S. classrooms. This report identified four critical elements of effective technology implementation in American schools: connectivity, hardware, content (to allow integration of technology into the curriculum), and professional development.</p><p>The investigation reported several other key findings, most importantly that educational technology can improve student achievement. Assessments of scores in basic skill areas showed increases in proficiency in all areas. Eleven percent of the gain directly correlated to the technology implementation in the basic skills and computer education classes begun 10 years earlier. Interestingly, the study also found that achievement tests were based primarily on accessed state standards, and these standards generally emphasized lower order skills. The study recommended that standards be updated to reflect the need for preparing students with the technology skills needed for the 21st century environment.</p></div><div class="preview-footer"><a href="javascript:__doPostBack('ctl00$cphFeatured$lnkAddToCart','')">Purchase this chapter to continue reading all 13 pages ></a></div></div><div id="table-of-contents"><h2>Complete Chapter List</h2><div class="search-contents"><span class="text"> Search this Book: </span><span class="text-box-container"><input id="txtKeywords" type="text" maxlength="50" onkeypress="return SearchBookFulltextHandleEnter(event, 539);" placeholder="Full text search terms" title="Full text search terms" class="full-text-search-box" /></span><div class="inline-block search-contents-xs-full-width"><span class="search"><span class="search-button" onclick="RemoveSpecialCharacters();SearchBookFulltext(539);"></span></span><span class="reset"><span onclick="RemoveSpecialCharacters();SearchBookFulltextReset();" class="link-gray-s">Reset</span></span></div></div><div id="searchResults"></div><div id="full-toc"></div><div id="loading-toc" class="text-align-center"><div class="loading-icon-lg"></div></div><script type="text/javascript"> $(document).ready(function () { var bookId = 539; 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