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  • 1. EDTECH 554 (FA10)Susan Ferdon
Session Six: Software Evaluation RubricCollaborators: Susan Ferdon and Steve PoastTaskThe principal at your building is aware you are in Boise States Ed Tech Mastersprogram. She was just given the opportunity to apply for a grant that will fund sitelicenses for three new software applications for the building. She would like you todevelop a rubric that will provide clear and comprehensive criteria for judgment of thisnew software. The funding for this grant is negotiable. Your job is to provide her thatrubric. Unfortunately the deadline for the grant is approaching. So, you and a partnerwill design an original rubric that she can use to justify her selections for this grant. Shemust have the final copy in three weeks.Your rubric must include the following: 1. You must highlight clear and comprehensive criteria to score the software. 2. You will sample two different software applications and evaluate them to the rubric you designed. (The principal has requested this so she can demonstrate to the board this rubric is clearly thought out.) 3. You must include a reference list for the software reviewed and research used.IntroductionUsers of this tool, created using Word, enter product information and respond tostatements describing software characteristics. The use of checkboxes and expandingform fields are intended to make the tool flexible and easy to use. When used as astand-alone tool, the Word document is locked, which allows the user to check boxesand enter text without danger of accidentally altering the form. When locked, form fieldsare shaded which provides emphasis needed for new users to become aware of thevarious places where text may be added. While text field content is somewhat difficult toread in this mode, shading is not present when the document is printed or saved as aPDF.Pages that follow include images of the blank template, as would be seen by one usingthe Word document, and the evaluation of two pieces of software using this tool.Resources that were reviewed prior to the design and development of this softwareevaluation instrument may be found in the reference section at the end of the document.
  • 2. Educational Software Evaluation Instrument © Susan Ferdon and Steven Poast, 2010Product InformationTitle: Date of Copyright:Publisher: Cost:URL: Subject Area:Hardware Requirements:Operating System: Grade Level:Memory/Browser Requirements: Format (check all that apply) CD-ROM DVD Internet Download Online/Cloud Educational Focus (check all that apply) Drill and Practice Game Simulation Productivity Problem Solving Tutorial ReferenceClassroom Application Usage (check all that apply) Individual, Small group, Large Group, one computer one computer display on screenEvaluation Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly StronglyEducational Purpose Agree Agree NotAllows for differentiation (multiple skill/ability levels)Provides opportunity to review and practice skillsProvides immediate feedbackBranches based on student responseWork can be saved
  • 3. Requires use of higher level thinkingAncillary materials are available (i.e. worksheets, activitypages)COMMENTS: Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly StronglySubject Matter Content Agree Agree NotAligns with district curriculumObjectives are clearContent is educationalThere is a sufficient amount of contentInformation is current and accuratePositive reviews from credible sourcesSubject matter is age/grade appropriateCOMMENTS: Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly StronglyProgress Monitoring Agree Agree NotAssessment is aligned with learning objectivesPre-Assessment is includedPost-Assessment is includedMonitors and records student progress and time on taskTeacher reports are comprehensiveStudent/Parent reports are comprehensiveCOMMENTS:
  • 4. Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly StronglyEase of Use Agree Agree NotStudent log-in process is simpleScreen directions are clear and easy to followNavigation is age/grade appropriateMenus can be accessed from any point in the programHelp options are available throughoutAccessibility features are present (speech, text, keyboardcommands)Students can use the program independentlyCOMMENTS: Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly StronglyPresentation Agree Agree NotVisuals are attractive and relate to contentAudio is clearGraphics, audio, video, and/or animations enhanceinstructionGraphics, audio, video, and/or animations are ageappropriateText is legible and print size is appropriateSpelling, punctuation and grammar are correctBug free; program loads and runs without errorOptions can be adjusted and turned on/off (soundeffects, volume, etc.)Program is engaging/enjoyableCOMMENTS:
  • 5. Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly Strongly Support Agree Agree Not User’s Manual is comprehensive and clearly written Teacher’s Guide includes suggestions for classroom use, lesson plans, and related activities Technical support is available online COMMENTS:Associated Costs and ServicesInitial purchase price of software:Purchase price of hardware necessary to operate program (list type, make/model,number needed, and price per unit):Add-on costs (additional features):Estimated cost for future upgrades:Training costs (initial or continuous):COMMENTS:RecommendationBriefly describe why you would/would not recommend this software:Evaluator: Date:
  • 6. References:Children’s software evaluation instrument. (1998). Children’s Technology Review. Retrieved from http://api.ning.com/files/YGI6OCOwuUhumL- 63bL4OabN7uJszEEoI- AsbLDhu1dW9e7FJLCB12FrZAZ*6*F0kfvD8MZsXcb7IdFdE*6oEvAQs*k4FgFy/c tr_software_evaluation.pdfCraig, C.F. (n.d.). Teachers software evaluation rubric. Retrieved from http://www.celestecraig.us/teacher%20evaluation.htmComputer software evaluation form. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://waynesville.k12.mo.us/fileadmin/wps/home/District/Media/software_eval_fo rm.pdfCriteria for evaluating computer courseware. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.evalutech.sreb.org/criteria/courseware.aspElementary School Success [Computer software]. Renton, WA: TOPICS Entertainment, Inc.EMC300: Software evaluation form. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/emc300/software/evalform.htmlSchrock, K. (2007). Software evaluation form. Retrieved from http://kathyschrock.net/1computer/page4.htmSoftware Evaluation Center: Software vendor evaluation form. (n.d.), Retrieved from http://www.software-evaluation.co.uk/software_vendor_evaluation.htmTypingMaster Pro Typing Tutor (7.01) [Computer software]. Helsinki, Finland: TypingMaster Finland, Inc. Retrieved from http://www.typingmaster.com/education/
  • 7. Educational Software Evaluation Instrument © Susan Ferdon and Steven Poast, 2010Product InformationTitle: TypingMaster Pro Typing Tutor, version 7.01 Date of Copyright: 2009 (Windows, Intranet), 2010 (Online)Publisher: TypingMaster Finland, Inc. Cost: Pricing dependent on number of workstationsURL: http://www.typingmaster.com/education/ Subject Area: ComputerHardware Requirements: 800 x 600 display resolution Applicationsor betterOperating System: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP/Vista/7, Grade Level: Middle SchoolMac OS X, Linux/Solaris. and aboveMemory/Browser Requirements: Internet Explorer 5.0or greater, Firefox 1.0 or greater, Opera 7 or greater, orother Java 1.2 or ActiveX capable browser Format (check all that apply) CD-ROM DVD Internet Download Online/Cloud Educational Focus (check all that apply) Drill and Practice Game Simulation Productivity Problem Solving Tutorial ReferenceClassroom Application Usage (check all that apply) Individual, Small group, Large Group, one computer one computer display on screenEvaluation
  • 8. Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly StronglyEducational Purpose Agree Agree NotAllows for differentiation (multiple skill/ability levels)Provides opportunity to review and practice skillsProvides immediate feedbackBranches based on student responseWork can be savedRequires use of higher level thinkingAncillary materials are available (i.e. worksheets, activitypages)COMMENTS:Sound alert in PC version, red strike on error. Branching: Entire drill/lesson isused if mistakes are made, lesson duration is shortened if good progress ismade (Optimal Duration). Weaknesses are determined based on accuracy andspeed and are immediately addressed with extra training. Satellite featureenables software to monitor typing done in other programs then save words thatare used often - and have mistakes - to make personalized exercises. A variety ofsecurity settings are available within Satellite which allow confidentialinformation to be excluded. Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly StronglySubject Matter Content Agree Agree NotAligns with district curriculumObjectives are clearContent is educationalThere is a sufficient amount of contentInformation is current and accuratePositive reviews from credible sourcesSubject matter is age/grade appropriateCOMMENTS:Touch typing: One goal is to not look at keyboard, but for lessons, onscreenkeyboard is visible which shows starting key and highlights which finger to usefor each keystroke. It appears to be possible to complete the lessons withoutactually knowing the letters you are typing. Onscreen keyboard is not visible forTyping Tests. All content is delivered via text and visuals - not appropriate for
  • 9. emerging readers, ELL, or those with reading difficulties. There is a versionavailable which includes English, Spanish, French, German, Dutch, Swedish andFinnish. Content includes 9+ hours of lessons/practice plus games, tests, andreview. Additional course - six instead of five - available with online and Intranetversions of the program. Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly StronglyProgress Monitoring Agree Agree NotAssessment is aligned with learning objectivesPre-Assessment is includedPost-Assessment is includedMonitors and records student progress and time on taskTeacher reports are comprehensiveStudent/Parent reports are comprehensiveCOMMENTS:Pre-Test is included in online version but not Windows download. Teacherreports include time on task, percentage correct, wpm, and item analysis. Onlineand Intranet versions track student progress. Computer-based version trackssingle user data and can be networked with teacher reports included. Text files(plain text) may be added for use as Typing Tests which provides moreindividualized learning/assessment as well as variety from which to choose.Online Version - Groups and users can be set with at-a-glance view as well asdetailed reports. Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly StronglyEase of Use Agree Agree NotStudent log-in process is simpleScreen directions are clear and easy to followNavigation is age/grade appropriateMenus can be accessed from any point in the programHelp options are available throughoutAccessibility features are present (speech, text, keyboardcommands)
  • 10. Students can use the program independentlyCOMMENTS:Most appropriate for older students and adults. No help screens though there isan online User Manual. Junior Typing Course available for users ages 8 -12which is largely the same. Tutorial text and exercises somewhat more brief inJunior version. Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly StronglyPresentation Agree Agree NotVisuals are attractive and relate to contentAudio is clearGraphics, audio, video, and/or animations enhanceinstructionGraphics, audio, video, and/or animations are ageappropriateText is legible and print size is appropriateSpelling, punctuation and grammar are correctBug free; program loads and runs without errorOptions can be adjusted and turned on/off (soundeffects, volume, etc.)Program is engaging/enjoyableCOMMENTS:PC Version: Color and contrast is good, yet bland. The only audio is alertsounds for page changes and errors. Page layout is consistent and menunavigation is easy to follow. Visuals are limited to photograph ofhands/fingers, with blue dots to indicate which to use for the next keystroke,and diagram of keyboard. Font is difficult to read both in the program and theonline manual.Online Version: Excellent use of color with keys and fingers color-coded (i.e.index finger and related keys are purple, middle finger red, etc.). Easy-to-readfont and image/font size can be enlarged using zoom commands for menuscreens, though not for lessons. The first time loading lessons may be slow,but not overly so. Subsequent page loads are faster. Games are much moreengagning in newer, online version - different games, better graphics andsound is included.
  • 11. All Versions: No audio, video, or animations except for sound alerts in Windows version; all information is text-based. Tutorials would benefit from visuals representing good posture and hand postion, as opposed to text description alone. Highlighting of current word/letter and fade-out of words already typed aids in tracking. Options are limited (sound effects on/off, wpm vs kpm) but can be adjusted. Limited color/visuals and difficult to read font make PC version less engaging ("Disagree" score) than online version ("Agree" score). Applicable Disagree Disagree Strongly Strongly Support Agree Agree Not User’s Manual is comprehensive and clearly written Teacher’s Guide includes suggestions for classroom use, lesson plans, and related activities Technical support is available online COMMENTS: Online Users Manual includes detailed information as well as screen shots from the program to illustrate points made. No Teachers Guide is included through there is general information for teachers included in the Users Manual. Online contact forms, specific to each version, are available as is an online forum. The online forum lists overwhelmingly favorable feedback. One post listed ways that students could cheat, but support personnel reported how each of the "cheats" affected the newer version (could not cheat the new version). Answers to forum questions are timely and comprehensive.Associated Costs and ServicesInitial purchase price of software: $39.90 for one workstation (Windows), 5 licences =$119, 10 licences = $199, 20 licences = $299, 30 licences = $369, 50 licences = $469,1 school = $549, 2 or more schools - contact vendor. Online version starts at $24.90 forsingle user. Online is yearly subscription based on number of users/schools. StandardSchool is $395 for 12 months, $595 for two years (/$298 per yearsave $195), or $750for three years ($250 per year/save $435).Purchase price of hardware necessary to operate program (list type, make/model,number needed, and price per unit): (none)Add-on costs (additional features): (none)
  • 12. Estimated cost for future upgrades: Online - Always up to date, no revisions needed.For network and Intranet versions, most recent version may be downloaded, apparentlyat no additional cost.Training costs (initial or continuous): (none)COMMENTS: District pricing is also available, based on number of schools. Licences aretransferable - as one user finishes studies, the licence transfers to the next user. Thenumber of licences purchased need only be the maximum number of students that willuse it at any given point in time.RecommendationBriefly describe why you would/would not recommend this software:Upon determiniation that cost is competitive to similar products, I would recommend theonline and Intranet versions of this software. Progress monitoring is comprehensive andbranching allows for differentiation based on demonstrated skills. Preponderance of"Agree" and "Strongly Agree" scores reflect the overall strength of this typing program.Three areas marked "Disagree" for the PC/Windows version are rated higher ("Agree")for the online version. The remaining areas marked "Disagree" are as follows:1) Requires use of higher level thinking - drill and practice software goal is skilldevelopment and automaticity.2) Ancillary materials not available - Since this is a typing program, print materials arenot as appropriate as for other types of software.3) Pre-Assessment is not included (disagree) on Windows version but is included(agree) in the online version4) Lack of "Help" screens - software is intuitive and related information can be found inthe Users Manual.5) Accessibility features - Lack of ability to enlarge window for lessons makes thissoftware difficult or impossible to use by students with vision impairments. Tactilekeyboard and alternate instruction may be needed for those students.Evaluator: Susan Ferdon Date: October 15, 2010