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Assess technology

Types of observation

Check lists

Check lists are primarily descriptive and indicate the presence or absence of a behavior. They provide basic information on a wide range of behavior and characteristics. Checklists are most appropriate for answering yes/no items or for documenting a large number of behaviors in a short period of time.

Example

The technology worked properly throughout the entire lesson/lecture.

___Yes
___No

Scaled ratings

Scaled ratings are more precise measures that indicate the degree to which a characteristic or behavior is present or true. The most commonly used scales have five points with a mid-point that indicates neutrality or "average."  [more]

Example

The sound quality of the podcast was clear and understandable

Very poor Weak Average Good Excellent
1 2 3 4 5

Interval observations

Interval observations record the frequency of a behavior or characteristic. An observer docuents what is taking place in the classroom or instructional technology at regularly timed intervals (e.g., every five minutes). Behaviors are documented using a checklist or a scaled rating system.

Example

Students using Inspiration software for a writing course

Time
Majority of students 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50
Engaged with technology
Passive with technology
Displaying confusion
Arriving at conclusions
Learning from mistakes

Narrative comments

Narrative comments or notes are part of observations. Observation forms may include space after each item for the observer to explain the rating or there may be space at the end of the form for general comments. Observers may record additional comments/notes immediately following the observation to supplement be taken during class.

Example

9:00 a.m.
Dr. Paderas begins class by introducing Second Life, a virtual world technology program that her students will use throughout the semester.   She asks if anyone has ever used the program before whether for a class or outside of class.  One student raises his hand and when asked from Dr. Paderas, “What was your experience like,” the student responded with enthusiasm and delight.   Dr. Paderas then presents a tutorial of the virtual world program and explains some of its capabilities.  Then, she continues to describe how Second Life will be used in her class by explaining the key benefits, which were….   

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
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