Why assess instructional technology?
It is common for educators to introduce new technology into instructional settings assuming that it has positive impacts on teaching and learning. However, without assessing, it is impossible to understand if, how and to what extent the technology helps instructors and learners. This is because the degree of impact is determined by how the technology is integrated in the instructional settings. Our knowledge of the extent that the technology improves teaching/learning is only as good as the questions we ask, the data we collect, and analysis we perform.
Benefits of assessment
The assessment of instructional technology offers several practical benefits, all of which support continual improvement of teaching and learning:
- Clarifies what you want to achieve by introducing the new technology.
- Provides information on what works well and challenges.
- Identifies problems early so that they can be corrected or minimized.
- Helps tailor the use of technology to foster students’ learning.
- Informs future decisions for technology introduction.
- Provides information about students/users’ reactions toward the technology.
- Guides future evaluation efforts by clarifying what additional information is needed.
Assessing instructional technology is particularly important considering its purchases and technical support costs.