Thursday, May 26, 2016

Communication Tool Rubric

Update (6/5/16):  Kristen and I added one more category onto our original rubric, an oversight on our part.  Under "User Safety and Privacy," we added "Appropriate Content" as a criteria.  After all, why use an app if it has inappropriate content, or allows students to access it elsewhere?

Kristen Cosgrove and I partnered up on this assignment, with the goal of creating an evaluation tool for examining communication tools for the classroom.  As we discovered, there are lots of factors in choosing the ideal tool, both from the teacher perspective and the IT perspective.  We tried to limit the number of categories as best as we could, but we still ended up with 11 different areas to assess these tools.  Among them emerged a number of themes, however, that allowed us to sub-categorize them under five main categories.  So, in order to get an endorsement from us as a tool for use in the classroom, a tool needs to be:
  • Low-cost or free, easy to setup, and free of third-party advertising;
  • Cognizant and protective of users' safety and personal information;
  • Easy for teachers to use;
  • Easy for students to use, and;
  • Accessible to all
Embedded below is the rubric that we came up with.  We used a single-point rubric on a 1-3 scale.  I believe very strongly that what's most important in establishing a rubric is the minimum floor at which something is considered to be meeting the standards.  I don't think the distinction between not meeting or partially meeting is particularly useful in this instance.  The work or tool being evaluated either meets the standards, exceeds the standards, or doesn't meet them at all.  Ideally, a tool ripe for use in the classroom will achieve a "Meets" in as many categories as possible.  Not meeting certain expectations, especially around safety and privacy, should raise immediate red flags for use in the classroom.


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