Resource Material for the IT PGCE:
evaluating web resources

On this page your will find the tasks and resources for the 'evaluating web-resources' activity. The products of this session will be posted on the course web site. Note that the session has preliminary reading - the relevant DfEE Schemes of Work.

Learning objectives About this session Products of the session
At the Institute    
Task Timetable Links to other sessions
In the classroom    
Misconceptions Classroom examples Teaching point
Other Resources    
DfEE Schemes of work Software links and tutorials Books/Papers


Learning objectives

The learning objectives for this session are that by the end of it you should:

  1. be able to evaluate web-based teaching and learning resources;
  2. understand better the difference between lesson plans and lesson resources;
  3. be able to use at least one evaluation tool;
  4. know where you can find information for further study
  5. .

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About this session

In this session we start to address the strand of the IT National Curriculum concerned with reviewing and evaluating work. The focus taken for this session is on evaluation of the resources you found in a previous session, designed to aid the teaching and learning of the IT National Curriculum at Key Stage 3.

At the end of the session the reviews should be handed (as Word documents) to Tim Brosnan who will post them on the course web site.

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Products of the session

This is the index to the reviewed sites. Please note that this is outside the password-protected area of the site.

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At the Institute

The task

Your task is two-fold:

  1. to evaluate the resources you found to aid the teaching/learning of the IT National Curriculum in the finding Internet resources session;
  2. to reflect on the tools and criteria you have used for this evaluation.

Two tools are initially available to you. One is the set of questions developed by Rebecca Wilson of ICS which is downloadable as a Word document. The second is a more detailed set of questions which are based in part on the TEEM criteria.

Neither of these lists is IT-specific and you should think whether you could adapt the forms to make them more so.

Comparing your reviews with those of others can be a valuable exercise - you may think of criteria that had not previously occurred to you and/or change your relative valuation of different criteria. Some sites which contain relevant reviews are listed on the 'Other reviews of resources' page and you should have a look at some of these.

At the end of this session you should be prepared to discuss both your evaluations and how the evaluation forms might be adapted to make them more valuable in evaluating IT-specific sites. We will also discuss issues involved in developing this aspect of children's IT capability - for this a preliminary reading of the relevant DfEE SoW will be important.

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The timetable

9:30-10:00 Introduction to the task
10:00-12:00 Completing the task
12:00-1:00 Discussion of your reviews
1:00 Give electronic version of evaluations to Tim Brosnan

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Links to other sessions

This session links most directly to that on finding Internet resources, that in which you make and evaluate your own web-page and that in which you evaluate PowerPoint presentations.

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In the classroom


Two kinds of misconceptions are discussed here, but both have a common theme - that of confusing activity with learning - and both concern misconceptions held by (amongst others) the writers of web-based materials. The first relates to how interactivity with web-pages is judged, the second is the misconception held by a number of people who write educational resources (including those published on the Internet) concerning the nature of lesson plans.

Interactivity: this is regarded as a 'good thing' - but what does it mean? Some people judge the interactivity of a web page by the number of clicks ('interactions') that a person makes on it in a given time - more equaling good. But this misconception does not consider the type of interactivity that one should aim to encourage - or how one can know that it is happening. Think about the game 'Free Cell'. What does interactivity mean in this context? Imagine two pupils: one clicks away at the cards, randomly and quickly, while the other sits staring at the screen for a long time, mentally manipulating the cards to see which is the best move to make. Both are 'interacting' with the programme - but which is better? And how can you easily tell the difference between the latter pupil and one who is simply sitting, looking at the screen bored out of his/her mind? For the purposes of teaching and learning one wishes to encourage mental interactivity not (simply) physical interactivity - encourage 'minds on' not (just) 'hands on'.

Lesson plans: You may have come across many examples of 'lesson plans' that are not. You may find it useful to compare some of these plans with the criteria we have discussed. A number of teachers (and others) confuse lesson resources with lesson plans - and in particular they confuse planning for activity with planning for learning. Lessons are planned with the objective of pupils learning something - not with the objective of them just doing something. Again the point is 'minds on' not (just) 'hands on'. Of course your lessons will involve the pupils in activities - but the purpose of these is to aid (specified) learning - not to be an end in themselves. This distinction is discussed in greater length in the sessions devoted to lesson planning, but your experience of finding and evaluating lesson plans and resources should have given you a better understanding of it - and hence of the difference between a lesson resource and a lesson activity.

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Classroom examples

A teacher has posted to the Teacher Resource Exchange a link to some evaluation forms she has successfully used with Year 9.

The Teacher Resource Exchange is a useful source of lesson ideas. There is no control over what is published so a number of the ideas are pretty dire (some spectacularly so...) but nevertheless it contains numerous gems, and it is worth browsing it regularly since it now appears to be 'taking off' with regular additions. You might even consider posting something there yourself!

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Teaching point

You completed some of this activity in pairs. Working in pairs or larger groups often happens in IT lessons, either because the teacher believes group work is a good thing, or because of shortage of equipment. Two points about this:

First, how has the pair worked? Two possibilities are cooperatively and collaboratively. Working cooperatively, you would have divided the task between you and each taken part of it, so that, while working on your own, you cooperated to finish the task. Working collaboratively, you would have (at least) discussed your findings with each other and learnt from each other. Some tasks are better suited to cooperation (for example the finding of the resources) and others to collaboration (for example the deciding on an evaluation framework and then using this). The distinction between these two ways of working is important - and of course also has implications for your assessment of what individuals have learnt and done.

Second - how is credit amongst a pair/group to be allocated? How can you as a teacher find out about the attainment of each member of the pair or group? A number of you have had first-hand experience of this issue since some universities set tasks to groups of students and then give all the students in that group the same mark - so your degree classification may have depended on the work of others. We will consider this issue when we discuss your evaluations.

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Other Resources

The DfEE Schemes of Work

Before the session, you should look at the following units of the DfEE schemes of work:

Key Stage 3: unit 2 Information and presentation; unit 10 Information: reliability, validity and bias.

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See chapter 4 of 'Learning to Teach Using ICT in the Secondary School' edited by Marylin Leask and Norbert Pachler (Institute library reference Loyx Ref LEA), which discusses the use of the Internet as a teaching and learning tool, and chapter 5, which discusses the evaluation of multimedia products.

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This page is maintained by Tim Brosnan. Please send any comments to:
Last updated on 23rd June 2001.