The Direct Network

Researching Digital Content

Posted by Carrie Watkins on Feb 15, 2015 10:00:00 PM
Topics: digital content, mbs direct, K-12

As students have more access to technology in the classroom, there is more opportunity for faculty members to use content that takes advantage of those technologies. While MBS Direct is your partner in finding and understanding your content options, many teachers are already researching new titles. To make sure there are no surprises when it comes to using digital content, here are some questions to help you make the best decisions for you and your classroom.

Researching digital content

Where is the content located, and how will your students access it?

You know better than anyone else whether your WiFi can handle all your students accessing online content at the same time. If there needs to be an offline option, now is the time to make sure it has it.

Will students need to log in each time they access it?

For older students, it may not be an issue, especially if they can use a standard password. But for younger students, adding one more hurdle to access means more work for the teacher before the learning can actually begin.

What is the student experience?

It won't matter how great the video is if the site is so poorly organized that students can't find it. Be sure to look at content from the students' perspective when making decisions. You as the faculty member will be the first one students come to with questions.

What is the faculty experience?

Some online materials require faculty members to set up the class before anyone can access it. That might be a lot to ask a teacher who is getting ready for the school year. Also, does the material have any kind of analytics to show student progress?

How is the support?

Who do you talk to when things aren't working the way they should? Who do your students talk to when they have an issue? Is there an FAQ or help site easily accessible within the material?

How much does it cost?

Be sure to ask what is included in that price. Are there any supplemental materials that would be good to have but cost extra? Also check to see if there is a way for students to pay for the material individually or if it needs to be done at the institution level.

How do they handle samples and teacher's materials?

Faculty need to review the material well in advance of when students need to access it. Is there a way for teachers to have review access prior to adopting? Be aware of "freemium" options where the full suite of resources is not available with free access.

There are a lot of great content options out there for faculty. If you have a teacher who finds a new option, especially if it is publisher-created, let us know as soon as possible so we can make sure it's in our system and let you know if we've had any other schools use it as well.

About Carrie Watkins

Carrie is a former digital consultant for MBS Direct, who specialized in traveling around the country to learn about new products and services MBS Direct can provide to partner schools and bringing those ideas back into the office to work on with the digital solutions team.

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