September 1, 2002
The Intel Innovation in Education Web site aims to provide educational resources to teachers, professional development specialists and instructional technologists. Although these resources pertain to a wide array of disciplines and grade levels, the online tools seek to emphasize technology integration in science and math in middle and high school classrooms. In addition to seeking to build a community of users among K- 12 practitioners generally, the online materials also support Intel Teach to the Future, Intel Computer Clubhouse Network and other Intel-sponsored education programs.
To understand better the reach and effectiveness of the Innovation in Education web site and educators' expectations and use of individual resources available at the site, Intel commissioned the Education Development Center's Center for Children and Technology (CCT) to conduct an evaluation. This report reviews findings of the evaluation from October 2000 through August 2002.
The overarching goal of this evaluation is to understand the fit between the Intel Innovation in Education online resources and the needs and expectations of its users. We focused on two of the Intel Education staff's three objectives for the site: 1) Extending the reach and impact of Intel Innovation in Education programs, and 2) developing and re-purposing content and services to support effective methods for teaching and learning with technologies.
To assess how well the site meets these objectives, and to help guide improvements to the site, we focused on a number of evaluation questions, which are listed below. Because the site experienced content updates, reorganization and a redesign during the evaluation, we posed these questions over time and at distinct points within the site's refinement process. We asked the following:
- Who is finding specific resources at the site, why are they seeking these resources out, and how do they respond to them? Are specific resources being explored at the site by the audiences they are intended for? If other audiences are exploring these resources, who are they and what are their interests in the materials?
- Do educators who visit the site use specific site resources for use with students and/or colleagues, and do they find them useful in their teaching? Once educators review materials at the site, how do they use them in their teaching? How do they perceive these materials to be useful to them, and what factors (including site design issues, resource content issues, and classroomlevel logistical issues) are impeding more extensive use of these resources?
- Are participants in other Innovation in Education programs making use of the resources at the site? If so, how do they report using the resources, and how useful do they feel the resources have been in their teaching?
- Do educators responsible for technology-related professional development at the district level find resources from the site to be worthwhile additions to their work with teachers, if so, which ones? Do professional developers who are invited to explore these resources find them to be potentially useful tools for meeting their district's goals for improving technology use in their district? Over time, do these professional developers incorporate these resources into their professional development work?
To begin answering these questions, CCT researchers used multiple data collection instruments during a number of discrete time periods. The findings in this report are based on a series of face-toface and telephone interviews and Web-based surveys.
At the Intel Education staff's request, we focused our evaluation on the general appeal that the Intel Innovation in Education site has to educators, and targeted the sections of the site that fall under the heading, "Learning Projects." They are:
- It's a Wild Ride an interdisciplinary, technology-rich project that is a model for professional development;
- Seeing Reason, a visual mapping tool and online workspace that supports students' investigations of cause and effect relationships and complex systems;
- Units Projects and Plans, an electronic storehouse of unit plans and individual lessons; and
- An Innovation Odyssey, a series of articles each of which features technology integration.
We have not collected data on the remaining site sections under the headings "Professional Development," "Science and Math," "Learning Anytime" and "Learning about Technology."
In the attached report, we describe our top level evaluation findings in both summary and detail form. We also discuss the Web site's teacher and curriculum specialist focus, additions/enhancements to the site over the evaluation period, and how it compares with other education Web sites.