November 1, 2002
This paper offers a perspective on evaluation of educational technology that emphasizes the importance of locally valid and locally useful research designs.
This perspective grows out of our organization's twenty years' worth of experiences investigating how technologies are integrated into educational environments. This evaluation perspective focuses on understanding how schools, school districts, and state and national educational authorities move through the process of investing in and implementing educational technologies. We argue that effective evaluation must produce both research-based knowledge of what technological applications can work best in educational environments, and practice-based knowledge of how the technology integration process can best be designed to meet locally defined learning goals in schools. We also outline how a network of intermediary organizations could work to review, synthesize and generalize from locally-generated evaluation studies, producing broad-based findings that could guide large-scale policymaking.