Program Areas | P-12 Education

Net Texts iPad Application Evaluation

In 2012, Net Texts, an innovative educational software company, contracted with Metis Associates to conduct a qualitative evaluation of their application. Net Texts is the developer of a software system to help teachers access and sort out the large volume of open-source educational content on the internet. Its aim is to enable students and teachers to make use of the rich educational resources that are available at no charge on the web and on a variety of digital devices, and to decrease the need for traditional textbooks and print materials. Teachers have the ability to use the Net Texts platform to design their own courses and share them with other educators.

To help Net Texts plan and roll out the next phases of its work, the company came to Metis to evaluate how the various aspects of its online product related to specific teaching and learning outcomes. To this end, Metis conducted a series of site visits, focus groups, and interviews, and conducted surveys of 545 students, 293 parents, and 48 teachers to assess the implementation of the Net Texts application in seventh and eighth grade classrooms in six parochial schools, and in sixth grade classrooms in two of the schools. Metis researchers documented the ways in which the system had impacted teaching practices in the classroom, the types of work students completed in school and at home using this application, and the perceived impacts on students. It also assessed teachers’ and students’ impressions and attitudes toward using the system.

The evaluation found that students had used Net Texts for a wide range of educational purposes, such as to take English language arts tutorials, watch science videos, access primary source materials for social studies, and compare orchestra performances. Net Texts had enabled the middle school teachers to supplement (or replace) textbooks with timely information on the subjects at hand, allowing teachers to cover more material, help students answer some of their own questions at home, and literally lighten students’ loads by emptying heavy backpacks of books.