FAQ

SpotOn™ and Our Website

What is SpotOn? 
SpotOn is a web database featuring reviews and product information for digital classroom resources.

Who created SpotOn?

SpotOn is an initiative of the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. The project began as an extension of an Ohio Straight A funded grant, in collaboration with school districts in central Ohio, and for a brief period operated as a commercial venture. SpotOn is now managed as part of the Research Laboratory for Digital Learning.

What does "Powered by The Ohio State University" mean? How is Ohio State involved? 
SpotOn is a startup initiative funded by the Office of Academic Affairs and the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University (OSU). OSU has provided academic leadership and research support to create and develop SpotOn.

Does SpotOn cost anything to use?
SpotOn is free for educators to research and discover digital classroom resources.

Who is the audience for SpotOn?
The primary audience for SpotOn is PreK-12 decision makers in the United States, including curriculum directors and classroom teachers. Our reviews are valuable to anyone selecting EdTech resources for a learner, including parents and homeschoolers.

Can I purchase products from SpotOn? Do I get a discount if I buy through you?
We have no purchasing relationship with EdTech companies or content developers, so there is no discount for purchasing through SpotOn.

Why does the SpotOn banner say "Beta" on it? 
The College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University has initiated a national research study to validate the findings that helped shape our reviews. The 'Beta' banner will be removed once the results of the research study are returned.

Will you be adding additional reviews or features?
The initial review phase for SpotOn has ended. Additional reviews of digital resources will be added intermittently, as new projects are implemented.  What makes SpotOn different from other EdTech review sites?
SpotOn is academically grounded, built by educators at The Ohio State University and based on academically validated research.

What makes SpotOn different from other EdTech review sites?
SpotOn is academically grounded, built by educators at The Ohio State University and based on academically validated research.

What is SpotOn? 
SpotOn is a web database featuring reviews and product information for digital classroom resources.

Who created SpotOn?

SpotOn is an initiative of the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. The project began as an extension of an Ohio Straight A funded grant, in collaboration with school districts in central Ohio, and for a brief period operated as a commercial venture. SpotOn is now managed as part of the Research Laboratory for Digital Learning.

What does "Powered by The Ohio State University" mean? How is Ohio State involved? 
SpotOn is a startup initiative funded by the Office of Academic Affairs and the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University (OSU). OSU has provided academic leadership and research support to create and develop SpotOn.

Does SpotOn cost anything to use?
SpotOn is free for educators to research and discover digital classroom resources.

Who is the audience for SpotOn?
The primary audience for SpotOn is PreK-12 decision makers in the United States, including curriculum directors and classroom teachers. Our reviews are valuable to anyone selecting EdTech resources for a learner, including parents and homeschoolers.

Can I purchase products from SpotOn? Do I get a discount if I buy through you?
We have no purchasing relationship with EdTech companies or content developers, so there is no discount for purchasing through SpotOn.

Why does the SpotOn banner say "Beta" on it? 
The College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University has initiated a national research study to validate the findings that helped shape our reviews. The 'Beta' banner will be removed once the results of the research study are returned.

Will you be adding additional reviews or features?
The initial review phase for SpotOn has ended. Additional reviews of digital resources will be added intermittently, as new projects are implemented.  What makes SpotOn different from other EdTech review sites?
SpotOn is academically grounded, built by educators at The Ohio State University and based on academically validated research.

What makes SpotOn different from other EdTech review sites?
SpotOn is academically grounded, built by educators at The Ohio State University and based on academically validated research.

Our Reviews

How can I trust your review is not biased? 
Our reviewers are licensed teachers, specially trained to evaluate digital classroom resources based on our academically validated rubric which provides an objective framework. Every SpotOn review passes through a multi-stage process that ensures consistency and reliability. From product relations to school outreach, our processes are designed to ensure our relationships with our educator-reviewers and content developers stay open, honest, and fair.

Against which state's standards do you review? 
In each review, you will see a map showing the states whose standards were used in the alignment portion of the review.

My state is not represented in the standards map. What do I do? 
Please contact our Director of Professional Learning and Editorial Services to discuss opportunities representing your state if it is not currently represented.

What criteria do you review against when using the evaluation rubric? 
With experts from the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University, SpotOn has developed its own rubric for evaluating digital classroom content. For more information about our rubric, please see How We Rate.

Do publishers influence the composition of reviews?
No, our editorial process is kept separate from our publisher relations so as to avoid jeopardizing our editorial independence.

Who produced the SpotOn reviews?
SpotOn reviews were completed by highly-qualified, certified teachers under the guidance of subject matter experts. All reviewers completed professional development and review training sessions, conducted by staff at The Ohio State University, prior to completing their reviews.

What is included in each SpotOn full-course review?
Our teacher-written reviews include numerical scores for 21 evaluation criteria that are rolled up into four topic-based "dimension" scores, and into an overall SpotOn score. In addition, they include written commentary for each dimension (Content Quality, Pedagogy, Use of Technology, and Alignment to Standards), as well as a summary and a high-level list of strengths and weaknesses about each resource. SpotOn reviews also include publisher-supplied product information about what the resource includes in terms of features, support, or intended use.

I'm looking at the criteria scores and dimension scores–why don't the criteria scores average exactly into the dimension scores?
Our SpotOn score is an average of our dimension scores, but we weighted each criteria based on feedback from administrators and teachers. For more information, please see How We Rate.

Our Reviewers

How do you select who becomes a Digital Review Specialist for SpotOn? 
We seek the highest-quality educators to become SpotOn Digital Review Specialists. Those who are accepted to become a Digital Review Specialist are thought leaders in their field and meet our eligibility requirements in order to apply. Preference is given to teachers who actively hold a position in a school and have a minimum of five years teaching experience. Most of our reviewers hold advanced education degrees and are highly recommended among their peers and in the community. All potential reviewers must satisfactorily complete the training process in order for them to advance on to becoming a Digital Review Specialist.

How do I become a SpotOn Digital Review Specialist?
If you are interested in becoming a reviewer, please contact our Director of Professional Learning and Editorial Services for more information or to gain access to the online application. If selected, the Professional Learning team will communicate synchronous and asynchronous training offerings.

Who are SpotOn reviewers?
SpotOn Digital Review Specialists are highly qualified certified teachers in the areas in which they review. They all have undergone training, conducted by staff at The Ohio State University, prior to completing their reviews.

Were reviewers paid?
Yes, teachers are compensated for completed and approved reviews.

What kind of training do teachers receive to become Digital Review Specialists?
Each prospective reviewer must complete reviewer training, which focuses on the SpotOn rubric and undertake at least two trial reviews before being fully accepted as a Digital Review Specialist.

Our Work with EdTech Companies and Products

Is SpotOn affiliated with EdTech companies or outside vendors?
No, SpotOn is not owned by, managed by, or affiliated with any digital content publishers or vendors.

How were products selected for review?
The initial set of products was selected based on requests from partner districts. Using their grade level and subject area priorities as guidelines, we contacted publishers to gain access to content. Additional reviews were completed with input from other PreK-12 educators.

Can I suggest a product to review?
Absolutely! Please contact our Director of Professional Learning and Editorial Services.

What types of products does SpotOn review?
The SpotOn database contains reviews of core courses in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies, as well as games, apps, learning objects, lessons, and units—all in a variety of content areas.

What does it mean if I can’t find the product I am looking for?
We may not have reviewed the product yet, but we are always reviewing. If there is a product you would like to see, let us know.

There is an error in your review. How can I get it corrected? 
If you identify any factual errors or if critical information is missing on any products, please let us know and we will respond promptly. We are glad to answer any questions.