“The Becker Ed Tech Test”: Part 1

Approximate Reading Time: 4 minutes

885811_bc94_1024x2000This is the first part of my response to the Audrey Test (see my previous post).

I’m calling it the Becker Ed Tech Test (BETT) because I already have the Becker Lazy Test (BLT), which is something I developed some years ago as part of my 4-PEG game assessment.

Like Audrey’s Test, mine is longer than the Joel Test. Note also that this is obviously not a comprehensive list, and being able to answer all of these questions can’t guarantee that you are a well-rounded educational technologist.

It’s a pretty good start though.

So, can YOU pass the BETT?

Today’s installment includes the more general questions. If you can’t answer these, chances are pretty good you won’t be able to answer tomorrow’s questions either,and it might be a really good idea to consider taking some additional education.

It’s a pretty good start though.

Yes or No Questions

  1. Do you have a digital presence – including a personal website that is up to date?
  2. Do you work closely with your tech team?
  3. Do you treat the IT personnel as fellow professionals or do you secretly view them as “the enemy”?
  4. How often do you update your courses to incorporate newer technologies? (And here, I’m not simply talking about adding some readings and an assignment.)
  5. How often do YOU actually use the technologies outside of the classroom? In other words do you actually use them to accomplish some work or do you simply learn enough about them to use them in assignments or as topics of discussion? For example, if you require your students to create eportfolios, do you have one? Is it current?
  6. Can you produce various documents (text, spreadsheet, presentations, etc.) using at least 3 different tools for each?
  7. Do you have the ability to work on all four of the common operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux/Unix, Android)?
  8. Are your digital learning interventions available across platforms? (and have you tested them from the perspective of a student?)
  9. Are you meticulous about citing the sources of all images, quotes, audio, video, etc. that you use in your learning designs? Do you seek explicit permission to use assets that are not expressly copyright free?
  10. Can you install and administer a course management system such as Moodle, including the creation of courses from scratch?
  11. Can you create a course website outside of a course management system?
  12. Do you routinely create websites to go with your courses or do you simply add assignments, announcements, and a discussion list to your institution’s course management system?


  1. Name at least two famous educational technologists who studied artificial intelligence before they became educationalists.
  2. What is the Clark-Kozma Debate and how does it impact the field of EdTech?
  3. Why did the Edutainment Era fail?
  4. What was the primary driver of personal computer hardware development?
  5. When did we enter the “Internet Age”?

We don’t have theories of learning here (as Audrey does), and I’m not going to require that Edies know how to prove programs (which is one aspect of computer theory), but there are a few things that I have come to realize are fundamental to an understanding of technology. I’m putting a few of these under “theory”.


  1. What is the purpose of technology? (This is one Audrey asked too, but it works equally well for both sides).
  2. Who was Claude Shannon and how are his developments relevant to today?
  3. What is Game Theory and how does it relate to education?
  4. Why do we not yet have a computer that responds to natural language (I’m not talking about the kind of speech recognition that involves one or two word commands.)
  5. It’s been said that if you can’t describe it numerically then you won’t be able to get a computer to solve it. Why?


  1. What are the key considerations when assessing a computer game or some other digital object for classroom use?
  2. What is gamification?
  3. Identify at least 4 different motivators in games and indicate whether they are intrinsic or extrinsic.
  4. What is the Decorative Media Trap?
  5. How does the notion of productive failure relate to learning and games?
  6. What are advantages / disadvantages to allowing the use of mobile devices during class?

Policies and Other Legalities

  1. What are the implications of using an online space with servers in your own country? In another country?
  2. How do you credit colleagues whose course designs of content you use in your own courses?
  3. Discuss the various advantages and disadvantages of storing data on the “cloud”.
  4. Name and describe the differences between at least 3 of the Creative Commons licenses. What are you buying when you buy a software application?
  5. Name three ways in which student data and communications are insecure in most institutional environments? (hints: Who has access? How is it transmitted on campus? How is it accessed by students and faculty off-campus?)

This is the reflective self-examination part. If your only experience with computer types has been limited to the IT guys in your department or school, you are not getting the full picture. These guys may not be able to help you with anything – and though I’ve met a few who were very competent and willing, I’ve met far more who are primarily interested in keeping their own jobs simple. If you don’t know how to program yourself, then you will be forced to rely on what the tech guys tell you. It may not be accurate, but you’ll never know.

  1. What are your own experiences with computing?
  2. With programming?
  3. With computer scientists?
  4. How do these experiences shape how you approach teaching, learning, schooling and un-schooling?
  5. How often have you worked with professional software developers?
  6. Do you believe that your knowledge of education and technology gives you sufficient background to effectively design digital media?

Tune in to tomorrow’s post to see part 2.


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“The Becker Ed Tech Test”: Part 1 — 2 Comments

  1. Pingback: “The Becker Ed Tech Test”: The Other Side of the “The Audrey Test” Coin. (Part 0) | The Becker Blog

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