Awards of Excellence Frequently Asked Questions

1/14/2014 12:00:00 AM

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Awards of Excellence. These have been updated for the 2014 program. Please read through each question and answer before submitting an entry. If you still have questions, please email Jared Stearns at AOE@nbmedia.com. Good luck!

 
What is the Awards of Excellence program?
The Awards of Excellence program has been recognizing outstanding ed tech products for nearly three decades. With a solid reputation in the industry as a long-standing, high-quality program, the Awards of Excellence program recognizes both "best of breed" and creative new offerings that help educators in the business of teaching, training and managing with technology. To see a list of 2013's winners, Click here .
 
Who can enter?
Any company that has released new and/or upgraded education software, hardware, web-based, and/or network/server- based technology products between January 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014 may enter.
 
Why should I enter?
Who doesn't like to win contests?! Especially for something like your product that likely had hours poured into its creation by some very brilliant minds.  But seriously, the Awards of Excellence program has been around for over three decades. There's a reason for that: people trust this program. They trust Tech & Learning. The companies entering trust that their products will be evaluated thoroughly, our judges trust that they'll be looking at some of the best products on the market, and our readers trust that those products selected as winners are the best of their kind.
 
What are the categories?
There are two categories:
• New Products: products that are brand new to the market and have a release/copyright date of January 1, 2013 - May 31, 2014
• Best Upgraded Products: previously-released products that have been significantly updated/revised between January 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014. Companies are required to provide a list of the changes/revisions made to the product.
 
May I enter more than one product?
Absolutely! There is no limit to the amount of products a company can enter.
 
How are the products evaluated? What are the judging criteria?
Products are evaluated by at least two judges in four different areas:
Quality and effectiveness: the scope, accuracy, and effectiveness of this product for classroom and/or school use.
Ease of use: ease of navigation, loading and operation of software, instructions and support materials.
Creative use of technology: the use of the unique capabilities of the computer, e.g., graphics, Internet, innovative approaches to information management, etc.
Suitability for use in a school environment: the program’s/product’s appropriateness for use in a school/district setting, and whether it can be smoothly integrated into the existing curriculum or school environment.
 
The products are given a score of 1-5 in each of these areas (5 being the highest). The products are also given an overall rating by the judges. The scores are tallied and those products with the highest scores win.
 
Will scores be released when the contest is over?
Tech & Learning has a policy of not releasing the scores once the program has ended.
 
May we provide a phone or in-person demo on the product?
We share your enthusiasm for your products and understand that many are intricate and expansive, and offer numerous features to the end user. Similarly, we understand that some hardware requires assembly. T&L Awards of Excellence educator judges are experts in their respective fields, and have worked extensively with various software, web- based, hardware, and network/server-based products. To that end, we do not allow on-site or online demos of your products during evaluation. Our judges will spend time evaluating your product thoroughly, and if they deem that a demo is absolutely necessary, they will contact you to set one up.
 
What if there is a problem with the product?
It is your responsibility to ensure that the product is working correctly BEFORE it is submitted. This includes all components of hardware, software, network/server-based products, and web sites. Similarly, if you are providing usernames and passwords for your product, it is your responsibility to ensure that they are active through October 31, 2014. Judges will not contact you if your usernames and passwords are invalid at the time of evaluation. If your product is not accessible and able to be tested between the date you submit the product and October 31, 2014, you will be disqualified and the entry fee will be forfeited. If your system does not allow for an extended period of activated accounts, please contact Jared Stearns. Please provide a minimum of two usernames and passwords. We cannot guarantee when your product will be tested as judging is a lengthy process that may require more than one evaluation at any given time. Therefore, your product should be able to be fully operated between the time we receive the product and October 31, 2014. If it is not, the product will be disqualified and the entry fee forfeited.
 
My product is still in demo/beta format and isn't officially on the market. May I still enter?
Yes, you may, however, products will be judged solely on their merits in the format in which they're entered.
 
How much does it cost to enter?
• Single software or web-based product: $450
• Software suite or series: $900
• Single hardware or network/server-based product: $500
• Hardware suite: $1,000
• Combo software, hardware and/or network product: $900
 
How do I pay? And when is payment due?
Click here to pay by credit card. Details are found in the online application. Your credit card confirmation will contain a submission ID number for this product entry. Please keep this number handy. You will need it for follow-up correspondence and/or shipment information.
 
What is the final deadline to submit?
May 1, 2014
 
What do I get if I win?
All winning products, whether new or updated, will be featured in the December Awards issue of Tech & Learning, and also on TechLearning.com.
 
Will the product(s) be returned to me after the program is complete?
Products will not be returned unless specified by the company at the time of entry. Companies that require that materials to be returned will coordinate with editors and judges on return shipping procedures. Return postage must be provided. Please read the Official Rules & Regulations  for more information.
 
Where do I mail everything?
All companies needing to ship products must fill out a Shipment form
 
If you still have questions, please email Jared Stearns.
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