Welcome to All Parents and K-12 Teachers to the element14 RoadTest Program!

 

The element14 RoadTest & Reviews program has traditionally been an engineering-product program where free products are given to element14.com community members in exchange for a detailed review or project that incorporates the product. But over the past year (2018), we have expanded the program to include more STEM products that could be used in the classroom by K-12 teachers, or in the home where parents and their budding young technologists can have some fun and learn something too.

 

We have invited Parents and K-12 teachers to enroll in our STEM-product RoadTests. All they needed to do was click the ENROLL put on the RoadTest landing page, fill in their contact information, and answer the questions. At the end of the enrollment period, I'll collect all the applications and choose the applicants who will be the official RoadTesters. Then, I'll send you the product (we pay for parts and shipping). All you need to do is open the box, then experiment to your heart's content. We give you 60 days to complete the testing. Then, we require you to submit a written review on a RoadTest review form, which you can locate here: How To Locate the Official RoadTest Review Form

 

But I have observed a lot of different kinds of reviews by our Parent/K-12 Teachers: some are short, some are long, and some others tell me they are unsure what to write. That's why I have written this guide. I want to help our Parent and K-12 Teacher roadtesters, who may also be new to the element14 community, better understand what we are looking for in a RoadTest review. So, here goes.

 

What is a RoadTest Review?

Most people have reviewed something in their lives. You know the type: a little box with 100 characters to fill in some comments or a row of five stars to rate the product. I've done it myself recently when I purchased some household items online. These types of customer reviews are a good way to get quick and instant feedback on a purchased product and/or service. An element14 RoadTest review includes this type of customer feedback; however, our definition of a "review" is much more expansive. A customer feedback review is a summary of conclusions about a product and/or service: good, bad, indifferent, etc. But an element14 RoadTest review is best charactized as sharing your experience of a product to inform, communicate and teach our members about the product. Let me talk about that a bit more.

 

RoadTest Reviews: Sharing the Product Experience

While offering your feedback or conclusions about a product is important, what is much more important to element is your sharing with our members/readers how you experienced, experimented, played, and learned about the product. We want to be able to see, hear, or feel what you did with the product you are reviewing. It is your ability to share with us the product experience that we then can learn about the product and get inside tips about the product or even learn where to find answers about the product. In some respects, a roadtest review is a tutorial or a lab about the product. Sharing your product experience is the difference between a great review and a review that only gives a brief conclusion (e.g., I liked it, I didn't like it, etc.).

 

How Do You Share Your Product Experience With Your Readers

Most roadtest reviews begin with an unboxing. You should show us images or video of you actually opening up the box and showing us what was in it. Then, review the documents. If a manual is included, tell us. If there is a brief "getting Started Guide," show it in your images and/or video. We want to see it as if we are sitting at the table with you. Next, start going through the parts. Tell us about them. Tell us what your children or students think about the parts. We want to feel they are involved. If they are, your readers will be too. Next, start playing and experimenting. Build something with it. Show us pictures or videos of the different stages of your project. If your project involves collecting data, make sure to put a table of the data and include a graph of the data, when appropriate. If the project includes computer coding, take a screenshot of the code and paste it into the review. This is key: coding is perhaps the most challenging part of doing any electronics products today. Seeing the code is a real learning experience. At the end of all these things, give your final word: write a short conclusion. Say what you feel.

 

Examples of RoadTest Reviews

I looked up roadtest reviews of some parents/teachers, and I found the following to be excellent examples of the type of reviews we would like to see from STEM products:

 

https://www.element14.com/community/roadTestReviews/2742/l/pi-top-a-raspberry-pi-laptop-review

The above review was written by one of our Top Members. He has an 8-year old daughter whom I believe was helping him with the review. See how visual and fun the review is? That's what we strive for on element14 RoadTest Reviews.

 

https://www.element14.com/community/roadTestReviews/2673/l/graspio-cloudio-raspberry-pi-3-review

Now, this review wasn't necessarily a STEM product, but it is a simple enough product for a middle school or a teenager. Look how the reviewer walks the reader though each step of the way. So, the reader is learning while reading. And her conclusion is simple, short and to the point. All in all, it is a very satisfying product review experience

 

I hope this guide helps you understand our review writing process better. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or message me at rscasny

 

Randall Scasny

RoadTest Program Manager