Third in a series. Tech & Learning follows Illinois's Oak Lawn-Hometown District 123 through the school year as they implement Learning.com's STEM curriculum in conjunction with the district's new 1:1 computing initiative. Read Part Two here and Part One here.
This is one in a series of blog posts about our year-long pilot with the STEM Web site from learning.com. The site allows teachers to assign math, science, and technology lessons or units to individual students, whole class, or specified groups. Units are leveled by grades 3-5 and contain interactive introductions, activities, games, quizzes, and journals.
Ability to Differentiate
Our teachers are able to differentiate groups and assign individual lessons to meet student needs. They feel this site helps reinforce concepts and allows students to advocate for their own learning. For example, one student was assigned a more challenging lesson to work through and failed the quiz. She went over to her to teacher to reassure her that she would watch the videos and lessons and retake the quiz until she understood. Ownership over learning is always one of our goals and we’re appreciative of sites that design this to take place.
One Gap: Testing Accommodations
When we began to implement the Web site with our resource students, we noticed a gap: audio recording of quiz questions. Many of our teachers were using learning.com to aid in preparing their students for our recent standardized tests. The videos were excellent, but when the students made it to the quiz, they could not read the questions on their own. Even though they understood the concepts, every other part of the Web site reads the directions to the student except for the quiz and journal portion. We discovered that our students knew what the symbols meant, but were failing the quizzes because they couldn’t read the words. I’ve already given this feedback to our learning.com contact and am excited to see changes to this feature.
Our teachers and students can’t get enough of the Web site and only ask me if more units will be available soon. They find students to be engaged in the program and kids love that their teachers can see how many points they are achieving in the games. Overall, we are pleased with the site and excited to see how we can use it to better meet the various needs of our students.
Peg Keiner is an instructional technology coach for Oak Lawn-Hometown District 123.