Chicago’s Winning Reading Program

10/25/2013 5:00:00 PM

The Chicago Public Schools, “PLUS Tech,” Equals Win-Win

The Chicago Public School System (CPS) is reveling in the success of its innovative PLUS Tech program, created by Lisa E. Perez, library coordinator for the CPS Department of Educational Tools & Technology, to encourage and support media specialists in their quest for professional development. PLUS Tech, which is an acronym for “Personalized Libraries to Uplift Students,” helps librarians tailor learning opportunities to the individual student for a deeper connection with their specific educational needs. Building awareness of and training in existing digital resources that offer student customization was key.

“My challenge in developing the PLUS Tech program was to provide online technology training that is relevant and supports the delivery of quality library services,” says Perez. “By integrating gamification features—including a leaderboard, digital badging, and prizes—I was able to offer a program that is motivational, while providing additional tools and technology to impact schools’ library programs in the long term.”

Ten achievement modules were designated, with point totals corresponding to CCSS, and REACH alignment features. Media specialists could learn about the new programs, pick and choose which ones they felt would be most advantageous to the success of their programs (or work toward incentives for their libraries), complete the module by passing Challenge Activity quizzes after watching Screencast training videos, and earn both PD credits through CPDU and digital badges to demonstrate their mastery and dedication to furthering their tech ed goals.

Bringing in partners on the incentive side added to the program’s popularity. One partner, Capstone’s myON reader—an online literacy program that offers students access to over 4,000 digital books—provides a recommended booklist based on individual interests and reading levels by using a Lexile Framework for Reading.

Capstone myON offered the first 200 media specialists who completed four of the ten PLUS Tech Modules—which included BrainPop’s GameUp, Diigo, Google Drawing, Google Forms 1 and 2, Gooru Web Portal, National Archives “Digital Vaults,” the Screen Chomp iPad app, Storybird Digital Storytelling, and Using PowerPoint to Create eBooks—a one-year subscription for their library ($5,500), as well as training on how to best use it to benefit their students and seasonal student motivation programs. High school media specialists also earned a high school level Saddleback Book add-on application ($600).

“Reading because one has to or is told to does not have the same effect as a student reading because they enjoy it,” says Barbara Stewart, media specialist at CPS Florence Nightingale Elementary School.

Were the students as excited as their librarians (50 of whom earned “Surpasser Badges” with 80% or more of all potential PLUS Tech points)? More than 9,400 participating CPS students are actively reading, opening 227,061 books through myON since the end of March (combined together, nearly half of the students have spent more than 22,843 hours reading). The program is accessible on desktops, laptops, tablets, and devices–with offline downloads available through an app and a Lexile growth projection via MetaMetrics. Teachers and principals can access data to determine usage and Lexile movement, at an individual, class, school, or district level.

The Top 25 overall “PLUS Tech” CPS librarians were eligible to earn hardware prizes such as Nooks, iPad2s, document cameras, and multimedia projectors for their libraries, depending on the program benchmarks achieved. CPS also partnered with the popular educational game Web site BrainPOP, which donated a one-year premium subscription to the first 25 certified librarians who scored a perfect 100% on the BrainPOP module, exploring GameUP, which is a free education gaming portal.

“The PLUS Tech program was well received,” says Perez, who created the program at no additional cost to the district. “I look forward to offering another set of modules later this year.”

Want to read more stories like this?

Get our Free Newsletter Here!

Tweets
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

(www.acer.com) The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

(www.britannica.com) Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...

ClassFlow

(www.classflow.com) Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

(www.adobe.com) Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...

DeskBoard

(www.boxlight.com) The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

(www.edmentum.com) Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

(www.hmhco.com) HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...

LightSail

(www.lightsailed.com) LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...

myON

(www.myon.com) myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

(www.nervanix.com) Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...

MathBall

(www.robotslab.com) RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...

MobileAsset.EDU

(www.waspbarcode.com) Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

(www.opened.io) OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

(www.panasonic.com) Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

(www.penveu.com) The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...

PresentationPro

(www.califone.com) Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

(www.proquest.com) ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

(www.averusa.com) AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...

TabChargeCT2

(www.averusa.com) AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

(www.extron.com) The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

(www.smarttech.com) The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

(www.gaggle.net) The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

(www.waterford.org) Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

(www.netsupportschool.com) The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...

Camtasia

(www.techsmith.com/camtasia) TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

(www.panasonic.com) Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...

Boston