Long Review: Lightspeed’s My Big Campus and learning.com’s STEM curriculum
The Long Review: Learning.com
Tech & Learning follows Illinois’s Oak Lawn-Hometown
District 123 as they implement learning.com’s STEM
curriculum in conjunction with the district’s new 1:1
This is the first in a series of posts about our year-long pilot
with the STEM Web-based curriculum 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.
Rollout: As teachers prepared for rollout day, they explored the
curriculum and chose general math topics that all of the students need
to review. I visited with each of the classrooms to assist in explaining
parts of the site to the students. Students had no problem using
their Google Apps names and passwords to log in to their new
I was concerned about
our bandwidth limits and
wondering if our network could support the use of the site when
multiple classrooms per school were utilizing it. I am happy to say
our network has held up well even with the rigorous use of the site.
We have had no problems with slowness or use of the Flash portions
of the site.
Immediate Feedback: Teachers loved that the quiz grades were
immediately updated in real time in their online grade book. Students
appreciated the feedback after every question and knowing their final
percentage when they finished. Since the quizzes focus on one skill
in various problem styles, students are able to keep working towards
After the quizzes were submitted, we discussed what questions
students got wrong and reviewed those specific skills. The students
were very open about expressing which questions they struggled on
and some wanted to take the quiz again. In the future, I would like to
see a more in-depth breakdown of the pattern of incorrect answers
and maybe suggesting the
student go revisit a certain
thumbnail in the introduction.
Teachers and students enjoyed the game portion of each unit of
study. Even the storylines of the games are academic and prepared
the students for problem solving. Each game offers three levels of
complexity and teachers can see the amount of points students have
earned in each game. We used this data as another formative clue to
see what group of students needed more support.
Differentiation and the Next Step: Next, our teachers will be using
the site to differentiate math groups and add their own exit slips as
journal assessments. They will begin using a science portion as well,
but some of the units in the Foss portion are not completed so they
will supplement with another curriculum piece on the site.
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.
The Long Review: My Big Campus
David Andrade tests Lightspeed’s My Big Campus. Read more
about his experience each month at techlearning.com.
My Big Campus, from Lightspeed Systems, is an online
service that allows schools to create
an engaging, collaborative online
environment. The standalone version of
My Big Campus is free and chock-full of
some great features. You can also purchase
My Big Campus with a Collaborative Web Filter.
There are some really great features about My Big Campus that
make it an extremely useful tool. “Bob Campus” is a help “person”
that lets users post questions to his “wall,” and then “Bob” will reply
with an answer. Users can also scan the wall to look for other people’s
questions and answers. “Bob” also has a blog that has some great tips
and ideas for using My Big Campus.
The Students love using it. Features like blogs, pages, document
sharing, wall posts, and more are familiar and powerful. They work
similar to other social media and class management systems, are easy
to use, and are powerful learning tools.
My Big Campus is also a safe, secure system. Only
you and your students can see and access your class
pages and resources. This helps students feel more
comfortable sharing and discussing things online,
and eliminates the worry about outsiders joining in
when not wanted.
My Big Campus is turning out to be a very useful and powerful tool.
I’ll be exploring more features each month at techlearning.com.
David Andrade is a Physics Teacher and Educational Technology
Specialist in Connecticut.