Learn360 opens a new era of learning at a Florida school district

Learn360 (www.learn360.com) has opened up a new world of learning for teachers and students at Pinellas County Schools (www.pcsb.org) in Largo, Florida, as educators are using Learn360’s wide array of media formats to custom-design curricula and capitalizing on its interactive mindset to make technology the focal point.

But the key description might be that Learn360’s extensive library and online solutions have ushered the Florida school district—which is the 24th largest district in the nation—into an exciting era of 21st century technology. Already recognized on the national and state levels for its strong efforts in education and leadership, the district brought Learn360 on to enhance the existing educational technology in the classroom.

Pinellas County uses Learn360 in 122 library media centers that instruct more than 101,000 students in 74 elementary schools, 21 middle schools, 2 secondary schools, 17 high schools, 4 exceptional student centers, 3 vocational schools and a virtual school.

“Learn360 makes the whole process more centralized,” said Bonnie Kelley, supervisor of library media/technology for Pinellas County Schools. “It’s becoming a more digitally-centered classroom, and Learn360 is a perfect fit between technology, content and streaming media.”

Like other school districts, Pinellas County was challenged with maintaining a forward-thinking learning environment for its students with less money. Their problems were compounded by their previous video streaming service that failed to add new resources. “They weren’t going to add or change anything, so it became a very stagnant program,” said Kelley. “At that point, we started looking for another solution.”

Pinellas County Schools found the answer in Learn360. Learn360’s seamless integration into an existing system was a huge factor for the district. District teachers used the same password that they would use to log on to their student information system, allowing for a smooth transition from the old provider to the new. “Being able to use active directory, it was a real collaboration between Learn360 and the district,” said Kelley. “It was very important.”

In a similar vein, educators are integrating Learn360 into their lesson plans that are being created on Moodle, an online course management system that allows teachers to create effective online learning sites. “That’s a big plus, integrating Learn360 into your Moodle site in lesson planning,” said Kelley.

This integration has led to a dramatic increase in Internet usage at Pinellas County Schools, more than doubling and tripling usage in key indicators. Pinellas County began using Learn360 in 2008. Just one year later, from 2009 to 2010, the number of searches conducted on the site have more than doubled, from about 15,000 to more than 35,000; views have more than tripled, from about 12,000 to more than 35,000; downloads have skyrocketed from just a few hundred to more than 5,000; logins have soared from about 7,000 to 25,000.

“What sold us on Learn360 is the fact that if a teacher creates their own content, they can upload and store it,” said Kelley. “It’s combining their personal design with what’s already provided to them on Learn360.” Additionally, Learn360’s expanding content library and various media formats were key for the district. “It’s important to also have the shorter video clips,” said Kelley. “It’s a strong point in their product- the variety of media and the overall functionality of the program.”