T&L News(146)

Week of: September 15, 2008

  • Leader of the Year Profile
    Leader: Debby Martin, Business Education Teacher, Phoebus High School, Hampton City Schools, Hampton, Va.
    School Snapshot: 1480-student high school in district with high poverty rate; designated school for nearby Army base.
  • Top Online Degrees Help Top Educators
    Feeling stagnant in your current position or considering expanding your knowledge base (and salary potential!)? The thought of schlepping down to a local university after a long day in the classroom might seem daunting. For some, "local" could meet hours of commuting that just doesn't fit in a busy teacher's schedule. Thanks to the emergence of techno-savvy universities, online degrees can offer the same benefits as those taught on campus.
  • Buzzterm of the Month: Response to Intervention (RTI). What it is and why you need it
    More states are requiring school districts to put response to intervention (RTI) processes into place and yet many administrators and teachers are uncertain on how to get started. The RTI process matches high-quality instruction and interventions to unique student needs. Students are screened and those students identified as at risk or struggling in academics or behavior become a part of a problem-solving process. If a problem is identified early and targeted intervention is provided, this could get a student on track, and improve achievement.
  • Contest: Technology in Motion 2: Community of the Future
    Sponsor: Sony Creative Software
    Under the Community of the Future theme, students can share their vision of how technology will shape their neighborhoods in the future and are encouraged to interact with their local city council, mayor, city employees, community centers, or other groups to create their film. Contestants are required to use the provided Vegas Pro 8 software to produce their videos, but all other creative details are up to the students' own creativity.
    Deadline: October 15, 2008
  • Put to the Test: Joe Huber reviews SAS Curriculum PathwaysAn online instruction system that coversthe four basic core areas of the curriculum.

  • Use multimedia techniques: Technology can provide Universal Design for Learning (UDL), the framework that provides equal opportunities to learn by making the curriculum accessible for all learners. For example, a teacher can provide digital text with vocabulary definitions or animated coaches that assist students with comprehension.
  • Assess year-round: Rather than just use twice-a-year assessments to see where students fall, RTI requires teachers to implement multiple scientifically based interventions and frequently monitor student progress. Data collection and analysis programs that include ongoing training help make sure every student gets the intervention needed, when it's needed.
  • Use data more effectively: Schools can meet achievement and AYP (adequate yearly progress) goals by tracking, disaggregating, analyzing, and reporting student achievement data throughout the school year. Implementing a system to track all student achievement data may seem daunting, but, in reality, data management tools streamline assessment work. These tools eliminate duplication of efforts and help schools meet accountability requirements.

Dr. Christy A. Chambers is the immediate past president of the Council of Administrators of Special Education and CEO, Beyond the Box, an education consulting group providing technical assistance and training.

SIDEBAR: Intervention Programs

AEC, A+nyWhere Learning System®
Autoskill, Academy of MATH
Cambium Learning, Language! The Comprehensive Literacy Curriculum and Read Well
Carnegie Learning, Math Prep
CompassLearning, Odyssey Math
Curriculum Associates, RTI: Response-to-Intervention
Harcourt Achieve, NorthStar Math
HOSTS, Mentoring and Intervention program
Houghton Mifflin, MathSteps
Imagination Station
Kaplan, Reading and Math Empowerment
Lexia
McMillan/McGraw Hill: Reading Triumphs
Pearson, AMP Program (Achieving Maximum Progress)
PLATO Courses
Princetone Review
Recorded Books, Plugged-in to Reading
Scholastic, Read 180
Scientific Learning, Fast ForWord
SRA/McGraw-Hill, Number Worlds
Steck Vaughn/Renaissance Learning, Read Now Power Up! or steckvaughn.harcourtachieve.com
Summit Interactive, GraspMath Interactive Video Tutor
The Princeton Review, SideStreets
Touch Math
Voyager, Expanded Learning, Passport, Journeys, and VMath

Contest: Technology in Motion 2: Community of the Future

Sponsor: Sony Creative Software
Under the Community of the Future theme, students can share their vision of how technology will shape their neighborhoods in the future and are encouraged to interact with their local city council, mayor, city employees, community centers, or other groups to create their film. Contestants are required to use the provided Vegas Pro 8 software to produce their videos, but all other creative details are up to the students' own creativity.
Deadline: October 15, 2008

Contest: Interactive Classroom Makeover Contest

Sponsor: eInstruction
Prize: A complete interactive classroom makeover, which consists of a Next Generation Interwrite Board and much more.
Description: Participants of this contest create a short music video demonstrating how classes currently use or would like to use technology to enhance instruction.
Deadline: October 24, 2008

Put to the Test: Joe Huber reviews SAS Curriculum Pathways

Description: An online instruction system that covers the four basic core areas of the curriculum.

How to use in the classroom: An instructor can create a lesson for a class or an individual student and assign it to them to be complete and submitted online. The instructor can also create a blog for the class; parents and students can subscribe to the blog to keep up-to-date on what is going on in class. The teacher can also add individual notes (called flags) to lessons to customize them for the class or the student.

Pros: The interface is easy-to-use. I like the blog feature. The ability for the instructor to set flags (make personal comments) is also a good. It uses SAS Strategic Performance Management and SAS Human Capital Management. These data collection tools are where SAS shines above many of the competitors.

Cons: The program only links to national standards, not state standards as do some of the competing products. It was also very easy to navigate away from the main site when view some of the demos. This will allow students to drift to other subjects rather than stay on task. The program does not allow an instructor to create a podcast and videocast.

Overall Impression: There are many products like this on the market, many with more features that are relatively low-priced (two that come to mind are nettrekker and SchoolFusion). The fact that the program is not coordinated to state standards is disappointing since remediation is a huge use for this product, and meeting AYP depends on meeting state standards notional standards. However, if a school can work with national standards, the SAS Curriculum Pathways does have excellent data collection tools.

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