Tip: Every teacher is different. Every classroom is unique. Individual learning plans allow teachers to take charge of their own learning. More states and districts are requiring their teachers to develop individual learning plans or individual professional development plans. You can help your teachers create
Tip: When teachers are designing how they will reach their technology goals, they can create an individual learning plan (ILP). Their ILP: Is aligned to their student learning goals. Establishes goals and indicators of success. Offers diagnoses of their strengths and weaknesses. Offers suggestions on
School Improvement Network today announced new research linking student achievement and teacher effectiveness to on-demand professional learning.
The Web-based Focus on Individual Needs and Development (FIND) automatically links assessment results to targeted activities in the Classworks K-12 instructional software. It provides educators with a multifaceted approach to gathering student data. It also offers a comprehensive item bank that gives educators the flexibility to design their own tests. Price: Contact company for pricing.Category: assessment
Digital Directions International has significantly enhanced their HELP Math for ELL and Special Needs program by integrating a diagnostic-prescriptive tool. This comprehensive and adaptive tool allows the teacher to pretest students to better individualize instruction. The grade-level and adaptive pretests save teachers time by auto-generating custom learning pathways to provide a seamless link between diagnostic assessments and prescriptive interventions. The new assessments not only target grade-level deficiencies, but also identify and help remediate gaps in students’ foundational/prerequisite skills. Price: Contact company for pricing. Category: assessment
The release of the Funds For Learning E-rate 2.0 Proposal comes on the heels of the USAC demand estimate for Funding Year 2013. Total demand is estimated at $4.98 billion, the third highest in the history of the E-rate program. The demand for Priority One services exceeds the funding cap for the entire program, leaving the $2.27 billion requested for Priority Two services in doubt. The Funds For Learning E-rate 2.0 Proposal restructures the current program, calling for an increase in available funds while basing amount of monies received on a per-student basis. The plan also enables schools to choose their own priorities for E-rate funds.
DreamBox Learning K-2 Math is an interactive math curriculum for grades K-2 that is built on a standards-based mathematics curriculum and presented in a fun, adventure-style interactive game. The program presents in-depth math lessons that develop computational fluency, conceptual understanding, and problem-solving ability. DreamBox analyzes a student's individual responses and dynamically customizes the content and sequence for each child. The program keeps track of the student’s progress and remediates and accelerates the student as needed.Pros: The graphics and audio are attractive enough to hold students’ attention for the intended grade level. The vocabulary is also age-level appropriate. The action on the screen will hold the student’s attention, but does not distract from the lesson. The program readily adapts itself to the individual student’s learning style and pace. The areas covered are based on NCTM standards. Students are given continual positive reinforcement as they move through the tasks. The online dashboard is a great standards-based report card on the students progress through the program. Online support provides teachers and parents with tips on how to transfer math skills to everyday life. Progress emails are automatically sent to parents every time the student uses the program.Cons: The program would benefit from some type of administrative module that handled security and reporting for classroom use.Overall Impression: This is a great example of one of the many Web-based learning tools out there. Because it is Web-based, updates can be done automatically so schools can ensure the curriculum is linked to the latest standards.Retail Price: $12.95 per month per student, volume discounts available
Blossom Learning is an online applied SMART Board course that allows teachers and students to take a course at their own pace, and repeat a lesson until proficiency is achieved. The course contains end of chapter reviews, but teachers have the freedom to review at any time. PROS: The program is a bargain at its price, offering nearly four days of instruction and covering all aspects of the SMART Board from the basics to the most advanced topics. The course features built-in administrative functions that allow administrators to assign, monitor, and evaluate individual teacher progress.CONS: To successfully take the course, teachers and students should have some prior knowledge of how to learn from an online course.OVERALL EVALUATION: Schools who want to incorporate more SMART Board technology into their classroom curricula will benefit from a program like Blossom Learning, with its straightforward lessons and individualized opportunity for progressing at a self-paced level.www.blossomlearning.comRetail price: $69.95—Joe Huber