Learning.com’s Digital Learning Environment is an online curriculum management tool that coordinates lesson plans to national and some state curriculum guides. Teachers have the ability to share their best lesson plans with other educators, and can interact with students via online journal lessons (interactive web pages). Users can import media for outside resources such as teacher tube, and the program encourages teachers to relate lesson plans to curriculum guidelines as they are being written. Lessons are stored on companies’ servers, eliminating the need for local installations.PROS: The software is an excellent value, since anyone who currently uses a Learning.com product can access it free of charge. This is one of the easiest to use curriculum management tools available. It includes a comprehensive feature set that is robust enough to get the job done, especially for elementary schools. With a crisp and clean user interface, anyone who can use a word processing program can use the Digital Learning Environment. Sharing lesson plans among teachers makes it easy to collaborate with co-workers. CONS: To reach a larger audience, the product needs to be coordinated to more state curriculum guidelines.OVERALL EVALUATION: Schools will benefit from a software tool like Digital Learning Environment, a product that boosts collaboration between teachers and allows for easy student-teacher interaction via interactive web pages.www.learning.comRetail price: Free to current Learning.com customers.—Joe Huber
it’s learning inc. has expanded its individualized learning platform with new features to enable better collaboration among teachers and students, safer communication online, and faster support of attendance and behavior tracking. it’s learning integrates with each school’s existing student information system (SIS). In addition, the company now supplies Gmail from Google. The latest release also updated it’s learning’s software development kit (SDK) to include support for third party plug-ins, in addition to traditional application integration. Price: $10-$15 per user per year Category: administrative tool
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
Follett Software Company has introduced Cognite™, a digital learning environment that integrates discovery tools, retrieval and communications.
Apex Learning released new online math courses tailored to the academic standards in Georgia, Florida, and California. These state-specific additions to Apex Learning’s suite of digital curricula integrate multimedia—in the form of animations, charts, graphs, images, and interactive manipulatives—with instructional text. Price: Pricing varies depending on the implementation Category: math
Powered by My Portfolio, the K-12 safesearch tool netTrekker d.i. now allows educators to create, organize, and share content for standards-based instruction with fellow teachers within their school or district. Educators can scaffold, save, and share digital content, including resources found in netTrekker d.i. and from third parties. They can add content to their portfolios— templates, time-line and famousperson search results, and images— and then, as with a digital file cabinet, create folders to facilitate organizing. Price: $1,730 per school building Category: content development
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt today announced the launch of Go Math! Academy, a dedicated digital learning environment for the home and on-demand.
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