SONOMA, Calif. (Sept. 30, 2013) – In classrooms across the country, educators are striving to address a critical tenet of the new Common Core standards: the acquisition of high-level reading and writing skills. Adding to the challenge is the Common Core’s inclusion of listening and speaking skills as English language arts standards. StudySync (www.studysync.com), the leading-edge Common Core literacy curriculum from BookheadEd Learning, is helping students acquire all four skills by expanding its award-winning library of SyncTV episodes, which model study group interactions and analyses of a wide selection of fiction and nonfiction works. Users can now access more than 100 of the short, scripted video lessons.
In addition to its SyncTV episodes for middle and high school students, the expanded library now includes video lessons for students at the elementary school level. “We know that when students not only read a text but also discuss what they’ve read and collaborate with their peers, they construct meaning from each other’s ideas and deepen their comprehension,” said Robert Romano, CEO, StudySync. “That is why teachers are finding SyncTV episodes so critical to their overall instruction; these short videos provide an engaging model for student discussion. They help teachers elevate the academic discussion in their own classrooms.”
The episodes are one part of a cross-curricular literacy platform for grades 4-12 that includes a diverse library of more than 550 fiction and nonfiction texts, dynamic video and media designed to improve reading, writing, listening and critical thinking skills. The SyncTV episodes cover such diverse titles as The Gettysburg Address, “A Tale of Two Cities,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “Freedom Walkers: The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott” and much more.
As students use the interaction and communication techniques that they see in the video lessons, the techniques help them better examine and evaluate what they have read. Consequently, the students gain a better understanding of how to read and analyze an author’s work, how to build context for broader understanding, and how to construct meaning from a variety of texts. The overall effect is to help teachers address the core tenets of the Common Core for reading, writing, speaking and listening.
“All episodes are written and produced in house, giving StudySync control over not only the educational content, but also the quality of the production itself,” said Romano. “We know students are sophisticated media consumers and we wanted to give them a refined product. That’s how we can engage them and when students are engaged, they learn.”
In addition to the video episodes, SyncTV lessons include rich visual introductions to text that engage students and provide additional context. The text excerpts are accompanied by online reading supports such as audio-only recordings and annotation capabilities, making SyncTV effective for all levels of learners. The platform also includes Common-Core based lesson plans and writing prompts, and an online peer review platform.
In addition to completing assigned texts and lessons, students can also explore the full library on their own, giving them a fun and engaging way to access hundreds of texts they might not otherwise explore. This independent learning builds their reading and critical thinking confidence and competence.
StudySync launched in 2011 with 12 SyncTV lessons and has been on an aggressive production schedule ever since, garnering attention from educators and the industry, most recently winning the Association of Educational Publishers’ 2013 Innovation award and EdTech Digest 2013 ‘Trendsetter’ award. As its video library has grown, so has the adoption of the product itself. The number of users has doubled since last spring.
“We’ve been told we’ve created a new genre of educational media and I think that’s right,” said Romano. “With SyncTV we are not talking at students or strictly teaching a lesson. Rather, we are allowing students to witness high-level discussions of important texts. With SyncTV, we are providing the modeling students need to not only meet the rigors of today’s classroom but to gain the critical thinking and collaboration skills so necessary for college and careers.”
About BookheadEd Learning, LLC
BookheadEd Learning, based in Sonoma, Calif. connects students in grades 4 through 12 to the great ideas of mankind through technology, video, multimedia, and a rich library of classic and modern texts. StudySync, its award-winning flagship product, uses web-delivered educational tools – including broadcast-quality video, digital media, mobile platforms and social networking —to help teachers meet the demands of the Common Core Standards and inspire higher levels of reading, writing, critical thinking, academic discourse and peer-to-peer collaboration. For more information about BookheadEd Learning and its StudySync educational platform, visit http://www.studysync.com.
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