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New service is like ‘Consumer Reports’ for ed tech
Posted By Dennis Pierce On April 2, 2014 @ 6:17 pm In Business News,Curriculum,eClassroom News,Featured on eSchool News,Innovation Corner,News,Top News | Comments Disabled
A new Texas-based service could help K-12 educators choose the best instructional materials for their schools.
Called Learning List , the subscription-based service describes itself as a combination “Consumer Reports” and “Angie’s List” for K-12 curriculum products and online courses. Its professional curriculum and software reviews can save schools money by supplementing the local review process, said Founder and President Jackie Lain.
A former associate executive director of the Texas Association of School Boards who also worked for Standard and Poor’s School Evaluation Services division, Lain launched Learning List last fall to serve Texas school districts. Beginning this month, the service is expanding its reach nationwide.
Subscribers can access Learning List’s online library of completed reviews, and they also can ask Learning List to review additional materials in the subjects it already covers.
Learning List employs more than 30 professional reviewers. All are current teachers with at least five years’ experience and certification in the subjects and grade levels of the instructional materials they are reviewing, Lain said.
(Next page: How Learning List ensures the objectivity of reviews—and which subjects its reviews currently cover)
To ensure objectivity, “we don’t hire educators to review products if they worked for a publisher during the last two years,” she said. What’s more, each product is reviewed by at least two educators.
The reviews evaluate each product’s adherence to Texas and/or Common Core standards, as well as features such as usability, engagement, and more.
Reviews specific to Texas state standards are available for ELA, math, and science materials, and the company is about to start reviewing social studies materials as well, Lain said.
Reviews specific to Common Core standards are available for ELA and math products, and Learning List will address how well science products stack up against the Next Generation Science Standards next.
Learning List’s website currently includes more than 450 reviews, and “every week we roll out more,” Lain said. When a school district requests a review of a particular product, that review is made available to the entire Learning List community.
To join the service, K-12 schools and districts must pay a tiered annual subscription rate based on their enrollment. The service starts at $195 per year for individual schools with up to 99 students.
Follow Editorial Director Dennis Pierce on Twitter: @eSN_Dennis .
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