With the latest version of its web-based suite of teaching, grading, reporting, and communication tools, called Aspire 4.0, Cleveland-based Aspire Learning Corp. is taking a solution that has been piloted effectively in several Cleveland-area schools and rolling it out nationwide.
Aspire 4.0 is designed to save time for teachers, administrators, parents, and students by automating routine tasks. The program automatically enters the grades from online quizzes and worksheets into the teacher’s gradebook, and it can factor in attendance records when calculating final grades. Students and teachers can save and retrieve documents in a section called My Files, and the software can be used to create school-wide, group, or personal calendars, so users can check their schedules in one place. In addition, teachers can create message threads or topic areas for group, class, or team discussions, and a survey tool enables administrators, staff, and teachers to create and distribute surveys to groups of stakeholders. Responses are tabulated automatically and can be viewed by anyone designated by the survey creator.
Because Aspire is accessible via a web browser, it is easy to deploy and doesn’t require special hardware or software. Aspire is password-protected and employs the most sophisticated encryption technology available, according to the company. The program also features Quick Start Tutorial Pages that help new users navigate all the tools and options available, as well as quick tips and mouse-over descriptors that keep users working quickly and efficiently.
Aspire is sold on an annual, site-license basis. For most schools, the annual cost is about $2 to $3 per student.