Adaptive Curriculum, developed by Sebit LLC, is a new online library of standards-based interactive math and science activities for students in the middle grades. Its database contains more than 200 math and science “Activity Objects.” Similar to learning objects, these Activity Objects exist as single-topic, interactive segments that can be used in various learning environments. Students can participate in virtual experiments, scientific inquiry exercises, and problem-based activities that help them gain the knowledge and critical thinking skills they need to excel in math and science.
Adaptive Curriculum also contains tools for managing instruction; it gives teachers the ability to plan their lessons, assign Activity Objects to their students, and track achievement through assessment reports. The product works on Windows, Mac, and Linux-based computers with a standard web browser, eliminating the need for special software installation. It is offered on a subscription basis; licenses for the entire online library start at $10 per student for an average middle school with 700 students, with flexible pricing plans available at the district level.
American Education Corp. previewed new science content that will be added to its A+nyWhere Learning System courseware in the next 60 days. The company has developed brand-new science programs to replace its current offerings in grades 1-8. These new programs will offer more content and lessons than the current versions, and all content will be aligned with the National Science Education Standards in anticipation of science testing under No Child Left Behind next year. The company also announced a new Physical Science offering for high school, and it said predictive assessments would be added to all of its courseware soon as well.
Destination Knowledge, a Florida-based provider of intervention materials for K-12 schools, showcased its ASCEND Math Solution, which assesses students at the outset of a math intervention program. ASCEND uses online assessments to benchmark a student’s strengths according to state standards, then automatically delivers an individual education plan to each student that is instantly placed online. Once deficiencies are determined, ASCEND guides students through targeted video instruction, interactive learning activities, and practice problems (both print and online) that address students’ specific needs. It also tracks students’ progress with reports that are available from any internet-connected computer.
Discovery Education launched Discovery Education Science for Elementary, a new digital service that helps educators make science come alive for young students, while also reinforcing important math and literacy skills. The product is an extension of Discovery Education Science for Middle School, which the company introduced last year. It’s organized into four areas: Learn, Explore, Demonstrate, and Extend.
In the Learn area, teachers introduce scientific concepts through reading passages and eBooks, inquiry-based introductions with audio support, and video segments. In the Explore area, educators and students can work together through a number of virtual labs and inquiry-based explorations of topics within a unit. The Demonstrate area lets students show their understanding of key concepts through two types of assessments: Students can take online selected response assessments, which enable educators to identify student progress quickly, or teachers can print a brief constructed response for students to complete. The Extend area encourages additional learning and exploration by enabling students to access middle-school-level resources on particular topics. It also lets students see connections between concepts by exploring concepts that relate to each other.
Holt McDougal, formerly Holt, Rinehart and Winston and McDougal Littel, released the Teacher One Stop, a new product similar to Holt’s One Stop Planner (OSP) that was introduced in 2002. The Teacher One Stop, which contains supporting documents, tools, and multimedia materials on a DVD, builds on the OSP’s strengths and adds numerous technologies, search capabilities, and new resources to make for easier planning. The product gives teachers the ability to edit, adapt, search, and expand the collection of Holt resources that come with a particular curriculum. Teachers can add their own resources or save the adaptations they make to existing materials, where they are stored in a “My Resources” folder. This is helpful when planning for differentiated instruction or customized learning plans, for example.
Teacher One Stops will be available for every Holt program, starting with Holt Elements of Literature and Holt Elements of Language in March. The Teacher One Stop is the companion product to the soon-to-be-released ThinkCentral, an online repository scheduled for launch in February, allowing teachers to choose which format (DVD or the web) is most convenient for them.
Inspiration Software launched the newest version of its Kidspiration visual learning software, Kidspiration 3. The program supports students in grades K-5 as they strengthen their reading and writing skills, build conceptual understanding in math, and develop thinking skills across the curriculum. Kidspiration is a cross-curricular visual workspace that helps students think creatively and organize their ideas to write, comprehend, and communicate successfully.
New capabilities include tools for using visual learning to build math skills; a Word Guide; an expanded, searchable symbol library; and additional enhancements that support vocabulary building, particularly for English-language learners. The software is Vista-compatible, and single copies cost $69; upgrades to older versions of Kidspiration are available for $39.95.
I Support Learning (ISL) demonstrated its self-titled curriculum, in which students can develop online simulations and video games and learn how to build animations, all while learning math, science, reading, and technology. ISL’s goal is to revolutionize learning by engaging students in real-world activities.
Using animations, digital videos, and text, the software creates the simulated world of a high-tech business, with the look and feel of an actual company. Students are cast in the role of a newly hired intern at this virtual company—and they quickly become immersed in a setting that has the depth, duration, and complexity of a real-world job. They have a boss, co-workers, and clients. They even receive eMail, voice mail, faxes, and phone calls. ISL’s curriculum is now used in 11 of the 15 largest school systems in the country, the company said, with tens of thousands of students engaged in this style of learning every day.
Knowledge Adventure has reached a distribution agreement with Learning Enhancement to bring that company’s BrainWare Safari product to K-12 students. BrainWare Safari invites children to travel with a cast of jungle characters on a “learning safari” that builds cognitive abilities under the guise of an entertaining video game. The 41 cognitive skills cultivated by the program include the major areas of visual processing, auditory processing, memory, attention, sensory integration, and thinking. Each of the program’s 20 exercises targets multiple cognitive skills simultaneously, enabling students to use their strengths to build their weaknesses and reinforcing the mental connections that make learning faster and more efficient, Knowledge Adventure says.
The company also promoted Activity Builder, a web-based program that enables teachers to easily create fun learning activities for their classrooms, such as bingo boards, flash cards, number cards, scrambled words, word searches, and more. To create an activity, teachers choose an existing word list from the Knowledge Adventure library or enter their own word list. Next, they select the desired activity, and the program automatically creates that activity using the specified list. All that’s left to do is print and use the materials with students. The Activity Builder’s existing library includes word lists across all primary subject areas, such as health, language arts, math, science, and social studies. Additionally, the program is multilingual, allowing for translations in eight languages: Creole, Dutch, French, Italian, German, Navajo, Portuguese, and Spanish.
LeapFrog School, the education division of LeapFrog Enterprises, announced the release of a new online version of Link to Lessons, an educator resource featuring classroom tools and standards-aligned activities for individualized instruction. Designed to support classroom use of LeapFrog School products for early literacy and language development in preschoolers through second graders, Link to Lessons has more than 6,000 skills-based, standards-aligned activities and tools that are searchable by instructional objective and available for tracking student progress.
Using simple navigation, teachers can find activities for early literacy and reading, development along DIBELS measures, English language development, and Spanish literacy. Each activity appears with the relevant state standard or standards that it covers. These activities then can be used to create customized lessons for individual student, small group, or whole-class instruction.
The planning tools in Link to Lessons, and the LeapFrog School products they support, help teachers use engaging, multisensory instruction with a variety of learning modalities and learners, including advanced students, struggling students, English-language learners, and those with special needs. In this new online version, teachers can share their lesson plans with the Link to Lessons online community, further expanding their options for classroom instruction, the company said.
MIND Research Institute announced a service-area expansion from the West and Midwest into the southeastern United States. MIND’s visual math courseware programs for students in grades K-12 are now available in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. With spring test season closing in, MIND Research is inviting schools in the Southeast to special events to learn about a new, more visual way to teach math using its comprehensive courseware. Its programs address K-5 math, middle school intervention, and algebra readiness, and they help all students—especially English-language learners—learn math concepts visually on the computer without the initial use of language, helping students who are below grade level in math to catch up.
Pearson Education’s Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley division launched enVisionMATH, which offers elementary students a curriculum that combines visual animation and next-generation technologies to provide a solid foundation in math skills. Developed by some of the nation’s top math experts in conceptual development, problem solving, and visual learning instructional strategies in collaboration with classroom teachers, enVisionMATH is a research-based program that blends visual animations and graphic text. It centers on conceptual understanding and helping students develop their reasoning ability for problem solving.
Teachers can personalize enVisionMATH instruction for all students, including those students who are learning basic English at the same time they are learning math. Published in both English and Spanish, enVisionMATH’s visual learning design includes a “Visual Learning Bridge” in each lesson, with step-by-step visuals that bridge the gap between the interactive learning activity and guided practice.
Primavera Learning discussed its online curriculum designed for secondary schools.
Aligned with federal and state curriculum standards, Primavera Learning courses provide a highly interactive and media-rich experience for students, thanks to partnerships with industry-leading content providers such as Holt, McGraw-Hill, Discovery Education, Smart Science, and other award-winning developers, Primavera said. The company began marketing its products and services to schools in September.
Qwizdom is expanding its product portfolio to include online content sharing. The company’s new digital learning network, Qwizdom Connect, provides educators with quick access to published and peer-created materials right on their desktop. Access to the network is currently available to educators free of charge.
Along with content-sharing capabilities, educators will have access to reporting features, thousands of images and other media, and learning games. Users can make their favorite PowerPoint or Keynote presentations more interactive, or create new activities using Qwizdom’s interactive editor. A 30-day free trial of Qwizdom Connect Premium also is included, which gives users access to Qwizdom’s standards-correlated curriculum, ReadySet, as well as hundreds of other skill-specific lessons, tests, and additional online reporting features.
Scientific Learning demonstrated its Fast ForWord software, a supplementary program designed for K-12 schools and clinical specialists whose students are reading below grade level. Fast ForWord develops and strengthens students’ memory, attention, processing rate, and sequencing, with the goal of improving critical language and reading skills such as phonological and phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, decoding, working memory, syntax, grammar, and other skills necessary to learn how to read or to become a better reader. Students who use Fast ForWord products with fidelity typically make one to two years’ worth of gain in reading skills in as little as eight to 12 weeks, the company said.
Vernier Software and Technology said more than 400 science experiments are now available for use with its recently released LabQuest handheld data-collection device. Each of the company’s updated activity books includes a CD with Word-formatted lessons that give users the option of working with computers, calculators, or LabQuest.
LabQuest is splash-proof, can withstand a temperature range of 0 to 70 degrees Celsius, and includes rubber molding for shock absorption, making the device suitable for both the classroom and field studies, Vernier says. The handheld device allows students to collect data from more than 50 sensors and view the information in a meter, data table, or graph on the color graphic display. The device also contains six sensor ports, a built-in temperature gauge, and a built-in microphone for recording voice annotations. Its applications include a stopwatch, periodic table, on-screen keyboard, and scientific calculator. Users can operate the device via its buttons or by pressing an accompanying stylus to the touch screen and on-screen keyboard.
LabQuest is available for $329. The modified lab books will continue to be available at their existing price of $45 each. Vernier also has posted free samples of LabQuest activities on its web site.
Voyager Expanded Learning unveiled a new edition of Voyager Passport, the company’s reading intervention program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The new version, which includes a reading technology component called Ticket to Read, provides students who struggle to read with 30 to 45 minutes of daily, targeted intervention, along with additional practice time within or outside the classroom. Like the previous version, Voyager Passport is based on the latest scientific reading research and consists of lessons that focus on word study, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension.
The new technology component, Ticket to Read, is a web site designed to increase reading speed, comprehension, and vocabulary through a reward system that promotes reading practice at home and school for all students—including struggling and on-track readers. Students read high-interest passages at increasing levels of difficulty and take passage quizzes to demonstrate they understood what they read, while earning points to use in customizing their personal clubhouse. Students can independently practice important reading skills at school, home, the library, or anywhere else there is internet access. Ticket to Read is also now included in Voyager’s core reading program, the Voyager Universal Literacy System.