CurrTech Integrations bridges the gap between curriculum and technology. The company provides multi-disciplinary, supplemental curriculum modules for the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. The modules, available for students in grades 3-12, are designed with sufficient detail to be delivered by a first-year teacher, but-because they are provided in electronic format-experienced teachers have the flexibility to customize activities to suit their needs. The modules are written for users to make the most of interactive whiteboards, student response systems, and other technologies. In addition to these curriculum modules, CurrTech also offers professional development ranging from training on the use of interactive technologies to custom curriculum development workshops.
Educator’s Virtual Mentor announced GreenScribe Notes, an online system designed to help students gain and organize knowledge efficiently. GreenScribe Notes allows users to organize their notes, track their assignments, and retrieve their stored information with just a few mouse clicks. It features a virtual notebook layout that helps students use the software intuitively; an innovative, keyword-based recall system that helps users link their learning from class to class; a database design that allows students to link to video, audio, internet, and other resources from their notes; a research-based section that encourages students to question the material as they record it; a citation generator that cites sources in an array of styles; a calendar function that reminds users of due dates and helps them keep track of their work; and a user-generated glossary that helps increase academic vocabulary.
ETS introduced “FOS Assessment Literacy Modules,” or professional development to support balanced assessment. Each one-day module, offered in a train-the-trainers format to a maximum of 25 participants, helps educators use a mix of formative and summative assessments to inform instruction, motivate students, and evaluate academic programs, the company says. Module one is building high-quality interim assessments, module two is creating and recognizing high-quality assessment items, and module three is using assessment data to guide and target instruction. All three modules are offered at $4,000 each, plus a $25-per-person materials fee. This includes the training of up to 25 “trainers” and complete materials for implementation at a district, campus, or building level.
FableVision and learning-development company Thinking Moves have teamed up to create a new DVD called SmartMoves, which combines movement and music in short segments of physical activities that aim to increase students’ ability to learn in class. Based on recent research that links movement to learning, the program can increase the focus, memory, and academic performance of all students in grades 3-12 and help teachers address the growing number of students with learning disorders, the companies say. According to Thinking Moves, by having students follow along with the activities for just three to five minutes each day, teachers can make a dramatic improvement in the effectiveness of their lessons. This can be done anytime during the day and works great as a transition between topics or to refocus students after they return to class from recess. The SmartMoves DVD is priced at $129.
Gravic‘s Remark Products Group announced the availability of Remark Web Survey 4, the latest version of its web-based data collection and analysis software. The software offers a new interface and new features that enable anyone to design and publish their own online forms and surveys. It also includes various licensing options. Additions to the software include an eMail center for sending invitations and reminders to better track respondents, the ability to provide additional information with popup information pages, the ability to control the number of respondents with respondent capping, randomization of answer choices, and more.
I CAN Learn Education Systems has joined with Apple Inc. to create a mobile learning environment for teaching math. I CAN Learn’s math curriculum solution is now available on Apple laptop carts, offering more than 400 interactive math lessons (from the fundamentals of math all the way through algebra) that can be taken from classroom to classroom by moving the cart as needed. According to the company, schools can implement this system quickly, with no special networking or additional furniture required.
InterLingua Educational Publishing introduced Tadell, a collection of tools for the assessment and development of English-language learners. Tools include a math assessment that tests math and language skills, a math development workbook that teaches math vocabulary and content, and a bilingual math glossary that reinforces math learning with a glossary and posters.
mimio introduced what it called the world’s largest fully-integrated interactive whiteboard, with new wireless and USB boards that extend the field of view for interactive classrooms and meeting rooms. Four new models were shown, with projection-optimized diagonal displays ranging from 78 to 111 inches. All boards have a robust, porcelain-coated steel board surface with a 50-year warranty.
MyLearningPlan helps users manage professional development and assess its impact. Users can post catalogs for online enrollment, track certification, route and approve request forms online, document mentor/coaching plans and activities, develop individual growth plans, monitor PD substitute requirements, design customized reports, track the impact of PD through changes in participants’ daily practice, facilitate team learning through online collaboration, and document evidence of team learning.
Orchard Software demonstrated PracticePlanet, an easy-to-use tool to prepare students for high-stakes tests. PracticePlanet features questions based on state testing standards and offers anytime, anywhere access through a web-based interface. According to the company, PracticePlanet can improve test scores and save time in the classroom, because educators won’t have to reteach the same concepts: Students who need extra help mastering certain concepts can practice on their own.
Perfection Learning is a publisher of K-12 curriculum materials specializing in literature and language arts, ELL programs, and a technology-based writing program. The 6 Trait Power Write online interactive tool is designed to help students in grades 4-12 master the fundamentals of writing and help teachers manage the writing process through technology. The solution helps reinforce the six traits of effective writing and includes a built-in assessment tool. Students learn strategies for composing a wide variety of writing genres, from essays, research reports, and ad narratives to stories, letters, and poetry.
The Princeton Review introduced Prospects in ELA and Prospects in Math, secondary-school solutions that give students the opportunity to practice and develop the concepts and skills they need to succeed in high school, the company says. Both programs include pre- and post-course assessments, student journals, a writer’s handbook (for ELA), teacher guides, and CDs.
Qwizdom debuted a product coming soon called the Qwizdom Connect Digital Learning Network, an online community that gives users quick access to published and peer-created materials on their desktop, including more than 20,000 images and thousands of complete lessons. Users can search for an image to incorporate into a new lesson, quiz, or handout, or look for a complete test or lesson on a specific learning objective.
Renaissance Learning discussed its math software products, including Accelerated Math, STAR Math, and MathFacts in a Flash. Accelerated Math uses math management software to personalize practice and differentiate instruction to each student’s level. STAR Math assesses students’ math progress using computerized, norm-referenced math assessments. MathFacts in a Flash gives students personalized practice on their math facts and provides detailed reports for educators to monitor progress. Thee company also offers training on, and hosting of, its products.
School Software Group introduced BuildYourOwnAssessment, a 21st-century solution to test analysis and reporting. The software gives users an assessment development tool with built-in flexibility to accommodate specific testing procedures, student-per-computer ratios, and testing schedules. Students can take tests online, with their answers recorded, scored, and analyzed immediately; or they can take paper-based versions of the test, and teachers can access the system and record students’ answers on the spreadsheet template provided, for immediate analysis and reporting.
Software Answers Inc. discussed its flagship product, ProgressBook-a classroom management system that combines grade book, attendance, lesson planning, report card, and parent-student-teacher communication features within a single software solution that integrates with a school district’s current student information system.
Software Technology Inc. (STI) announced that its STIAssessment formative assessment solution has been proven effective in Alabama school districts. Interactive Inc., a national “gold standard” independent firm that specializes in the analysis of school improvement, conducted a study of third through eighth grade math and reading scores in Alabama schools in need of improvement during the 2006-2007 school year. Interactive compared the Academic Content Standards (ACS) levels of students in schools using STIAssessment with schools not using STIAssessment and found that STIAssessment students outperform others in grades three, five, and six. STIAssessment schools also had fewer students not meeting ACS reading standards in grades three and five and higher scores than the state average in those grades.
Summit Interactive featured its Ascend solution, which is a diagnostic math assessment used for targeted learning. Ascend assesses students’ math knowledge based on NCTM and state standards and prescribes individual learning paths. GraspMath, an award-winning math curriculum, is now being offered as part of Ascend and includes math tutorials available in DVD, VHS, or CD-ROM formats.
Turning Technologies LLC demonstrated TurningPoint, a student response system that works with any interactive whiteboard technology as well as PowerPoint. It includes 30,000 assessment items that are aligned with state standards. It also features self-paced, summative assessment options. The company also launched VantagePoint, a web-based, short-cycle assessment tool that measures student progress against key indicators prior to high-stakes testing.
Vantage Learning demonstrated MY Access!, an online writing environment and instructional tool that diagnoses and assesses the writing ability of students in grades 4-12 and at the college level. It also provides teachers with more time to teach writing instruction while monitoring student progress over time. The program is powered by IntelliMetric, an artificial intelligence scoring engine that instantly grades open-ended essays. IntelliMetric applies the pooled knowledge (scoring rubrics) of expert scorers to the essays it receives and continually refines its knowledge base as more essays are added.