FETC 2010: Instruction & Assessment

Promethean BoothAmerican Education Corp., a provider of research-based, core curriculum instructional software for kindergarten through adult learners, will release a series of virtual science and math labs later this year.

Brainchild, a publisher of educational assessment and intervention programs, launched the Brainchild Academy Concept, a multimodal method of combining print and digital resources with face-to-face instruction. Students work through three stations: (1) Brainchild Achiever! for diagnosis and assessment, (2) Brainchild’s handheld Study Buddy for instruction, and (3) use of Achiever! worksheets or supplemental print materials for reinforcing instruction with a teacher or tutor. This three-station method keeps a classroom of students occupied and focused on the core instructional content while the teacher is free to assist and guide her students through the process, Brainchild said.

For a pilot project in which digital content replaces traditional textbooks as the core instructional material, teachers in the Indianapolis Public Schools are using Discovery Education to access streaming video, images, and other digital media, all aligned with district pacing guides. This pilot project, which is occurring in 12 district schools, features digital media, curriculum alignment services, professional development, and hardware from Discovery Education. The company’s media collection reportedly includes more than 5,000 videos and 41,000 digital video clips, all aligned with state standards. The content is searchable by keyword, content area, and grade level. Discovery Education and Comcast’s Indianapolis Region are supplementing this content and extending students’ learning beyond the school day through Discovery Education On Demand By Comcast, which makes the content available to Comcast subscribers online or on cable TV, free of charge.

Educational software company DreamBox Learning had Mickelle Weary, a member of its Academic Team and a National Board Certified Teacher, lead a panel session titled “Using Virtual Manipulatives to Support the Development of Number Sense.” Participants in Weary’s session shared their ideas about the value of using virtual manipulatives for teaching numeric concepts and skills, as well as how to use and evaluate virtual math manipulatives in a classroom setting. The company also showcased its DreamBox Learning K-2 Math product.

GradeCam, which sells a classroom-based solution for conducting frequent assessments, now offers an online version. When a paper-based test is scanned with a document or web camera, GradeCam Online compresses the image and sends it to a server for analysis by its proprietary advanced image recognition code. Item-by-item results are displayed immediately and stored for generating real-time reports. GradeCam Online also integrates with all electronic gradebooks, its maker says.

“As with any application that is web-based, the district-wide implementation of GradeCam Online is so much easier because there is no software to install and upgrades happen automatically,” said Tami Porter, co-founder of GradeCam. “With an automated assessment process, teachers can collect information every day about each of their students’ learning needs. With the new online version, continual monitoring of student progress toward skill mastery, which is a proven strategy for academic success, is much easier for classroom teachers to implement.”

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