TCEA 2013: New software for curriculum and instruction

McGraw-Hill Education introduced a number of products at TCEA, including FLEX Literacy, a reading intervention program for students in grades 3-8. The program includes three components, the company said: adaptive online instruction, print-based reading and response, and projects.

McGraw-Hill also launched Reading Labs 2.0, which brings its color-coded SRA Reading Labs for supplemental skills work into the digital era, with a new online format; and Reading Wonders, a complete reading curriculum developed from the ground up to comply with the new Common Core ELA standards. Reading Wonders can be completed entirely through print, entirely online, or through a combination of methods. With the introduction of these products, McGraw-Hill now has solutions to meet a wide range of literacy needs in either print or digital format, the company said—“taking teachers from where they are to wherever they want to go.”

In addition, McGraw-Hill is launching new versions of its LearnSmart courseware for K-12 schools. These adaptive learning programs, which previously were available only for the college market, are the only products to assess students’ level of confidence in their answers, which factors into the programs’ algorithms. The LearnSmart programs also deliver learning analytics to instructors, so they can see in great detail how individual students, groups of students, or entire classes are progressing.

The LearnSmart programs are powered by technology from the Danish company Area9, in which McGraw-Hill just acquired a 20-percent stake. The first LearnSmart programs for the K-12 market cover U.S. history and biology.

Odysseyware highlighted SPARC, a new set of assessment tools and instructional materials to support the Common Core State Standards. SPARC helps teachers accurately identify the competency levels of students in grades K-8 in relation to Common Core standards, and it provides supplemental materials for targeted skills remediation and practice to help students achieve mastery of the standards. These engaging mini-lessons focus on one skill per lesson, the company said. “Our … goal is to get students to ‘own’ the skill with dynamic learning activities, audio, video, animation—the works,” said Jen Salta, vice president of product development.

PBS Kids showcased the classroom edition of its PBS Kids Play! service, a game-based adaptive learning environment for students in pre-kindergarten through first grade. It’s a cross-curricular program with activities that are aligned with the Common Core standards in reading and math, and it aims to engage students in learning through play.

Activities feature popular characters from PBS Kids television programming, and the system tracks students’ progress through assessments that are embedded in the course of play. Teachers can view students’ progress by class, student, or individual skill, and the classroom edition includes free home access for students. The service is available through one or two-year licenses starting around $20 per student, per year, with discounts available for larger institutions.

Vernier demonstrated four new science probes at TCEA: (1) a goniometer, which measures the angles of joints to determine their range of motion and can be used for biomedical engineering (as in the design of prosthetic limbs); (2) ethanol sensors for Advanced Placement science labs; (3) a radiation monitor that’s $100 cheaper than the company’s current version ($169 versus $269), making it more accessible for K-12 classrooms; and (4) an optical dissolved oxygen probe that doesn’t require calibration, making it faster and easier to use than older versions.

With school guidance counselors having to do more with less and thousands of employers struggling to find skilled workers, WIN Learning demonstrated a solution at TCEA: Its Personalized Career Readiness System helps middle and high schools prepare their students for college or a career.

This series of web-based programs helps students prepare for their future through personalized, project-based learning and career exploration, WIN Learning says. It creates individual career plans for students based on their interests, helping them see the relevance of their education. Users can analyze current and projected labor market data, identify required education and training for potential career pathways, measure students’ individual career readiness and skill development, and build mastery around the foundational, behavioral, and attitudinal skills that employers demand.

eSchool News Staff

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