Tuesday, September 22, 2015

My introduction to Edmentum products

I spent Monday at an Edmentum training. Fun, I know, hold your jealousy. But what I learned is actually pretty useful and applicable to any classroom.
The Edmentum products that we have are Plato and Study Island (this one is new to us). Most of us know Plato is our OnTrackCreditRecovery curriculum, but there’s a lot more in there that we have access to as teachers. Study Island is a way for students to practice test questions or for teachers to use as quick, pre-built formative assessments. I can see ways that these can be used in many, if not most, classrooms in order to support the instruction from the teacher.
In Plato, a teacher can use certain aspects of the content inside the Plato program to remediate, or back fill skills that are necessary but you may be lacking the time to do in class. In my own practice as an English teacher, I can see assigning my students the grammar lessons to cover/review content the students need, but get lost in the mix while trying to teach literature. Or if there is a group of students that need a piece of content, but the rest of the class doesn’t (again, English, review of nouns and verbs), then I can assign independent work for students that meets their individual (or group) needs. There are a few ways to do this depending on your goals, but it doesn’t take that much time on your part as the teacher.
Study Island on the other hand is a place where students can practice questions for a variety of purposes. It has everything from practice AP questions, to SAT/ACT questions, SBAC, to course specific questions. As a teacher you can assign a concept for students who then can work on their own taking the test questions. Or you can use it as a quick formative assessment to get an idea of where your students are without having to create an assessment. Or students can access it on their own working based on their own goals. There is very little ‘teaching’ in Study Island, although there is a review for many areas prior to the start of questions. This is for students to practice answering questions that look the way they will look on ‘the real test;’ whichever test that may be. Again, the set up depends on what you want out of it, but it’s pretty simple to do.
In summary, integrating pieces of Plato can help teachers differentiate, remediate, or just use content as a bank of material/test items. Study Island allows students to practice with the content and skills being asked of them either for their own benefit, or for you to get an idea of where your students are at.
If you are interested, or just curious, give me a call and we can look at it together. I’m looking at setting up a workshop for each as well in the near future.

*To be clear, my school has purchased these tools from Edmentum and I am exploring how to best utilize them in my school with my colleagues and for the benefit of our students. I am not affiliated with Edmentum in any other way.

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