A new online math learning program from McGraw Hill makes it easy and affordable for students and adult learners to prepare for their math placement test, get extra help over the summer, or refresh their skills before returning to college.
ALEKS MathReady is a direct-to-student version of McGraw Hill’s personalized ALEKS program that is used by millions of K-12 and college students to accelerate their math learning and help them succeed in their courses. It is $9.95 for the first month, $24.95 for three months, and $19.95 for each additional month after that.
For students entering college, math placement and college level math courses can be a challenge and are among the contributing reasons that students fall behind or drop out. College math courses often have high failure rates, largely because many new college students lack the foundational math skills needed to be successful. For some, a trusted tutor is a proven model for learning math and reducing math anxiety, yet the high cost of tutoring and scheduling tutorial sessions are barriers. ALEKS MathReady is an affordable alternative for those who are looking for math support.
ALEKS MathReady is a self-paced, online math learning program that is rooted in research and analytics. ALEKS efficiently guides learning by identifying what topics students don’t know and then focusing them on practicing topics they are ready to learn next. With this personalized learning approach, students learn and retain topics efficiently with real-time feedback to keep them motivated and engaged, while reaching their goals.
By Melinda Kong, director of instructional design and learning management system, Nyack College
As we emerge from the last few months of the sudden online teaching shift for courses intended for classroom settings, there are a few glaring lessons learned that will help propel educators forward into the future. While much is still unknown for what the next several months will hold, it is certain that online classwork will be a predominant feature in education.
The methods of online teaching will look different within each education context from K12 to higher education, but one thing is certain; online learning is here to stay and we must adapt to the needs of current and incoming students.
We will likely see a mix of three offerings when thinking about the new normal of distanced learning; the continued implementation of hybrid courses, full fall terms taught online-only, and even HyFlex courses, in which students will be able to be in either face-to-face classes or join virtually when needed.
As educators, it’s important to look at what happened as courses were quickly moved online and learn from what was able to be accomplished. Understanding what worked well and what didn’t will help all educators grow and adopt better pedagogy for online instruction.
Foundationally all courses, despite their delivery makeup, involve diligent planning. All teachers, whether in a face-to-face classroom, online course, or a mix of the two, plan extensively for their courses.
Like everything else post-COVID-19, schools are going to look different this fall. As teachers, we are grappling with that fact and trying to determine exactly how we will help our students come September. Will in-person classroom instruction resume? If so, will wide spaces between desks suffice, or will districts rely on staggered schedules to keep COVID at bay? Will cafeterias and playgrounds remain closed, and what could take their place?
While the future remains uncertain, we can count on one thing: distance learning will remain a part of the plan. Fortunately, this time around, educators have time and experience on their side. Following a tough transition period for most schools, Summer break provides the perfect opportunity to evaluate, invest in, and enhance school-wide PD and distance learning programs.
Educators can use this time to heighten their professional development by taking an online course that helps them transfer their skills from the classroom to a virtual classroom setting. As leaders in teacher training, Professional Learning Board responded to the stay-at-home orders by providing a free, five-hour course, giving teachers the tools they need to succeed in a virtual classroom.
In districts across the country, several common problems have slowed, even prevented, consistent learning this past semester. The priority needs to focus on these important areas:
Removing barriers to equity in remote learning. Every student and instructor needs access to a device and reliable connectivity at home.Some cities have developed partnerships with foundations and technology companies to provide free high-speed internet access to families, and a congressional measure to make it more widely and consistently available is on the table.
Although numerous factors contribute to student success, many of today’s digital learning activities that drive great achievement begin with consistent broadband access. And while most of the nation’s schools have internet access, a recent report by the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), indicates that the quality and type of connectivity varies significantly – resulting in digital divides across the country.
When upgrading their IT architecture, school districts will sometimes fail to ensure their network has the capacity to support a growing number of devices and technologies coming into their classrooms, which area necessity for 21st-century learning. But luckily, there are a few ways that education IT leaders can plan to ensure their infrastructures can support school technology for years to come. Here’s how:
Wi-Fi connectivity needed for growing number of devices
Today’s K-12 students will enter a workforce that demands tech savviness, problem solving and critical thinking, among other skills. To be prepared, students must have the tools, in school and at home, to thrive in an increasingly digital community. Therefore, addressing sufficient broadband and ensuring digital equity aren’t simply wants – they’re needs.
When thinking about technology in schools, what comes to mind? Augmented, virtual or blended reality, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence? What about high-tech whiteboards, smart pods and one-to-one laptops or tablets?
To embrace these innovative learning environments and advanced methodologies, and others like them, schools need adequate intranet infrastructure. Without it, teachers who want to employ innovative, technology-enabled pedagogical methods are forced to abandon their lesson plans. As 87%of the country’s teachers use digital learning in their classroom, those left without the proper digital foundation can feel left in the dust.
By Matt Yeh, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Delphix
Nearly ten years ago, Marc Andreesen, one of the world’s most influential investors, famously proclaimed that “software is eating the world.” At the time, no one understood the magnitude of what that meant. But today, the world’s most powerful and prosperous companies are software companies that have brought a tidal wave of digital innovation and disruption to almost every industry from retail and banking to manufacturing and insurance.
And the next frontier for software? Education.
In the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic and mandated “social distancing” measures, the demand for digital services and software has skyrocketed. Schools across the country have begun planning for what just weeks ago was an unthinkable scenario: a fall semester without students on campus.
As educators prepare for what could be a dramatically different start to the upcoming school year, students and teachers alike need much more than “Zoom University” (which is going through its own coronavirus growing pains) in providing high-quality online learning experiences.
From K-12 to community colleges and public and private universities, the education industry needs to adopt a new playbook for the digital world. For example, the automotive industry is undergoing a tremendous shift towards digitally-enabled car-sharing, ride-hailing and autonomous vehicles.
In order to transform their road to success, organizations in this industry have had to transform how they leverage data and software to meet new business models.
Even prior to COVID-19, online tutoring had become the norm. However, many students and parents were still hesitant. Now 100% of lessons are happening online, with all the real-time interaction that you’d experience in-person.
COVID-19 has changed the way that school is taught in America, at least for the foreseeable future. Online classrooms, parent-assisted homeschooling, and academic “dips” are just a few of the challenges that teachers and students face today. Now, more than ever, educators and parents have discovered a need to be armed with strategies to engage students to not only keep their attention but help them navigate this seismic change in learning delivery methods.
What lessons have we learned from the transition to virtual learning?
As schools begin to consider plans for reopening across America, parents, teachers, students and administrators are looking to evaluate what worked when schools closed this past spring, and what didn’t. What they find will help to inform decisions around how to incorporate social distancing and online learning into traditional K-12 education in the future. Here are a few of the lessons that the transition out of the classroom and into virtual learning has taught us about how kids learn, both in the school building and online.
There isn’t one style of teaching that works for every student
Rather than choosing only one method of teaching, it’s important to consider each learning style to create an environment that boosts the value for all types of students. In a virtual learning situation, teachers find that using tools such as digital breakout rooms for group discussions, having a real-life whiteboard to write on versus a slide show, adding videos, using interactive polls, and group activities can help connect and engage students who are used to face-to-face interactions.
Virtual classrooms can help teachers connect with every student
One unique opportunity in the virtual classroom is making interaction easier for shy and introverted students who may not normally participate heavily in person. Educators can use a roll-call system to call on each student to respond to a prompt and make sure each person is involved. Virtual classrooms and technology allow teachers to connect with students in innovative, new ways that can increase engagement, an important step in helping kids retain the information that is being presented.
Students need encouragement and empathy to keep them engaged
In normal times, teachers create lesson plans that are delivered to kids face-to-face. Now, these same lessons are being delivered virtually and often there is a gap between the teacher-created information and the child’s ability to comprehend the material. In traditional classrooms, this would be handled by the teacher. In the virtual learning space, online tutors have stepped in to help fill this void with supplemental materials and a personalized approach to learning that can help a student continue academic progress, even away from the traditional school building.
Higher education is struggling to adapt to the current pandemic in unprecedented ways. Campuses across the country are shut down, students have evacuated their dorms, and instructors are scrambling to move their classrooms completely online.
It’s not just about homework and assignments — teachers are trying to engage students while re-imagining the entire classroom experiences in real-time. It begs the questions: What does the classroom of the future really look like? And how can parents, educators, and students best understand and prepare for this new reality?
It starts with the obvious: remove the barrier of physical location with remote learning options. Next is community. Foster student engagement and maintain support systems to ensure digital classrooms are still just as accessible as they are effective.
The classroom of the future will have to meet students where they are, building on basic remote operations with inventive, interactive curriculum and accessible financing options designed so that diverse communities can succeed in this new normal.
The classroom of the future is live, interactive, and entirely online.
In 2016, nearly a third of all students took an online education course, and in the past two decades, the technology needed to offer full courses online has improved significantly.
Online learning offers flexibility and often complements in-person courses or lectures. For many students, however, remote learning is the only option. It opens up access to students who would otherwise be out of reach. In particular, students who are their family’s primary caretaker, those who live far from brick-and-mortar institutions, or those with disabilities are sometimes excluded or discouraged from enrolling in higher education without online options. Remote instruction, by design, brings more students into the fold.
Online instructors, though, have a challenge to meet: creating a learning experience that extends beyond a recorded lecture. To ensure student success long-term, student engagement and community building within a virtual classroom is critical. Impact can be easily lost behind a screen, but if you focus on live and collaborative instruction versus static recordings, students feel empowered and held accountable to play an active role in their experience.
Specifically, maintain smaller group settings, no matter how large the lectures are. Have students start and end days in breakout peer groups, where they can have deeper 1:1 discussions and opportunity for collaboration. One way we’ve utilized this at Lambda School is by using Zoom’s breakout function to seamlessly split students off into virtual small-groups during larger lectures. We also facilitate regional student meet-ups in person as well as peer-to-peer communication via Slack to maintain a sense of student body unity.
It was an early Sunday morning in late February at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark, the venue for TechOlympics 2020, the nation’s largest student-run conference that promotes career pathways in information technology to Greater Cincinnati high schoolers. Some 16 students were lining up for a workshop hosted by Abre, an education management platform company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The workshop focused on giving student attendees an opportunity to build education software applications using the platform and leveraging the Abre Appathon framework. Abre has previously held Appathons for local student and educator groups, and this was the second time we hosted one for Cincinnati’s premier tech event for students.
The app development session was an opportunity for students to define problems within their school and develop their own Abre apps as solutions. This session walked students through what Abre is, how Abre works, and how to design and wireframe an app using free online tools.
Rolling in prior to start time, enthusiastic students introduced themselves to Abre team members and made LinkedIn connections. Another student excitedly shared that he’d already attended an Abre Appathon at his school and was even sporting an Abre t-shirt.
Soon after 9 a.m., we were ready to get started. The students sat in small groups of 2-3, which was perfect for the group work they would be doing later in the workshop. Chris Rose, Abre co-founder and VP of Product, Zach Vander Veen, Abre co-founder and VP of Instruction, and I introduced ourselves and shared our current roles and past experiences working in schools. The students shared their names and where they went to high school. Then, Chris and Zach took the lead to dive into the workshop.
Zach opened with a question: “What kind of learning tools do you use at school, to complete and turn in assignments and see where your teachers post your grades?”
Students called out a handful of education technology tools. “There are literally thousands of technology tools that exist,” Zach continued. He discussed how the more software schools use, the more complex managing the software can become, with multiple passwords to recall and poor integrations between the different software. It can sometimes result in a digital overload for users.
Because most schools have moved to virtual learning environments in response to COVID-19, what are the likely long-term outcomes of this?
(Higher Digital) Most institutions have treated and viewed online courses and programs as a nice-to-have. The long-term impact for every school should make it clear that distance/online learning is a must have especially for the enduring viability and health of the institution. Education and training needs are increasing within every industry, but accessibility and affordability for most institutions has been a lower priority outside of their current business model. Institutions need to incorporate their IT strategy into their short and long-term strategy of the institution —and I think that more will be open to such changes after the challenges of responding to COVID-19.
Will more schools embrace distance learning once we’re beyond the pandemic? If so, what will that look like? Will some educational entities move beyond physical classrooms altogether?
Yes, institutions must make sure that they can keep operations going while supporting and continuing to teach their students regardless of location, and many more will take this seriously now. In a worst-case scenario, COVID-19 will continue to impact in-person classes and schooling while there is still a search for a vaccine, so it’s critical to continue to invest in improving their online operations, support, and outcomes that also improve their accessibility and affordability.
Non-verbal communications are 95% of communications; in addition, learning and engaging with classmates in-person remain valuable. What will happen is that more students overall will have access to courses and programs. To make this a possibility, institutions should consider broadening their offerings to make distance learning as meaningful and engaging as they possibly can. This in turn will also help institutions to expand their recruiting and enrollment pool.
In essence, what is the future of classroom-based learning and the technology that plays a role in providing instruction?
“The gap between in-person and distance learning will continue to shrink as technology innovation becomes more immersive. The demand from students, both traditional and non-traditional, and employers continues to increase, but as an industry, higher education has been slow to embrace and expand digital investment that delivers on a strategic mission. In other words, higher education has been too focused on tactical and operational technology investments – important investments but ones that have proven to fall short in the wake of COVID-19. While most schools currently provide a hybrid teaching experience of online and in-person learning, technology must play a larger role moving forward.”
Tools4ever, a leading provider of identity and access management solutions in education, is proud to announce a partnership with Instructure, an education technology provider.
Tools4ever has offered customers an integration between its cloud-based single sign-on (SSO) solution, HelloID, and Instructure’s web-based learning management platform, Canvas.
Tools4ever and Instructure are now officially formalizing the partnership.
Both Canvas and HelloID are deployed in the cloud, offering joint customers a streamlined user experience with instant and secure access.
By using HelloID’s SSO dashboard, students can easily access all of their resources, including Canvas, within one centralized location. HelloID was created to simplify any district’s access and approval processes and offers a large selection of features, including “service automation” (self-service), single sign-on, access management, account provisioning, and other solutions.
“We are excited to officially announce our new partnership with Instructure,” said Tom Mowatt, managing director of Tools4ever. “For a while now, we have integrated our solutions identity management solutions with their learning management system, Canvas, and we are pleased to formalize this collaboration.”
Instructure provides a learning management platform, Canvas, that makes teaching and learning easier. Canvas helps teachers personalize learning for students in an effective and scalable way.