Keeping It Real 

We value the opportunity to step out of the office and meet face to face with teachers and administrators. On Friday, March 8, we did just that by attending the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix Teachers In-service day.

Over 600 teachers from across the Valley of the Sun gathered at St Theresa Elementary School in Phoenix. The professional development day gave participants the chance to learn new strategies that will have a direct impact on the students they teach.

It was a day of meeting new friends and talking about one of our favorite subjects, how etextbooks and online resources impact our most precious commodity…our students! And of course, we enjoyed answering all their questions (teachers have the best questions!). Not only was it great to meet everyone in person, it was also a lot of fun trading stories with this inspirational gathering of educators!

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Online Learning Scores Big in Recent Study!

A recent article in Forbes Magazine took a close look at a study reported by the International Journal of Science Education and found that science related test scores have risen.

Exciting news for etextbook and online learning advocates, such as ourselves, is that scores rose significantly more among students who had learned through online modules. Something EdTech has known all along: online learning IS an effective classroom tool.

Every classroom is filled with students who bring with them their own unique learning style. Those who may appear as ‘underachieving’ quite possibly don’t fit into the “hardbound textbook, pencil and paper” way of learning. Often struggling to engage in traditional learning many otherwise smart and talented students just give up, therefore labeled as ‘underachieving.’

The fact that online learning is a benefit to various types of learning styles was reinforced in the article by Forbes magazine saying, “Online lessons can enhance students’ understanding of science and help underachieving students close the gap with their peers. Students who took web-based units made significantly more progress than those who relied on textbooks, while the improvement was particularly marked for students with lower prior achievement.”

The results of a three-year randomized control study of more than 2300 students in 13 middle schools in Oregon and Georgia indicates online learning should be utilized in the classroom.

As part of the study, researchers tested four interactive online science units, with students tested before and after the trial. While some students learned through online units, others were taught using traditional methods, such as textbook learning.

The results of the study spoke for itself. As stated in Forbes Magazine, “Students who had taken the online units improved their test scores by an average of 16.7%, compared with 5.7% among those who had studied using traditional methods.”

Tools used by the online learners in the study incorporated  a variety of interactive features, including educational games, virtual experiments collaboration with classmates, as well as videos. Content was supported by enhanced features such as text-to-speech, pop-up definitions, interactive diagrams, and captioned videos.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Fatima Terrazas Arellanes, of the University of Oregon, concluded, “Well-designed instructional technology really works to lessen the science literacy gap among diverse groups of learners. Our work adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that instructional technology has a place in the classrooms of today and tomorrow.”

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