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April 02, 2008

Below is a list of a few of my favorite open source applications for the desktop. Most are available for any platform, and many are available on the OpenDisc for Windows systems (which you can download here, or, if you are a Saugus employee, simply ask and we'll send you one.) It's important to keep in mind that these applications:
  • Are free
  • Can be given to students to install and use at home
  • Offer educators the opportunity to introduce new technologies in their educational environement
  • Provide essential skills that are transferrable to applications of similar types in the commercial world
More ...

Posted by Jim Klein | 5 comment(s) | Share This

August 06, 2007

I've been thinking about this for several days after reading Jim's posted questions about the effect, or lack of effect, of the various student improvement software that is used.  I know that here in Saugus we have Reading Counts, Read 180, Read Naturally, Study Island, and several other programs used both in the classroom and in Intervention sessions.

At the moment I think the results are still out.  Mostly because there is more to improving student achievement than just providing software programs that taunt their expertise.  Don't get me wrong, I do believe that these programs can definitely make a difference in student achievement, but there is more to just providing software for students to use.

 We have become so entrenched in teaching the curriculum we often don't look at the assessment data that should drive our curriculum and intervention.  Do we need a reading program that emphasizes comprehension when what some students need is word analysis and vocabulary?  Do we need a math program that works on application  when students don't know their basic math facts?   Unless we take the time to determine what each child needs in our classrooms - using just the STAR data, or using Edusoft - and following up with regular benchmarks to determine that the students have mastered the standard, we will never be able to provide in class, or out of class, intervention to improve student achievement.   

There are plenty of software programs out there that provide the necessary skills for students to improve as long as we know what a student needs.  For those students who have participated in consistent intervention directed at their individual needs and where benchmarks have been taken, it would not surprise me that their scores have improved.

 

Keywords: intervention, software, STAR testing

Posted by Arlene Anderson | 4 comment(s) | Share This


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