Posts made in August, 2019

5 Things to Look For If Selecting Online Materials

5 Things to Look For If Selecting Online Materials

Recently, at a friend’s birthday party, the conversation quickly turned to back-to-school issues. Several friends began discussing their school district’s continuing adoption of online materials. One friend commented that when her older son’s school had moved to online materials almost exclusively last year, he did fine in his Economics class but really struggled in Physics. She told him to check out a textbook for that course, and almost immediately, his grades improved. My friends then began comparing how their children each learn and debating the relative virtues of printed versus online materials.

That conversation reminded me of the blog post we published recently about a Hechinger Report article titled, “A Textbook Dilemma: Digital or Paper?” Several of the points in this article align with distinguishing features we observe in our reviews of online materials. 

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Print Versus Digital Materials: What the Research Says

Print Versus Digital Materials: What the Research Says

If your district is gearing up for an adoption this year, part of your selection calculation likely will be whether to purchase print or digital/online materials.  An article in the Hechinger Report  titled, “A Textbook Dilemma: Digital or Paper?” may be useful.

The article discusses Patricia Alexander’s review of research on this topic. Ms. Alexander is an educational psychologist and a literacy scholar at the University of Maryland. Despite numerous (878) potentially relevant studies on the topic, Ms. Alexander pointed out that “only 36 [studies] directly compared reading in digital and in print and measured learning in a reliable way.” Despite the need for further research on this topic, Ms. Alexander found that numerous studies affirm the finding that: “if you are reading something lengthy – more than 500 words or more than a page of the book or screen – your comprehension will likely take a hit if you’re using a digital device.” This pertained to college students as well as students in elementary, middle, and high school.    

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Teacher Shortages

With school starting, districts across the country are scrambling to find teachers for their classrooms.  Yesterday, educators and policymakers gathered in Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend the Oklahoma Teacher Pipeline Summit to discuss long-term solutions to the teacher shortage.  Some of the policy-based solutions that were discussed include:

  • State-funded loan forgiveness, scholarships or signing bonuses for university-prepared teachers who commit to working in a public school;
  • State funded paid student teacher internships;
  • University-created courses to prepare future educators for subject specific knowledge (e.g., the Tulsa University is creating a STEM minor for future teachers), pedagogical knowledge, and skills educators need to support today’s students, including courses in childhood trauma.

An interim legislative study on policy solutions to address teacher shortages is anticipated.

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New Product: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Into Literature for High School ELA (CCSS)

New Product: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Into Literature for High School ELA (CCSS)

Are your teachers ready for new ELA materials for high school?  Take a look at Learning List’s reviews of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Into Literature.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Into Literature is a comprehensive literacy program that supports English language arts instruction for grades 9 through 12. Content is available in print and digital formats. Instruction develops students’ reading, writing, listening, speaking, and thinking skills with learning activities that provide numerous opportunities and structures for effective group and partner work.

Into Literature integrates reading and writing instruction. The program provides an abundance of high-quality, thought provoking reading selections.  Text sets for each unit correlate to numerous themes and topics. Formal writing instruction occurs at the end of units and generally serves as a culminating task.

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New Product: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Science Dimensions for NGSS

New Product: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Science Dimensions for NGSS

Does your district need instructional materials to support implementation of the NGSS? Take a look at Learning List’s reviews of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Science Dimensions.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Science Dimensions is a comprehensive science program for grades K-12. Learning List has reviewed the materials for middle school Life, Earth and Space, and Physical Science. Science Dimensions provides relevant, real-world opportunities for students to work and think like scientists and engineers. The material supports the intention of the Next Generation Science Standards by consistently providing students with three-dimensional learning experiences, integrating the Cross-Cutting Concepts and Science and Engineering Practices with the Disciplinary Core Ideas.

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