Posts Tagged "History"

5 Considerations When Selecting Credit Recovery Materials

5 Considerations When Selecting Credit Recovery Materials

The goal of credit recovery programs is to help students recover credit and increase the likelihood of on-time high school graduation. Credit recovery is challenging to schedule and manage and is frequently a significant expense for districts. State requirements for credit recovery vary, but one element they have in common is the need to provide quality instructional materials that meet the needs of the students.

Learning List has reviewed numerous credit recovery materials. We share the following 5 factors to consider when selecting instructional materials for credit recovery.

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New Product Reviews: Glynlyon’s Odysseyware High School Social Studies Courses

Learning List has reviewed five of Glynlyon’s Odysseyware comprehensive social studies courses for Texas high schools. Each course addresses the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and supports instruction in self-paced and credit-recovery programs and blended learning environments. Content incorporates instructional videos, grade-appropriate texts, games, and interactive learning activities. A brief description of each course is provided below. [Read more…]

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New Reviews: Apex Learning’s Texas World History

Apex Learning Logo

[source: Apex Learning]

Apex Learning’s Texas World History is a year-long, online course in world history for Texas high school students. Resources support instruction in self-paced, remediation, and credit recovery programs. Instruction focuses on building students’ reading, writing, and historical thinking skills. Learning List has recently completed reviews of the materials for high school students.

Texas World History is available in two versions: core and prescriptive. The core version supports instruction in core classes and the prescriptive version supports credit recovery programs. Both versions cover the same content, but the prescriptive version includes prescriptive pretests for each unit. In both versions, content is presented chronologically and divided in two semesters made up of six instructional units. Each semester focuses on a discrete set of historical thinking skills (e.g., causation, chronology).

Units begin with a short video overview in which engaging characters and teachers introduce new content with age-appropriate humor. Content is written at grade level and includes tools to help struggling readers. Writing activities are integrated throughout instruction. Online pages have worksheets with questions that help students take notes and prepare for quizzes and exams. Other materials include an interactive syllabus, study tips, glossary of key terms, printable readings, and research tips, such as avoiding plagiarism and citing sources.

About Apex Learning*

Founded in 1997, Apex Learning is the leading provider of blended and virtual learning solutions to the nation’s schools. The company’s standards-based digital curriculum — in math, science, English, social studies, world languages, and Advanced Placement® — is widely used for original credit, credit recovery, remediation, intervention, acceleration, and exam preparation.

Schools across the country are successfully using Apex Learning digital curriculum to meet the needs of students, from building foundational skills to creating opportunities for advanced coursework.

*The content provided here was provided by or adapted from Apex Learning.

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New Reviews: WorldView Software – Online Social Studies

[Source: Worldview Software]

[Source: Worldview Software]

WorldView Software provides a set of comprehensive, online social studies courses for use with middle school and high school students. Course resources support instruction in self-paced educational programs and may be used to supplement instruction for students in need of remediation or credit recovery. Courses do not include print materials, although some online content may be downloaded as PDFs. Learning List has recently completed editorial reviews for the following TEKS-based instructional materials, some of which are state-adopted.

For students in grade 8, WorldView provides Basic American History I, which covers the historical period spanning the arrival of the first native people in North America to Reconstruction. High school courses include:

  • World Geography: An Interactive Approach: An exploration of each of the world’s major regions that considers how geography shapes the economies and cultures of the countries in each region.
  • World History A: A one-semester survey course covering the Neolithic period, early civilizations, medieval monarchies, the nation states of Europe, the development of Japan, the Ming Dynasty in China, and the Ages of Exploration and Revolution.
  • World History B: A follow up, second-semester course that begins by examining the effects of nationalism on Western Europe and surveys recent world history through the Cold War and the post-World War II changes felt in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.
  • Basic American History II: Post Civil War: An examination of the historical period spanning Westward expansion through the Obama presidency.
  • Economics: An Interactive Approach: A course that introduces students to key concepts in economics, including scarcity, economic theories, supply and demand, the business cycle, and the role of the consumer.
  • U.S. Government: An Interactive Approach: A course that covers the branches of American government and includes chapters on political culture, political parties, campaigns and voting, and state and local government.

For each course, content is presented in chapters, but may be reorganized by activity type (e.g., Case Studies, Maps, Tutorials) or by social studies themes (e.g., civics, globalization, immigration). Each chapter begins with a short introductory overview that includes a computerized audio reader to support struggling readers and ELLs.

Chapters include case studies, primary source documents, and essay prompts. Case studies provide in-depth coverage of important figures and key events and include short-answer questions. Primary source documents have a short introduction that provides the context for the document and information about its author(s) and are followed by document-based questions. Essay prompts are provided in two formats: Guided and Non-guided. Guided prompts provide support in for writing a five-paragraph essay, including hints about main ideas and example paragraphs. Non-guided prompts do not include supports. Each chapter includes a glossary; links to related artwork, maps, and graphs; opportunities to conduct projects and Internet research; and multiple choice questions to support test preparation.

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New Reviews: USHistory.org Open Educational Resources (OER)

[Source: USHistory.org]

[Source: USHistory.org]

USHistory.org provides free open-educational resources (OERs) to support social studies instruction in high school and home schooling environments. USHistory.org is owned by the Independence Hall Association, whose mission in providing OERs is to provide a forum for learning and discussing American history and values. The website provides comprehensive online textbooks for courses in American History, Ancient Civilizations, and American Government. Course authors are not identified.

Each course’s informational text is written at a level that most high school students will understand and includes relevant visual elements, including political cartoons, images of key documents and figures, and illustrations that clarify written content. Content is designed to engage adolescent readers; however, Learning List’s reviewers found explanations sometimes oversimplified the complexity and significance of historical events. For example, an opening paragraph to a section titled “The Colonial Experience” in American Government reads:

[Source: USHistory.org]

[Source: USHistory.org]

They created and nurtured them. Like children, the American colonies grew and flourished under British supervision. Like many adolescents, the colonies rebelled against their parent country by declaring independence. But the American democratic experiment did not begin in 1776. The COLONIES had been practicing limited forms of self-government since the early 1600s.

Each course includes unique features, such as “Share Your Thoughts,” which allows students to share their thinking on topics discussed in the text and read the thoughts of others—content is monitored by the site’s webmaster. The “Cite This Page” tool provides reference information for students using content as source material for a project or research paper. Sidebar resources include reader-suggested links to external resources that contain primary source documents, biographies of key figures, background information, and related activities (e.g., build a guillotine). Sidebar content also contains advertising targeted to individual users.

Courses do not include many features of a traditional textbook. For example, learning objectives, new vocabulary and terms, and essential questions are not clarified prior to instruction. There are no teacher resources or embedded opportunities to practice social studies skills (e.g., using maps, analyzing primary source documents). There are few checks for understanding, and no digital learning experiences, such as interactive timelines, video segments, and audio files. Further, there are no resources for students with special learning needs, such as English language learners and struggling readers. Although USHistory.org’s courses are comprehensive, Learning List’s reviewers indicated that they would be more effective when used as supplemental instructional resources.

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