Posts Tagged "NPR"


20140611 Blog ISTE grabberAs school leaders prepare for the 2014-2015 school year, one challenge remains in the forefront of Superintendents’ and Curriculum Directors’ minds: With thousands of instructional materials to choose from, how can we choose the right standards-aligned resources for our students’ needs?

Recently featured on NPR , Learning List is a low-cost, subscription-based instructional materials review service for schools and districts. Think of Learning List as a combination of Consumer Reports® and Angie’s List™ for K-12 instructional materials and online courses.

If you need a cost-effective way to select standards-aligned instructional materials, Learning List can help. We invite you to JOIN US at ISTE 2014 for a brief reception to learn more about how Learning List can simplify and expedite your district’s selection processat 5:30PM on Sunday, June 29 (see invitation below). The reception will include refreshments, snacks and Door Prizes. You can RSVP here.

If you can’t make it, request a webinar to see the reviews and tools on

ISTE Reception

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3 Options for Teaching to the Common Core Standards

commoncore1 mapAs millions of students across the country embark on their summer vacation, thousands of schools will be working hard to re-architect the textbooks, lesson plans and homework that will be needed to launch Common Core curriculum during the next school year. A recent article about Common Core implementation (Teachers Hit the Common Core Wall), cited three options school administrators, curriculum directors and superintendents can use to help teachers teach Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

First, schools can maintain the status quo. Few, if any, schools and educational staff are likely to pursue this route because students will be taking new Common Core-based tests that are designed to better prepare them for college and careers. However, the biggest challenges toward redesigning school curriculum will be budget constraints, limited or fewer staff and insufficient time to complete a daunting task across many subjects and all grade levels.

Second, schools can purchase new instructional materials. Caveat emptor: let the buyer beware. Being able to separate the wheat from the chaff to determine which materials are aligned to CCSS and which are not is a task that requires subject matter experts, instructional specialists and the engagement of teachers across all grade levels to ensure that the content, context and cognitive demands of the materials are compliant to Common Core standards. Just because a book may be labeled as “Common Core-aligned” doesn’t make it so. Another blog post touched upon this challenge: The Top 5 Things Content Developers Are Getting Wrong.

Jackie Lain, Founder and President of Learning List, sought to remedy this challenge with a subscription service by and for educators. As Lain shared in the NPR article,

“I kept thinking to myself, ‘Why is every district spending money and taking teachers out of classrooms, reviewing essentially the same instructional materials?'”

The industry-leading service quickly identifies which materials are aligned with specific state standards and the percentage of alignment. Yet if one textbook is only 90% aligned, there is a fill-in-the-gap tool that identifies what material(s) can cover the remaining 10%. Thus a set of materials can be used to achieve 100% alignment because it is rare to find any one resource that is 100% aligned to the Common Core.

Finally, there is the DIY (Do It Yourself) option. School administrators would need to assemble a task force of experts across subjects and grade levels to determine what types of existing and new materials may be used to ensure alignment to Common Core with some of the same challenges/constraints as the first option. They could also leverage recommendations from non-profit organizations or use Open Educational Resources. However, some states have centralized the instructional materials selection process while others are decentralized – each school district, area or region within the state must complete their own instructional materials selection and adoption process.

Whichever option is chosen from the three above, we can be assured that the educational landscape is rapidly changing. Stay tuned for more developments along the road to Common Core State Standards.


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Content in Context: What’s New for the Instructional Materials Review/Adoption Process?

Content in ContextDuring June 2-4, several hundred representatives from publishing companies, EdTech companies and other educational service providers will be gathering for the Content in Context (CIC) Conference in the Capital Hilton in Washington. D.C. ; as the learning resource industry changes at an exponential pace, CIC is the premier event for presenting preK-12 strategies and advice to develop quality education content regardless of medium. The American Association of Publishers PreK-12 Learning Group, a division within AAP, organizes the event.

One of the most significant sessions will be featured at 11AM EDT on June 3rd: New Directions/Challenges in Review and Adoption of Instructional Materials (IM). This session will feature Jackie Lain, President of Learning List and Alan Griffin, Technology Support Specialist for Curriculum Content for the Utah State Office of Education.

Here’s a brief preview of the topic: As new IM adoption policies and digital learning programs launch in many states, new IM review processes are being implemented to ensure that IM align with state standards. Prior to any significant process changes, reviewers must ask questions about standards alignment, personalized learning objectives and coordinating assessments. Additionally, many states are decentralizing the IM purchase process  so that even if an IM is adopted by a state, it doesn’t guarantee state-wide contracts. Jackie will share what changed in the Texas state IM adoption processes and how that may impact trends across the country as other states seek to align with their own state standards. What changes are you seeing in the IM review and adoption processes in your state?

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October 2021