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Categories: Math and Language Arts
In EdSurge Case Studies, educators share their real-life experiences with edtech in their schools and classrooms.
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Robyn, @salineschools
IT Coach, Saline Area Schools, Michigan
1:1 devices, College prep classroom, Project-based classroom, Blended learning classroom, and Special education students

We weren’t addressing an issue in our District. We were using the product to live our District Strategic Framework. In our District, we aim to provide student led - future focused education through personalized blended and rigorous learning opportunities that support any pace learning.

Product Use: We currently use eSpark in our K-2 classrooms to support curriculum and student differentiated needs. Most of our teachers use the product daily in a rotational workshop mode for both reading and math.

What Worked and What Didn't: We have had many successful years implementing the eSpark platform. We appreciate how eSpark gathers feedback from teachers and users to make improvements to the platform each year.

Age Group: Elementary school students

Oct 12, 2017 Provide Feedback
Kdg. teacher, New Jersey
1:1 devices, Blended learning classroom, and High ELL population

Difficulty in differentiating and meeting children on their level.

Product Use: Used as an ELA center.

What Worked and What Didn't: Students are challenged at the level of competency they are at.
I don't know what didn't work.

Age Group: Elementary school students

Oct 10, 2017 Provide Feedback
High School Math Teacher/Middle School STEM Teacher, Pennsylvania
1:1 devices, Project-based classroom, Special education students, and Low income population

The problem we were facing in our school is that we had large gaps in our student's abilities. Students were coming into a 3rd grade class from as low as a kindergarten reading level to a sixth grade level, even in classes of less than 20 students. We also had 1-to-1 iPads in our elementary, but they weren't being used to their full potential. In order to have students grow, and provide instruction where they need it, we partnered with eSpark to offer individualized instruction via the iPads through apps and websites, all managed by eSpark. The eSpark app places each student where they need to be in math and/or reading, based on benchmark testing given by the school district. From there, the students can work at, below, or above grade level at their own pace.

Product Use: I use the product in my 8th grade general math class. The students use it twice a week for 30 minutes a session. It allows them to work on remedial skills, or sharpen skills that are being taught right at the moment. I can assign "quests" that focus on what we're learning in class as a review activity, or I can let the students work on skills that they are lacking. The problem is that I get 8th graders on a 5th grade math leve, but I can't teach them all of 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math, and have them pass the state standardized test. eSpark is closing the gaps in their education at the students' own pace, using fun apps, games, and internet based activities.

What Worked and What Didn't: I believe that eSpark is working great in our elementary school. We recently purchased the ELA package in addition to the math package we had before. I think my students as 8th graders sometimes think it's geared more towards younger students, and I feel the same way. I wish they had a program for older students that was still fun, appropriate content, but was geared more towards their age. Older kids get left out of programs that are engaging so often.

Age Group: High school students and Middle school students

Oct 6, 2017 Provide Feedback
2nd grade teacher, Illinois
Special education students and Low income population

We were looking for a way to differentiate and incorporate iPads in the classroom. eSpark met the needs of all learners using MAP data and gave teachers a great option for student choice.

Product Use: I use eSpark as a station during guided reading. In the beginning I teach eSpark at the reading table and help students establish routines. They are now independent with the product. Students fill out video forms to answer questions which is a great way to check in with them and see if they are able to summarize their learning.

What Worked and What Didn't: The hardest part is that eSpark controls your iPads. I can't just put an app on their or use my iTunes card. That can be frustrating. Sometimes the higher level questions can be hard for 2nd graders. They are reading at a higher level but the questions and tasks are often complex and hard for them to follow independently. As for what worked, I like the variety and student choice. The students are comfortable with the iPads and can work at their own pace. Students scores improve on MAP.

Age Group: Elementary school students

Oct 5, 2017 Provide Feedback
2nd grade teacher, Philadelphia Charter School for the Arts and Sciences, Pennsylvania
1:1 devices, Special education students, and Low income population

We were given 1 to 1 ipads per classroom when administration came across eSparks. We are an inner city, high poverty school with classrooms of all different reading levels both above and below level. We needed a program that was not too difficult for struggling readers, but not too “boring” for our high achievers. We also needed a product that would keep young students engaged and entertained. As a 2nd grade teacher I understand how quickly my 7 year olds can lose interest in a task or app if it doesn’t appeal to them. eSparks did all of this and more.

Product Use: We use this product daily in our instruction. My students are on it anywhere between 20-45 minutes a day and we switch between subjects. Monday and Wednesday we do Reading, Tuesday and Thursday Math and Friday is students choice.

What Worked and What Didn't: The program itself worked wonders. The students are all working on different topics and the topics are constantly covered even if we are not currently teaching them. It is a wonderful supplement to our instruction especially because it covers topics we are unable to get to just yet and this is a major help when it comes to benchmark and state testing. The assignments are great as well because we can assign students specific topics we want them to learn about and see their progress. An old feature that wasn’t working for us was when the quests could be passed with a failing test score. Now eSparks gives students 3 tries to pass and this makes teachers very happy. One thing that never worked for us was the ardent notebooks, it was too much work and the kids weren’t interested. One thing that did work (or is a nice touch) is the survey of students after an app. Students love being asked “did you like this game” and feeling like they have an opinion.

Age Group: Elementary school students

Oct 4, 2017 Provide Feedback
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