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In EdSurge Case Studies, educators share their real-life experiences with edtech in their schools and classrooms.
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Principal, KIPP Houston Public Schools, Texas
Blended learning classroom, Special education students, High ELL population, and Low income population

The school I led had very low reading achievement in all grade levels. Teachers were not well-equipped with real time data or intervention lessons. We were faced with a thorough school turnaround effort, and needed to focus heavily on reading. According to the NWEA MAP test, approximately 35% of our students were on or above grade level in reading.

Product Use: All teachers had hardware in their classrooms and students rotated through 30 minutes of usage daily. More skilled teachers differentiated the time students spent using the program, and used it to administer intervention lessons as well. We publically used the ISIP data to inform school-wide and classroom level intervention, communicating assessment results to kids & families as well.

What Worked and What Didn't: Without thorough training, teachers find it difficult to internalize the use of the program. Though it's generally user-friendly, it does take time to become strategic in its use. The program worked well when it was well structured in a grade level, when we had the necessary hardware in the classroom for students to use it, and when we attached teacher and student incentives to the use and growth in performance in the program.

Age Group: Pre-K students, Middle school students, and Elementary school students

Jul 18, 2016 Provide Feedback
Robin, @robinlculbreth
k-8 Title 1 Reading and 7th-8th Literature Teacher, Thompsonville CUSD #174, Illinois
1:1 devices, Special education students, and Low income population

We were looking for a program that would assess the students in literacy to meet the individual needs of students, keep data on the students to fulfill requirements for Response to Intervention, and a platform that was fun and engaging for the students. We also were looking for a program that would provide activities for the students to do on the computers that were individualized to meet each students readiness level. We implemented Istation Reading and the students responded well. The students became focused on their reading goals and worked at improving every month. Then Istation came out with the Math, and the students absolutely loved the new characters. Istation Math came along when we were looking for a product to support our students with math skills. Similar to Istation Reading, the math component also assesses the students in math skills and then the students work on engaging activities on the computer at their readiness level.

Product Use: All students in k-8 are assessed at the beginning of every month. We use the detailed data generated from each assessment for classroom, RtI, and Istation planning. The data shows where each child needs interventions, therefore we make sure each child receives that help in one-on-one, small group, or large group settings. We track the progress of students and make adjustments when needed. We have 30 minutes of Istation Tier Time every day for k-5. After the monthly assessments, each class is divided into 3 Tiers. These tiers are not by ability, but by the skills each group is going to work on. One group stays with the classroom teacher, one group goes to the Title 1 teacher, and one group goes to the Title 1 aide. The two groups with the Title 1 teacher and aide work on the Istation computer program, except for any students who need one-on-one interventions or small group interventions. Meeting the individual needs of our students has made a huge difference for our students, which shows in the monthly assessments. For grades 6-8, we have a weekly schedule that adjusts to each student's needed time, from 1 to 3 days per week. The 6th-8th graders also have interventions, but not as often since we have had Istation.

What Worked and What Didn't: In the lower grades, the students were excited when we started Istation. They were motivated for the assessment days and were continually telling us when they had done well on the activities. In our school, we have classroom teachers, special education teachers, and the Title 1 teacher working together to make Istation effective. Some of the 6th -8th graders did not take the assessments or computer activities seriously when we first began the program. Some of the students would not read the passages and guess on the answers, which resulted in many interventions showing up on their report. They did the same on the assessment, which caused them to end up with a low score and in Tier 3, requiring 3 days a week in Istation. Even though it was difficult and time consuming, we trusted the data and kept the students 3 days per week and had them go through all of the interventions. The students started taking Istation seriously and working harder on the program when they realized that we were serious about Istation. Last year, we rarely had 7th or 8th grade students in Tier 3. Last year, almost every 8th grade student completed the Istation program just because they chose to!

Age Group: Middle school students and Elementary school students

Jul 7, 2016 Provide Feedback
Stephanie, Thefabsteph40
Family services specialist, lead intervention implementator, Sharpe Elementary, Tennessee
Special education students, High ELL population, and Low income population

Istation was used as an intervention for struggling students, and a supplemental for students at or above grade level. Initially it was used as a diagnosis, or benchmark, it's the one data that was consistent monthly. (In other words to get a guage where students were, real time data.

Product Use: Each student, grade pre-k through 5th grade used Istation, first to test (always the 1st of the month, then as a computer lab, intervention time. Students who were tier 3 were required to utilize the program for 180 minutes per week.

What Worked and What Didn't: What worked was the time required for student useage. The principal required teachers to provide a weekly usage report on Fridays for accountability purposes. What didn't work as well was feedback regarding new product launch. For example, because I'm the data person at the school, I had to train myself on the program, when new reports came out, I had to "accidentally find out about them, and share with teachers when I could. The follow up from the time the student took the tests, to the instructional lessons is time consuming, and have found that teachers simply did not have time to do it all. Luckily, in my building, I took the lead to conduct student and parent workshops on the data.

Age Group: N/A (I am an administrator)

Jul 7, 2016 Provide Feedback
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