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Curriculum Products
In Summit Reflections, educators review tools that they have seen at an EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Summit Reflections can only be completed onsite at the event; reviewers are incentivized to leave reviews.
Tricia, Library, Tech, Gate, Ged, Science. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this tool to engage my students with current events that are relevant to them. I appreciated Adam's attention to detail, and his willingness to take my feedback. I teach first grade through GED Adult Education: library skills, media, technology, science, GATE, SpEd, ELL and computer skills. While my students are at their computer stations they can access the stories. I anticipate this is to be a great resource for my ELL students because of the multiple listening levels. I like that the rate of the speaker can be slowed down, for our lower leveled ELLs.
I would like to be able to add more than one resource to a lesson plan (more than one graphic organizer) because graphic organizers are not a "one size fits all". I would like to be able to be able to be able to have quick checks for comprehension throughout the listening process. And I would like to be able to get more than one school onto my account; being a mobile teacher (multiple sites within one day) I need to be able to stretch the curriculum to meet my students at many sites rather than being tied to one school.

Strengths: I would use this tool to engage my students with current events that are relevant to them. I appreciated Adam's attention to detail, and his willingness to take my feedback. I teach first grade through GED Adult Education: library skills, media, technology, science, GATE, SpEd, ELL and computer skills. While my students are at their computer stations they can access the stories. I anticipate this is to be a great resource for my ELL students and SEI students, because of the multiple listening levels. I like that the rate of the speaker can be slowed down, for our lower leveled ELLs.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to be able to add more than one resource to a lesson plan (more than one graphic organizer) because graphic organizers are not a "one size fits all". I would like to be able to be able to be able to have quick checks for comprehension throughout the listening process. And I would like to be able to get more than one school onto my account; being a mobile teacher (multiple sites within one day) I need to be able to stretch the curriculum to meet my students at many sites rather than being tied to one school.

Verdict: I recommend this program because it helps out with the ELL - listening, speaking, and interacting with the content. But it's just as applicable for my students that are not ELLs.
I think this will be a great resource that could be student lead or teacher directed for first through Adult Education.

Rose, English/Language Arts Instructor And Special Educator. School Type: Middle School, Project Based School, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning
Feb 28, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use Listen Current to assign reading passages to students in order to assess their reading comprehension. My school serves students with dyslexia and other learning differences. Our students would definitely benefit from listening to current events passages that are of a high interest level--not to mention, on a site that provides support tools to increase accessibility and comprehension. For many of our kids, comprehension increases when text is read aloud to them. Therefore, the audio component is key. For those that have weak decoding skills, this is would be a valuable tool. In addition, I would use the vocabulary and comprehension questions on the site to teach vocabulary and assess students' skills.

Strengths: The speech to text tool is definitely a selling point. It would greatly benefit struggling readers. I also like the selection of high interest level passages. The CCSS-aligned lesson plans are a bonus feature that would save teachers a lot of time. Listen Current solves the problem of finding assignments that are easily customizable and differentiated. Lesson planning would be a breeze with the listening guides, vocabulary, and class activities.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great if students had the opportunity to take an assessment prior to receiving assignments on Listen Current in order to establish a baseline. Having stories sorted by topic, grade level, and lexile levels would be incredibly helpful. Lastly, in order to access the premium features, you need a subscription. Subscriptions are highly priced and make it difficult for smaller schools to afford them.

Verdict: I would highly recommend this product, because it meets the unique needs of our students. It would allow us to differentiate according to reading level, comprehension ability, and interests. Not only could this serve as an instructional tool in the classroom, but also as independent reading for students to complete at home.

Teacher Ela, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product to support my students acquisition of close reading, critical thinking and vocabulary skills. It would be of value to all students, but especially to my second-language learners and my students who are reading below grade level.

Strengths: My students love to listen to something - anything - while they work. This product gives them something to listen to that is directly connected to what they are working on. The highlighting tool is especially helpful for ELLs and below-grade-level readers, as is the ability to slow down the reading speed.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great to see a reading level assessment tool added, as my current district does not have any such tool in place, and cume folders sometimes don't catch up with students until well into the school year. I'd also like the ability to data-map students' progress and create displays that show a student how he/she is progressing. I know that's only two things, but I really don't think there is another change I'd want to see made.

Verdict: Our school population is increasingly dominated by English Language Learners, to a point that they need to be supported across all classes, not just in ELL/ELD rooms. Additionally, with more and more students coming to us reading below grade level, we need a way to make reading more accessible to those students as well. Finally, I see potential in this product to capture those "I HATE reading!" students by providing them with materials that catch their interest.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it as one of my centers and have students listen to articles and new stories being read to them where they can at the same time track and follow along with their eyes as the text on the screen turns blue and matches the audio they are hearing.

Strengths: The person reading the stories to them is modeling what fluent reading of English is which is great for my ELs.

The texts being read to them are high interest and current and at their various levels and have rich academic vocabulary.

The students can implement and use this independently at their centers with little teacher support

Suggestions for Improvement: Make the text bigger.

Have a variety of voices/languages ready to the children.

Make the blue that goes on the text and the reading be able to be adjusted to go slower if needed for certain students and if the focus is on phonics or particular words.

Verdict: Since all of the students at my schools are ELs and have trouble reading, the paired visual and audio component is ideal. Students can match the words they hear to the words they read and since many have a high listening proficiency in English but not a high reading proficiency this paired aspect can help build their visual reading in english proficiency.

Teacher Ela, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: My district lacks a specific vocabulary enrichment program. My kids love any excuse to have their phones out. This application capitalizes on the latter and alleviates the former. I am constantly encouraging my kids to use a thesaurus - this app puts one in their hands. I'd use it during writing assignments, and maybe even as bellwork.

Strengths: My students love to listen to something - anything - while they work. This product gives them something to listen to that is directly connected to what they are working on. The highlighting tool is especially helpful for ELLs and below-grade-level readers, as is the ability to slow down the reading speed.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would be great to see a reading level assessment tool added, as my current district does not have any such tool in place, and cume folders sometimes don't catch up with students until well into the school year. I'd also like the ability to data-map students' progress and create displays that show a student how he/she is progressing. I know that's only two things, but I really don't think there is another change I'd want to see made.

Verdict: As I noted earlier, we lack a dedicated vocabulary enrichment program, and we have students who will jump at the opportunt

Garcia, Teacher. School Type: High School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, College Prep School
Jun 13, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product as a class starter, or a class activity. I believe that this product would be great as a supplement to content that is being taught in the classroom. For History students most of the material that they receive is text-based so this would be a great opportunity to offer differentiated instruction through the use of audio learning.

Strengths: 1. Offers a variety of Social Studies topics 2. Offers supports for ELL's and Sped's. 3. Gives each student access to the material at one time.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. Make it more affordable 2. Offer longer audio 3. Offer a visual component

Verdict: I would advise that my school purchase this product. The reason for that is that the focus of the district and the common core is on speaking and listening. This product would do a wonderful job in helping students engage in the content by listening to the audio and following along using the interactive transcript. This product also offers many teaching strategies that can be used to aid teachers, such as comprehension questions, graphic organizers and lesson plans.

Teacher, School Type: High School, College Prep School
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this to prepare students for the SBAC listening portion of the exam their junior year. I would use this for my EL students before they take the CEDLT exam . This is great practice for them.

Strengths: I like that it provides students with audio of an article, students have the ability to speed up or slow down the audio . It connects certain fiction articles to various novels. Sort of brings fiction into reality, cause you need to be more engaging for the students.

Suggestions for Improvement: I dislike that they don't have every novel available. It also seems that teachers have to spend a lot of time organizing each lesson on the computer through this program . This is similar to Google classroom so if you have Google classroom you don't need this program.

Verdict: I would recommend this because it provides listening and literacy Hills for all students. It also engages students to the real world bringing authentic voices into the classroom .

K Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I think that this would be a great product to tie with current issues that are being taught in novels, and other current world issues. I love that this product is tied to NPR and helping student improve listening skills.

Strengths: I like that information is curated for teachers and that students can follow along with the transcripts with read along component. Especially helpful for ELD students. I like that you can add your content and customize questions or other parts of lesson.

Suggestions for Improvement: I think that's great that the company is looking into assessment piece of listening skills, where this can help teachers see growth over a period of time. I like that educators can use the free features to start with.

Verdict: It is great product that already has podcasts all in one place that are related to units that students are studying in class. It offers discussion questions and other related supplemental lessons to enrich a class lesson.

Tosa, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would love to assign differentiated listening assignments both in class and for homework. I love that I could have different students listen to different news articles based on interest and level. The articles are combined with comprehension questions, so I could assess student understanding as well.

Strengths: I am really interested in the thought of public radio in the classroom. I think you can really challenge students at a higher level of thinking when they listen to a story. This would also be a great way to scaffold for ELs or other struggling students.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would increase the GRADE SPAN!!! This is such a great idea, but I'm bummed that it is not more widely available! It would be awesome to listen to high interest article during literacy centers, teacher readlouds, etc.

Verdict: The grade span! It is a bummer that this is not more widely available for Elementary schools.

Bryanna, Ela Teacher. School Type: Higher Education, Low Income Population, BYOD Devices
Feb 28, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this product as a way to intergrate more diverse texts into the classroom. They will be sources of primary information and as way to connect current readings with the wider world. I will also use the materials as a primary source in student research.

Strengths: This product has a great repository of information for students at various levels. It is a quick place for research or supplemental information. It also allows the students to practice listening and active listening skills.

Suggestions for Improvement: Better search indexing for articles. Easier to decipher search results. Wider range of texts to share with students.

Verdict: This is a source of nonfiction information that is already "loaded" with documents to allow it to be used in the classroom. They are high-interest and of various ability levels allowing them to be used by many different types of teachers.

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