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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.
Aimee, Teacher. School Type: High School, Low Income Population, College Prep School, 1:1 Devices
Sep 11, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I can see myself using this a few different ways. First, I would use it on readings I am about to distribute to my students to check for vocabulary they may struggle on so that I can preteach them the vocabulary.
Second, I would share it with my students to enable them to learn words they might not be familiar with from readings they have in my class and in other classes.
Third, I would share it with parents for the same reason as the students (many don't speak English very well, if at all), but also to enlist their support in encouraging their child to use it.

Strengths: It pulls academic language (which is often NOT covered in the glossary) and provides definitions and flashcards for the students to practice with. Although this isn't the end point for the students to actually learn the meaning, it is definitely the start point.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1) I didn't see any practice questions that asked the students to fill-in-the-blank with the most appropriate word. That would be useful also, since using a word in context also supports learning its meaning.
2) A .pdf camera scanner function to rapidly copy pages. Some of my resources are currently in print, and I'm not going to take the time to type up those pages.
3) A feature that would allow teachers to contribute words and or meanings. I understand that technical terms may not be offered in the service, but it would be handy if I could use your platform to encourage them to practice those terms by contributing my own words and definitions.

Verdict: We have a large EL population at our school (approximately 1/3), and we have been struggling for years with how to assist them with acquiring academic language. This resource would support that acquisition without impacting the teacher unduly.

Dept Chair, School Type: High School
May 7, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this program to teach students vocabulary in a fun and interactive way. The students could really benefit from learning more rigorous vocabulary content. Sometimes, when the students are writing essays, they do not always use vocabulary words that are on their level; rather, they choose vocabulary words that are simplified and uninteresting.

Strengths: This software enables you to take multiple choice quizzes that are fun and interactive. They use both words in isolation and words in context, which I find is a great feature. I think that our school will really enjoy the difficulty level of this software. I noticed as I progress in the quiz, that the questions become progressively more difficult!!!

Suggestions for Improvement: I have not explored exactly what assessments are available with this software, so I really cannot speak with any authority on that topic; however, there isn't anything that I would change about it!!!

Verdict: I would recommend that this program would be implemented at our school site, and specifically in our District. I think my students would enjoy this as much as I do!!! The online, interactive software this company has developed, is amazing and fun. I know a lot of adults that like to play this on Facebook, because it is both challenging and FUN!!!

Ray, Computer Tech. School Type: Middle School
May 7, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: AS a tool to help increase vocabulary and student achievement

Strengths: Setting up Classes and adding students is very easy. Student new to the school can easily be added to a class without having to wait for district action.

Learners will know multiple definitions for vocabulary words increasing their knowledge and comprehension

Suggestions for Improvement: I did not see anything that needed improvement during my brief time with it.

Make sure student username and password standards are easy to explain

Verdict: Teachers don"t have a lot of time, this product seems very easy to use and very versatile.

Rebecca, Teacher. School Type: Middle School
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: To help students understand the meaning of academic vocabulary so they can use the terms correctly and in more meaningful ways in their writing. With common core math and NGSS, there is a lot more writing the students are asked to do in order to communicate their thinking.

Strengths: I like the different ways students can interact with the words. Images and any visuals are especially important for EL and below grade-level readers.

Suggestions for Improvement: If there was an option for the questions to also be read aloud to the students so they can connect what they are reading with how the words should be pronounced. It would help with my students who are more auditory processors.

Is there an option to watch a video that explains the meaning of a word as one of the many question options?

Verdict: It would give the students more opportunities and contexts for students to practice using vocabulary (where I think the real learning happens!) and monitor their progress. This could also be done outside the classroom so all the learning work doesn't have to done in class.

Cassandra, 8th Ela/Dept. Head. School Type: Middle School, Low Income Population, College Prep School
May 7, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would add my own vocabulary list so the the students would have a broader range of definitions.

I would also use this for the novels that I teach throughout the year.

Strengths: This tool would allow me to stop teaching one method of vocabulary. Instead of the student learning only one vocabulary word, they would learn multiple definitions of the same word which would broaden their learning.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would be able to allow the students to create their own pages by attaching to my classroom link.

I would allow them to see their own progress in vocabulary.

I would be sure to have the vocabulary automatically align to the standards to show students strengths and weaknesses.

Verdict: I would recommend it as it allows students to work on their own pace but at vocabulary words that I assign.

It would also use the for novel use as I teach five different novels throughout the school year.

Ell Contact, School Type: Middle School, Low Income Population
May 7, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this a my warm-up activities in my reading classes.

Strengths: This product could be a life saver for students who are struggling readers. If they are exposed early enough to what they are to read, there will be less frustration during the process.

Suggestions for Improvement: The vocabulary should be grade appropriate because we don't want students to be frustrated. Also, we should have a way to monitor how those new words that have acquired have been put into use, specially in written assignment. Each time thy use a new word leaned from a text, there should be an indication some sort.

Verdict: I would recommend this product because many of our students are lack of basic vocabularies to understand what they are reading.

Nadia, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population
May 7, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: This program could be implemented as a center or during computer lab time.

Strengths: i like that the product varies along grade levels. it is rigorous it its delivery and what is presented. the student have the repetition they need to succeed.

Suggestions for Improvement: I do not like that this program is not for the primary grades. many of my second graders would benefit from this program. i t would increase their word recognition and comprehension skills of words in print.

Verdict: This program could increase tests taking scores by making the student more fluent in their comprehension and understanding of printed resources.

Teacher/Literacy Coach, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School
May 7, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I use this product with my ELL students to help them understand the Florida standards vocabulary. Also, I use it to front-load vocabulary for topics I am going to teach.

Strengths: It saves the teacher time with vocabulary.

Suggestions for Improvement: One thing I would change about the program is that are to many word lists of the same topic, novels, or articles. I would clean up the lists that are in the program.

Verdict: It saves you some time teaching vocabulary. Also, students are able to interact with tier I, II or III words from the same word. It allows students to see the words more than once, in a variety of ways.

Counselor, School Type: Middle School
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: would provide strong tutorial of verbal and vocabulary. college prep for SAT and other standardized tests.

Strengths: Simple user interface, visually appealing options and colors. a sufficient amt of layout formats.

Suggestions for Improvement: more complicated layouts and more options for customizability. would like a better, more appealing background. the colors are a bit monatoned. may not be motivating. kids might get bored.

Verdict: versatile, simple interface. could have more options for customizability of formats and layout.

Library Media Specialist, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
May 7, 2016

full starfull starno starno starno star Wouldn't Advocate

Usage: Students use it in my library media center. I also use it with my low reading class that I teach.

Strengths: The pages are not very colorful and students complain they don't like to use the program. In addition, the program works best on Chrome and many of our school's computers do not have Chrome yet. The computers in my library have Safari and Firefox, students can not hear the sounds of the words when using these Internet services. It may work on upgraded computers, but many of our computers are not upgraded, unfortunately.

Suggestions for Improvement: I wouldn't change anything since I don't think the product is that great. There are much better products that provide better service and do the same thing - Flocabulary is one of them! Love Flocabulary!

Verdict: Many of the students complain that it's 'boring' to them. They usually enjoy using the program the first time they try it because it is something different. However, when students are forced to use it weekly, it becomes dull and they complain they don't want to do it anymore.

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