In Answer to the DMN’s Editorial…

This weekend, while I was walking with a teacher friend (keeping an appropriate social distance and wearing our masks), I asked how she is managing teaching her second grade class. She said she misses seeing her students every day, and lamented that she has had to rely on district-provided online materials a lot more than she ever did in the past. I asked her how well she liked using the online materials. The materials, she explained, use games to teach, and while her students found them engaging, she feared that the materials are not well aligned to the standards. I asked whether her district had reviewed the materials before she used them. She responded, “I doubt they had the time.”

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Frequently Asked Questions About Learning List

As the school year shifts into high gear, we are getting a lot of questions about our service. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What is Learning List?
Learning List is a subscription-based instructional materials review service designed to help improve student learning by empowering educators to chooseand use instructional materials most effectively.

We created Learning List in 2013 to help districts become better informed consumers of instructional materials. Initially, districts used our reviews to facilitate their selection of materials. Over time, subscribers began telling us that our reviews also helped them identify the best parts of their existing materials to use to teach each standard. As one instructional coach explained, “We use your alignment reports as a GPS through our materials to ensure that we’re using the pages that teach each standard fully.”

What types of materials do you review?
We have reviewed over 2500 of the most widely used instructional materials, including:

  • Materials in the four core subjects, 12 Advanced Placement courses, Tech Apps and 85 CTE courses;
  • Comprehensive and supplemental materials, including RtI, testprep, criterion-referenced test banks, and professional development resources;
  • Publisher produced and free open educational resources (OERs);
  • State-adopted and non-adopted materials (i.e., materials that were not submitted for state adoption); and
  • English and Spanish versions of materials.

Subscribing districts get access to all published reviews and may request reviews of additional materials as part of the subscription. That’s why Learning List is a service, not just a website. [Read more…]

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Teacher Shortages Force Districts to Rely on Online Courses

As the new school year approaches, schools across the country are in a hiring frenzy. How are districts filling the gap? As one rural Texas principal told me recently, “We’re having to rely on online courses more heavily than ever before. High school math teachers are hard to come by in small Texas towns. So, smaller districts like ours are using self-paced online courses when we can’t find a teacher for the course. What’s scary is that we don’t really know how good the courses are.” Learning List gives districts peace of mind that the materials they are using are teaching their students what they need to know to be successful.

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