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“Relationships Trump Substance”: Customization Features in Edmentum Courseware to Help Educators Build Relationships

Thursday, March 17, 2016 -- Shannan LaMalfa

The opportunities that educators have to maximize the benefits of online learning today were unimaginable to me just a few years ago, and unthinkable to me when I entered the teaching profession full-time in 1999. Back then there was fear that computerized-learning would take over the world and leave educators (myself included) jobless. Today, I know that computerized learning will never take over the role of the teacher. That being said, Edmentum’s modern digital curriculum has great potential to support the work that teachers do.

As I grew in my profession and became a principal and director of curriculum and instruction, the wisest advice I gave to my new teachers was, “Relationships trump substance!” Children need teachers; I know this not just as a former educator or district administrator, but as a mom. My ten-year-old daughter Hope would be lost without Mrs. Dawn Head, her fifth grade teacher at Forest Hills Elementary School in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Mrs. Head understands that relationships are the gateway to learning. We moved to Minnesota this past August and our number one concern as parents was that Little Miss Hope would adjust socially and emotionally. Mrs. Head has been instrumental in making the transition smooth for her. This confirms it for me: computers will never replace educators. Educators are a priceless resource that are not replaceable. At Edmentum we understand this. We are not about automated teaching operations; rather we are about programming logic for accommodating teaching operations (PLATO).

What does this mean? Each day educators face the challenge of meeting the needs of all learners. I’ve had many conversations with educators about the importance of accommodations, most of which occurred at response to intervention team meetings in my role as an RTI Coordinator. An accommodation is simply a change in how a student learns material. I don’t have to tell you all children learn differently. As educators, we implement the most reasonable accommodations we can, providing each child an equal opportunity to learn. These accommodations come in many shapes and sizes, and they do not always require an Individual Education or Section 504 Plan. At Edmentum, we have developed our products to include numerous features that help you accommodate your learners. Relationships do trump substance, and as your partner in education, Edmentum provides the most innovative software to encourage these relationships. Edmentum is committed to being educators’ most trusted partner in creating successful student outcomes everywhere learning occurs.

How do we demonstrate this commitment? Let’s take a look at the specific features within Edmentum’s Courseware that allow you to customize courses for your unique class format and accommodate the needs of all your learners. 

Course Customization

Any course in Edmentum’s Courseware may be customized. There are many features that may be customized within each course, including hiding graded discussions, dropbox availability, and the use of pretests or posttests. Educators may also create unique announcements or choose the number of attempts a learner may take at a Mastery Test, so that intervention can occur when needed. Educators can choose what students view in their course curriculum and when they are able to access it. Educators may also start with Edmentum’s course and then make it their own by adding, deleting, reordering, or changing course content as needed. Finally, educators can build their own courses by selecting from Edmentum’s extensive library of resources, lessons, modules, and tutorials. 

Flex Assignments

The Flex Assignments feature is a quick intervention tool that enables educators to intervene with one learner or a group of students. This feature helps educators utilize individual and group data that is meaningful and actionable. Time is often scarce for educators, and Flex Assignments offers the ability to intervene quickly with high-quality, meaningful, rigorous material that is organized and searchable by each standard. This feature is embedded in class courseware, so educators don’t need to create a separate course or do extensive customization to make use of it.

Slide Narration Reading Tool

Some students prefer to read on their own, while others prefer to read while listening to the text read aloud or narrated. In Edmentum’s courses, students have the flexibility to choose which option best fits their learning style.

Click to Speak Reading Tool

Many students benefit from the ability to go back and hear things repeated, or visually see sentences and words highlighted while spoken aloud. Click to Speak is another option that makes these learning accommodations available to students.

Reading Tools

Notes Tool

Students are able to take notes while engaged in their coursework learning. Note-taking provides the opportunity for learners to process while information is being presented. This is important because research shows that note-taking supports learners with comprehension and retention. Learners who take notes are more likely to remember material. 

Notes Tool

Dictionary Tool

Within all Edmentum courses, students have access to a dictionary with an option to hear any word and definition read aloud. 

Dictionary Tool

Translation Tool

Students who are learning English are the fastest-growing population of U.S. students. Edmentum’s translation tool features sixteen languages, and provides your English language learners’ the ability to translate content as needed while progressing toward English language proficiency. 

Translate Tool

Teacher Graded Activities

Edmentum’s new teacher graded activities, which are being released in core courses throughout 2016, allow students to submit work for review and feedback prior to finalization. This gives educators the opportunity to read questions or comments from learners while reviewing their work-in-progress and provide them with feedback. This offers a method to communicate directly with students within their actual graded activity. Additionally, a record of all comments made back and forth is available.

Teacher Graded Activities

Coming Soon: Highlighter Tool

Students will be able to highlight text within their courseware. The highlighted text will auto-save, providing learners the opportunity to review and deepen comprehension.

Interested in learning more about Edmentum’s engaging and rigorous online courses, proven to achieve real results? Check out Plato Courseware here!