FETC 2015 Recap

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 -- Vanessa Berentson

Last week, we were at the 2015 Florida Educational Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando, Florida. We kicked off our first tradeshow of the year with some exciting news for Plato Courseware and EdOptions Academy: we are updating all of our core courses with mobile-optimized, multimedia content. This includes all middle and high school courses in math, English language arts (ELA), science, and social studies. Some math and ELA courses are already available today. You can see a video tour of these new courses on our website.

The new courses will feature technology-enhanced item types, videos, enhanced graphing applications, interactive timelines, and digital lesson activities. These features keep students engaged, cater to different learning styles, and better measure student understanding. The courses are also built with flexibility in mind, so they can be used for original credit, blended learning, credit recovery, unit recovery, and extended learning opportunities. To accommodate different program needs, Edmentum’s team of former educators partners with districts to customize implementations through professional development and advisory services.

In addition to our announcement, Beth Rattie, principal at the Osceola School District’s Adult Learning Center Osceola and Alternative Programs, shared a poster presentation about Osceola’s success using Plato Courseware. The district recently announced that its graduation rate continues to be better than Florida state averages. In 2008, the district had a graduation rate of 67.5 percent. Since implementing Plato Courseware, it increased the graduation rate by over 10 percent within three years and has held it steady above the state average since the implementation. After the district’s initial success with credit recovery, it expanded its courseware use in the following ways:

  • Early Intervention: Sixth graders who fell behind within the first nine weeks of school were given benchmark tests and content prescriptions to fill learning gaps instead of taking an elective course. Through this program, 70 percent of struggling students were able to stay on track with their courses.
  • End-of-Course Preparation: For students who were not able to pass Florida’s End-of-Course (EOC) exams, Edmentum created courses for Algebra I and Biology I EOC test preparation. Students work on the course for the test they didn’t pass in a computer lab to prepare them with the content they need to retake and pass the exam.
  • Hospital- and Homebound Support: The district paired customized Plato courses with district teachers to offer students a way to continue their coursework in hospital- or homebound situations. Students are in regular contact with their teachers, and in-home visits are provided monthly, sometimes more if extra help is needed. The program has helped over 200 students annually continue their education and not fall behind in classes or credits while at home or in the hospital.

We have a number of tradeshows coming up in February and would love to meet with you. This week and next week, we are in Texas at Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA/TASB) Midwinter Conference and the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Convention & Exposition. After that, we’ll be in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. Check out our tradeshow page for more details on our upcoming events.