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An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
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EasyTech 4.0

By Sally Finley - Posted Mar 1, 2005
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REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Located online at http://www.learning.com/.

Source: Learning.com, 1440 NW Overton St., 2nd Floor, Portland, OR 97209; Phone: 800/580-4640 and 503/284-0100; Fax: 503/210-0351; E-mail: info@learning.com.

Access Fee: $1,200--minimum subscription price. Call for specific pricing options.

Audience: Grades K-8, students and teachers.

Format: Interactive online program: text, graphics, audio, narration, video, animation.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with an Internet connection and browser. A 56K modem, Internet Explorer 5.5, SP 2, Netscape 7, Safari, JavaScript enabled, Macromedia Flash plug-in, v. 7.0, Adobe Acrobat reader, v. 5, and speakers or headphones.

For Windows systems: at least 64 MB RAM, Windows 98.

For Macintosh systems: OS 9 or better.

Description: EasyTech, available in English and Spanish, provides a series of instructional lessons that integrate technology into the core curriculum. Working at their own pace, students complete activities while learning how to use a variety of technology tools for their curriculum-related products.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Access: The Web site requires a user name, password, and district. The home page loaded easily and is easy to navigate. Installation/Access Rating: A

Content/Features: EasyTech consists of three components: a technology integration curriculum, a management system, and a staff development and training component.

The Technology Integration Curriculum helps students develop technology skills to reinforce their learning across the curriculum. Included are activities to extend technology education, lessons that are self-paced and interactive, practices that provide repeated exercises, discussions to engage conversation about technology concepts, and unit quizzes to evaluate student mastery of technology skills.

Reading curriculum resources focus on phonemic awareness, keyword identification, reading strategies, research skills, comprehension, demonstrating comprehension, and information validity. Specific lessons feature keyboarding, spreadsheets, and Web-browsing basics through a variety of activities and assessments.

Writing concepts that are addressed include grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, formatting, research, questioning, writing process, writing for purpose, audience, and voice.

Math units focus on the use of tables and graphs for mathematic functions, fractions, probability, measurement, and application to real-life situations.

The Management System assists teachers in planning daily instruction, assessing student progress, and generating reports. Teachers can create and manage classes and access teacher resources. Features permit teachers to add, delete, edit, and organize student groups.

Activities can be assigned for specific classes from a pre-designed curriculum aligned with National Educational Technology Standards and National Language Arts and Math Standards developed by educators. Student progress can be traced by class, lesson, or individual student. A student home page allows the user to access the site at school or home. Schoolwide accounts are managed by a coordinator.

The Staff Development and Training component provides teacher training through hands-on workshops to assist teachers in integrating technology with core curriculum, in-depth on-site or online training, and ready access to expert educational support representatives. Online teacher resources offer detailed materials and interactive guides.

As a technology teacher in an elementary school, I found this product to be invaluable as an instructional tool to present technology concepts in my classes. Throughout the school year, I present lessons correlated to the curriculum taught in the classrooms.

My students use technology tools to produce a product that demonstrates an understanding of the content. EasyTech saved me a lot of class time by introducing the how-to aspects of skills related to word processing, databases, presentations, and spreadsheets. The animated graphics held the attention of my younger students and provided the one-to-one attention that they required for maximum learning.

The concepts were explained in simple, easy-to-understand language with opportunities for repeated practice and application of each concept. The tutorials provide teachers with an overview of the features of each technology tool.

The management options provide a great deal of flexibility for the classroom or lab teacher to customize instruction, based on varying levels of student learning. Since pacing is individualized, students are able to proceed at a rate suited to their learning style. Unit quizzes measure student mastery. It was easy to assess and track class and individual student progress through printout reports.

The real-world problems that were presented in the product activities were meaningful to the students eager to use their newly acquired technology skills to produce a quality curriculum product. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: The home page offers a screen interface that is easy to navigate, providing access to each of the site features. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Free, unlimited phone and e-mail support and training are available. Technical support is available online at support@learning.com. Telephone assistance is available at 800/580-4640. Computer and software tips are included on the Web site. A search feature provides quick access for specific questions. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: EasyTech provides opportunities for students to become actively involved in engaging activities that extend their skills in research, taking notes, recording data, and evaluating information by using technology tools to present their findings. In this highly technological world, students who have mastered these tools will demonstrate a higher level of student achievement. This product is definitely a "must have" for schools on the cutting edge of technology as it integrates with core curriculum. Highly Recommended.

Reviewer: Sally Finley, Gifted/Technology, Country Hills Elementary School, 10550 Westview Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33076; Phone: 754/322-5950; sallyfinley1@yahoo.com.


 
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