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WebLessons

By Susan W. Hixson - Posted Mar 1, 2007
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REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Located online: www.weblessons.com.

Company: Learners Online, Inc., 3616 Maple Ave., Dallas, TX 75219. Phone: (800) 672-6988; Email: support@weblessons.com; Internet: www.LearnersOnline.com.

Price: Approximately $600 per teacher for an annual subscription. The cost is negotiable, based on the number of students and the size of the subscription.

Audience: K-12.

Format: Internet-based learning materials in a variety of subject areas.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with Internet access and a current version of Flash Player and other updated software such as Adobe Reader.

Description: WebLessons, an online multimedia resource, replaces the typical browser window with a student learning path that includes instructions, study questions, vocabulary, quizzes, and inquiry-based projects. For teachers, the site provides material that can be used to plan a Web curriculum, assign topics, and track student progress.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation/Access: No real installation is required. Teachers will want to bookmark the site, enter student names, and provide student passwords.

To use this site, most software and plug-ins must be current. You may need to load an updated Flash Player; this is available online at no cost. Installation/Access Rating: A

Content/Features: WebLessons is a rich and growing resource designed to help educators enhance student interest and learning. The lesson plans and Web site selections are made by a team of educators. Each lesson is evaluated on the basis of federal and state standards.

At the time of this review, the material on this fairly new site covered the subject areas of science, history, and social studies. More than 60 lessons in the earth and life science were listed for elementary and secondary levels. In addition, nearly 200 social studies lessons were organized by subject area, with additional subdivisions to aid access. Lessons for additional subject areas were in development and scheduled to appear online in the spring of 2007.

Teachers can select lessons for an entire class or for individual students. The lessons appear on the screen in the form of a book. The format of each page is unique and includes video, graphics, sound, photos, and text. The pages link to Web pages selected by the author(s) of the lessons. Teachers are given preview access to the Web sites.

Focus questions are posted as students view each page; multiple choice quizzes and short answer questions are available at later points. All tests and answer sheets are available in PDF format. The quizzes can be printed; students can take the tests without computer access. Culminating projects can be assigned to enhance retention of learning.

Each lesson is divided into four parts: prepare, learn, practice, and apply. Teachers can introduce the material to the students and then have students work independently on classroom computers or in a lab. The lessons could be done as a whole group project with the help of an LCD projector. The lessons also can be used as homework; students can work on the site from home with a password.

Once a lesson is assigned, students work with the material at their own speed. An onscreen menu provides tabs for directions or information, study questions, and a complete glossary.

Teacher training is available in many formats. Online tutorials explain each step of setting up the student assignments, selecting the lessons, and assigning passwords. Teachers have access to instructions via printable PDF files. The company can provide onsite teacher training for half or full day presentations at an additional cost.

A free 30-day trial is available with the completion of a short online form. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: Students and teachers will find that the directions and page formats make it quite easy to go through the lessons and complete the quizzes. Teachers have access to student scores and a complete grade summary for the entire class. Rubrics are provided to aid teachers in grading the short answer questions. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Toll-free telephone support is available. Email support is also offered. The company promises to cover all time zones during business hours. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: WebLessons is a well-conceived idea that brings the vast resources of the Internet into the classroom in an orderly and manageable form.

For years, teachers have tried to incorporate the Internet into lessons, but have felt that they were facing an overwhelming project as they attempted to find the right pages, make the links, and formulate directions, quizzes, and projects for selected sites. With WebLessons, educators are free to do what they do best—teach and guide learners—while the research is left to the specialists.

I highly recommend this program. I realize that it is costly but, if we are to begin to benefit from the many quality resources on the Web, we need the help of specialists to organize the information in a usable manner.

WebLessons presents material that will interest and educate students. This site is so much more than games for learning and practice. Your classroom will be richer with access to this wealth of resources. Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Susan W. Hixson, Integrating the Internet, Educational Consultant.


 
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