Blank gif
Section1
An Educator's Guide to Technology and the Web
Search Internet@Schools
Subscribe Today!

View Current Issue
View Past Issues

Internet @ Schools

it’s learning

By Susan W. Hixson - Posted Jan 1, 2010
Bookmark and Share

Company: it’s learning, Inc., U.S. headquarters, 265 Winn St., Suite 303, Burlington, MA 01803. Phone: (888) 853-2761; internet: www. itslearning.net.

Price: The annual fee for grades K–12 is $10 per user. Hosting and 24/7 staff support is included in the price.

Audience: K–12 educators.

Format: Internet-based subscription program.

Minimum System Requirements: A computer with a browser and high-speed internet access. The supported Windows browsers include Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. The supported Mac browsers include Safari and Firefox.

The program also runs on most mobile phone browsers and the Xbox 360 system.

Description: it’s learning provides educators with an online learning platform that can be used for collaboration, planning, authoring, and the delivery of course materials and courses.

***** REPORT CARD

Installation A

Content/Features A

Ease of Use A

Product Support A

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: The program is accessed with a username and password. The login is straightforward.

A school technical administrator will set up the passwords and control some of the program access. Teachers will set up the system to create and present units of study.

A fast internet connection and current browser are needed for the best multimedia access. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: The it’s learning online platform enables teachers to prepare, organize, and present units of learning to their students.

A teacher enters the site with a username and password to design units or content blocks that provide access to student learning materials. The program’s dashboard links the lessons with selected articles, photos, videos, or activities planned for student exploration and study.

The program tools make setting up the learning page easy and fast. The structure of the main page or dashboard is similar for all units. A line of tabs at the top of the page lists the available resources such as Courses, Projects, Calendar, Messages, E-portfolios, Library, Search, and My Settings. The center of the page provides a work area where the learning information is displayed.

A Navigation Tree listing courses and projects appears at the left side of the page. All or part of the Navigation Tree can be displayed.

The Accessibility Mode ensures that students with special needs such as vision challenges can access the program.

Three search options are offered. Users can search within the it’s learning site for articles, photos, videos, and other resources included in the program. In addition, users can search the site for supplemental information posted by other educators, or they can perform searches using various internet search engines. Student access to specific search engines can be controlled or blocked by the teacher.

The program’s text editor is easy to use for typing reports or summaries. The editor feature can be used to resize pictures and insert video into student reports.

The personalized learning features include student blogs, custom-designed e-portfolios (including working portfolios and assessment portfolios), user-created personal web­pages, and custom-created online identities and profiles.

Teachers setting up learning pages for younger students have two options. The Early Learner interface is colorful and offers simplified tools for young learners. With a simple introduction to the material, students can work independently while accessing the teacher-selected resources. This interface must be set up for the teacher by the program administrator.

The Intermediate interface is designed for students who are a little older and more familiar with technology. This interface is similar in appearance to the regular dashboard. But it offers larger fonts, larger tabs, and more color. The teacher can set up this interface without the aid of the program administrator.

The it’s learning collaborative features provide invitation-based access to courses from other schools, sound and video recording and sharing capabilities, real-time audio/video conferencing, surveys, and messaging and email options. it’s learning has a partnership with Google that provides free email accounts to all users. The Google Apps Educational edition of email is free of advertising.

The formative assessment and reporting options include a planner, grade book, preloaded learning objectives correlated to state standards, the ability to define local goals and standards, a variety of progress reports, a test tool, attendance reporting, and the ability to create custom reports. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: When beginning to use the program, teachers will have to show students how to access the dashboard and the assigned activities. Once the students gain experience with the program, they should not have a problem.

Teachers will need to spend some time learning how to design the learning pages and present the information using all of the available online tools. With practice, this process will become easier. Once mastered, the learning platform will help teachers create new units from year to year by making updates and changes to existing materials. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: Product support is available by email at us@itslearning.com or by phone at (617) 326-7701. Extensive support information is available online, including specific reports on system status, service messages, and more. Anyone can access the online support page, but only registered users can report an incident. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: it’s learning offers an efficient way to bring unlimited resources in an organized manner to the learning experience.

Using this program, students can access lessons keyed to many forms of multimedia that explain and examine selected topics. The expandable nature of the program, combined with the creativity of classroom teachers, can provide countless opportunities for students to learn, grow, and explore their own unique talents and styles of learning.

This program can be a very successful tool to promote learning if teachers are willing to invest the time to set up the program for their teaching units.

I recommend it’s learning for progressive educators who are using the world of technology to advance the learning of all students. Highly recommended.

Reviewer: Susan W. Hixson, Educational Consultant.


 
Blank gif