DOOM AND GLOOM!!!

You may feel all is lost when you turn on the nightly news. Shootings, race relations, terror attacks, climate change, and mud-slinging in politics are typically what you see within the first 5 minutes of turning on the television or reading feeds in your social media accounts. How can you tie these current event issues to the content covered in the High School Equivelancy exams? After all, the first question a student may ask is, “Do I really need to know this for the test?”   Well, I’m glad you asked that question, my friend. Let’s just take a look at the items I mentioned above and get ready for News Engagement Day on October 4th and discuss why the news matters when preparing students for their future.

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Why Math Instruction Had to Change

 

If you’ve read a newspaper lately, or watched the news, or even had conversations on social media related to snippets of instruction, you’ve no doubt read or heard something about the “new math” and how it is complicated, confusing, and utterly unnecessary. Those comments can often be attributed to the parents of students in K-12 settings; but the changes in math education are affecting all students. At the core of these challenges and concerns are the questions, “Why did instruction have to change? How is this better?” These concerns are often brought up as examples of ‘new math’ instruction is demonstrated, often without context or explanation. 

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i-Pathways, Iowa, and College and Career Readiness Standards

In the state of Iowa, the College and Career Readiness Standards have been introduced to high school completion programs. This is due to the adoption of the Iowa Core Standards that are implemented in the K-12 education systems, which has led to the change in high school equivalency tests, such as the HiSET test. Through this process administrators and instructors are expected to make changes, especially to the curriculum that is produced for students. i-Pathways has come to recognize the need to align their curriculum with the CCR, in an effort to decrease Iowa teacher workload and to ensure commonality between adult education programs. i-Pathways has partnered with experts within the field of adult education and those specifically trained on CCR alignment to create a document that demonstrates the i-Pathways curriculum to the CCR.

Through the College_Career document, instructors will be able to develop lesson plans and individual student learning plans with ease and comfort knowing that the alignment process has been completed for them. The process to identify specific standards to a lesson can be time consuming and difficult to decipher. i-Pathways has alleviated this process by clearly listing CCR standards that match with each lesson and the objectives that follow. This will also allow instructors to identify lessons that fall outside the CCR, but are still in alignment with the Common Core Standards.

By utilizing i-Pathways an Iowa instructor is receiving the entire package. An instructor is provided with a curriculum that is aligned to the CCR, a document that identifies the alignment, an online curriculum, and additional academic resources to address student needs. Iowa instructors now have the opportunity to use i-Pathways as a curriculum that meets their needs as they go through the transition to implement CCR standards.

The Reading Crisis

Here is an excerpt from a recent write up from the Campus Technology website written by Professor of Instructional Technology Scott Fredrickson and Associate Professor of Educational Administration Patricia Hoehner, both of the University of Nebraska at Kearney:

Certain fundamental design principles must be considered and included in an online course to create an effective class with readable, on-screen content. Used wisely, they can be effective tools to help students comprehend the material, which is the primary purpose of any good teaching. Below are techniques and strategies for addressing eight areas of concern when creating text for online resources.

Reading text on a computer monitor is not the same as reading text in a book or on paper. Although many faculty are now delivering instruction using course management systems (CMS), Web pages, or other Web delivery methods, most faculty are not using strategies and techniques that effectively assist their students read on-screen text and comprehend it. Typefaces, information placement, using colors, margins, and font size all determine how much content students will read, perceive, and internalize. 

http://campustechnology.com/Articles/2013/03/13/8-Considerations-for-Online-Text.aspx?goback=.gde_2601678_member_222892664&Page=1

As we are preparing our students for success in higher education and the workplace, reading computer based text becomes an integral life skill. The i-Pathways project encompasses reading complex text and applies all of these best practices that have been listed in the research based article.