We’re nearing the end of our list of things on which Lakeside Christian School focuses in order to prepare our students for college. At this time, we’ll focus on our complementary technology. Every school has some variety of technology, and some will claim theirs is cutting edge. But cutting edge and expense do not automatically prepare students for college. If this were true, every student with the newest, most expensive tablet would be adequately prepared for college or career. These are the ways in which LCS is preparing students using technology:
- Interactive-Adaptive (IA) software: we use PEG, Ascend, and Mindplay to both close academic gaps and propel students ahead in writing, reading, and math. All three are technology that supports mastery learning. Cali Swango of Destination Knowledge has this to say about Lakeside Christian School’s use of this software:”Lakeside Christian has become a model site for implementing two of the most powerful programs I support in Florida; Mindplay Virtual Reading Coach and Ascend Math. Both programs are utilized in dedicated computer labs, with knowledgeable lab managers, which over time have become experts on both programs. The resources and time devoted by both school administration and the team that supports these implementations, have driven exceptional results in both reading and math gains for the students at Lakeside. I’d like to give you some information about each program and the results experienced by the students and educational team at Lakeside Christian. Mindplay Virtual Reading Coach improves students’ reading performance by assessing reading abilities, developing an individual student syllabus, differentiating instruction, and providing mastery-based activities to address reading gaps in Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Grammar & Meaning, Vocabulary and Fluency & Comprehension. MVRC is effective with students of all ages and in disparate categories, including: English Language Learners, bilingual education, and special education. MVRC is an ideal intervention for students reading significantly below grade level, as well as those students who are just beginning to develop reading skills. MVRC instruction is based on each student’s diagnostic testing, creating an individualized study path for each student. The diagnostic tests, progress monitoring results, and student performance results determine lesson assignment and automatically adapt the intensity of the intervention. What the student needs is what the student automatically gets! Lakeside Christian’s Model– Mindplay VRC was implemented at Lakeside in February of 2013. At the beginning of each school year, each student at Lakeside undergoes a comprehensive reading assessment, to determine who is in danger of reading failure. Students in need of intensive reading intervention are assigned dedicated time on Mindplay Virtual Reading Coach each day. The intervention lab manger reviews data daily to determine if additional one on one support is needed, using supplemental activities that enrich the effectiveness of this powerful reading intervention. To-date this school year, the effect of this powerful model has resulted in a 30% reduction in critical students reading 2 or more years below grade level, and a 20% rise in students meeting or exceeding their end of year reading goal for their current grade level, within the identified at-risk population of readers.Ascend Math is an award winning Kindergarten through Algebra I Math Intervention Program, which combines continuous assessment, automated differentiated instruction and video tutorials to quickly and efficiently fill in students’ math skill gaps. To do so, Ascend Math uses multiple modalities of instruction including offline worksheets, simulations, videos and practice problems. Students begin by taking a Level Recommendation Test, which places each student at his or her lowest level where skill gaps exist. Then through a series of pre-assessments, students test out of known material and are only assigned content they individually need. As students become more proficient in their math skills, they are automatically moved up through each grade level of math content, ultimately reaching or exceeding their grade level goals. Ascend is appropriate for all learners, including special education students and English Language Learners.
Lakeside Christian’s Model- Ascend Math was first implemented at Lakeside in August of 2012. At that time Ascend was only being used with select students who needed math intervention. The implementation of Ascend expanded after a year to include ALL students who are enrolled at Lakeside Christian. Students spend a minimum of 2 hours each week in the dedicated Ascend Math computer lab, with struggling students receiving an additional 1.5 hours of remediation. Student use is supported by upper and lower school lab managers, who work with students one on one as needed, and monitor reports and student progress daily. This strong implementation has resulted in profound gains for the students at Lakeside, with many now working on content multiple grade levels above their actual grade level. So far this school year, 70% of the students at Lakeside Christian have mastered a full grade level of math content, with 20% of students mastering 2 or more grade levels to-date. In previous school years, students have mastered up to 6 years of math content in a single year. Due to gains like this Lakeside Christian has been named an Ascend Math Model site for 3 years running, and has been a runner up for the national Ascend Math Gold Medal for superior implementation and gains.”
- Interactive teacher- student management system: we use Moodle. This system allows teachers to set up quizzes, tests, projects, forums, and post information in one spot, and for students to access this information and respond. Some of our teachers weigh in on the usefulness of this system:
“Moodle is a tool that helps our students prepare for college because there is a push in higher education to put more instruction online. At Lakeside we use Moodle to prepare students for this type of learning by providing them a resource to acclimate them with the technology. Our students benefit from being prepared for college and ready to deal with a collaborative learning environment.”
“I use Moodle to help my students know when homework is due…I make sure that all of my lessons are posted on Moodle and try to ensure that my completed lessons are also on Moodle so that if students are gone from class, they can make up their notes from what we’ve done in class. I also post homework answers on Moodle so students can check their work. These things help prepare students for college by giving them opportunities to take charge of their learning. Students must take the initiative to go to Moodle to print out notes if it will help them learn. They must also take the initiative to check their work to make sure they are completing homework correctly. Ensuring that students are taking ownership of their learning is imperative to student success.”
“I use Moodle for posting class resources, weekly homework assignments, and assessments. Moodle is helpful to hold the students accountable for their work, putting the responsibility on them for: turning work in on time or making it up (time stamped), seeing assessment results immediately, and locating study materials. It creates a “no excuse” policy for not writing down the homework or forgetting a book at school because Moodle is my virtual classroom.”
- Infrastructure: before one can implement a 1:1 device to student ratio program, one must have the infrastructure to support it. That means there must be a robust wi-fi system with security. As we have witnessed, other schools may have iPad carts and all the devices they need for a 1:1 program, but without the proper infrastructure, the wi-fi will be spotty at best, therefore limiting the use of these devices and rendering them useless at times! We have both the proper bandwith needed to support our Chromebook laptop carts, and the security to protect the devices and (more importantly) the students.
- Laptop carts: we have these in areas where our IA software is used most. The Chromebooks get daily usage and for things that are supporting mastery learning. For example: the middle school language arts class frequently uses these carts for the PEG software. Students have access to Chromebooks without ever leaving the room.
- Students are allowed to bring their own Chromebooks and laptops from home. We do not allow iPads and tablets because Chromebooks and laptops are much easier to work with, have all the appropriate programs, and encourage improved typing skills. Chromebooks in particular are reliable, cost-effective internet devices.
All of these areas of technology complement each other and create a supportive web of technology under each student. The actual devices provide for the software and management systems to work together and prepare students for the next phase of life!
If your child’s school does not have this complementary technology, or if you’d like to learn more about it, please schedule a free tour of Lakeside Christian School today!