Featured in the Daphne Community Life
An article from the November 2013 issue of the Daphne Community Life by Jennifer Bedgood describes the improvement seen in the Baldwin County Schools with Istation usage. The article, as it was printed, can be seen below.
Istation helps to improve reading skills at Baldwin County Public Schools.
by Jennifer Bedgood, Community contributor
The Digital Renaissance initiative in the Baldwin County Public School System, now in its third year, is an innovative, powerful educational initiative that allows the district to introduce new learning tactics and strategies to students through advanced technology and other learning resources from the 21st century. Through the integration and application of technology, students are provided with a toolkit that will help them to become globally competitive upon their entrance into either the workforce or post-secondary education. Through the use of software products, students will be further empowered to connect what they are learning in the classroom with real-world careers and post-secondary learning opportunities. Istation is one of the software products providing our students with this empowerment...the empowerment to read.
Istation is an Internet-based comprehensive reading intervention program for grades K-8. Because there is such a strong belief in the program's capability to increase the reading ability of students, Baldwin County also uses the program with high school students who have been identified with a significant weakness in reading. The goal is to have every student reach his or her full reading potential. Through the use of this program, students are able to maximize reading fluency and comprehension, which in turn leads to academic success.
To understand Istation's capability to increase student reading ability, it is important to know the four components of Istation - assessments, instruction, reports and teacher tools. Istation has computer-adaptive assessments that are reliable, individualized and automatic. Students take these assessments monthly, allowing the teachers and administrators to see the growth students are achieving in their reading skills. As students take the monthly assessments, the questioning moves up or down grade level content to best determine the reading strengths and weaknesses of each student. Once students complete the assessment, instruction is provided in two ways: teacher-directed lessons that are skill specific and meet the needs of students weak in specific areas of reading and the Istation student application software that is completed on the computer. Students will be quick to tell those who ask that the computer program is engaging and motivating.
The data that is available in report form is a plethora of knowledge for administrators, teachers, students and parents. Teachers are easily able to determine the areas of reading in which students need the most help. The reports give teachers a wealth of resources within Istation to help supplement the reading curriculum. These teaching tools are varied, targeted and flexible, and include more than 2000 teacher-directed lessons and the Teacher Station, which can be used with a whole class using the SmartBoard or Promethean Boards in the classrooms, among other resources and tools. The possibilities are endless with Istation's use in the classroom. The student Istation app, the teacher-directed lessons and teacher resources have equipped our teachers with the tools to provide that additional help for our students who need reading intervention.
We continue our expansion of Istation. Istation Home has been added and will be accessible to students this fall. Using this resource, students will be able to continue their prescribed lessons in the comfort of their homes. In addition to Istation Home, Istation Math will be available for grades 3-8 and will be structured in the same format as Istation Reading. Istation Math assessments are in limited use among a few of our elementary and middle schools but will be in full use next fall.
There is no greater joy than to see a student take pride in his or her ability to become a confident and independent reader. Baldwin County Public Schools is excited to have formed a partnership with Istation to better help our students reach this confidence. With the help of the Istation program, we are helping students reach their reading potential and gain academic success.
For more information about Istation, visit istation.com
Jennifer Bedgood is a consulting teacher for the Baldwin County Public Schools.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bedgood