CHICAGO, April 3, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- LEAP Innovations, a nonprofit that works with schools to implement a personalized approach to learning, today announced the results of their annual edtech evaluation, which helps educators identify solutions best suited for the unique needs and objectives of their students. Technologies that satisfy the nonprofit's rigorous vetting will be invited to hold in-depth conversations with Chicago educators during this Saturday's fifth annual LEAP Innovations Match Day, a day-long event designed to engage classroom teachers and school administrators in selecting edtech products that support personalized learning.
"Technology is not a prerequisite for personalized learning, but it can be a powerful tool in support of great teaching. Match Day is about putting the educator perspective at the center of the decision making process, and providing schools with objective data to inform their choices," said Phyllis Lockett, Founder and CEO of LEAP Innovations. "Over the last five years, we've tapped the expertise of learning scientists and researchers, working alongside educators, to create a framework that is both rigorous and respectful of the real-world challenges of classroom teachers."
This year, just 12 new education products were selected for inclusion in LEAP's portfolio of tools designed to help educators implement personalized learning initiatives in Chicago schools as part of a broader, national initiative to design, implement, and test personalized learning models. Curated products underwent a two-month evaluation, during which they were vetted based on a range of criteria, including alignment of content with objectives, usability, and relevance to the unique needs of a cross section of learners.
"Well-designed technology can unlock the potential of a more personalized approach, but poor technological choices can move a classroom backwards," said Amy Peterson, Instructional Coach at Disney II Magnet School and 2018 curation panelist. "By looking at these products from the perspective of students and educators, we can provide teachers with invaluable support as they work to enable each of their students to work at a different pace."
The 12 products curated this year were selected from an application group of 32, vetted by an independent expert panel, which included math and ELA educators from five Chicago schools, as well as researchers including Brian Gane, Research Assistant Professor, Learning Science Research Institute, UIC; Molly Branson Thayer, Ed.D, Director of Research Practice Partnerships at Cultivate Learning, University of Washington; and, Debbie Leslie, Director of Education Outreach and Senior Curriculum Developer, University of Chicago, UChicago STEM Education. The products selected for LEAP Pilot Network Cohort 5 are:
- Lexia PowerUp Literacy
- Squiggle Park
- UpSmart by Edgenuity
- Write About
- Zinc Learning Labs
"There's no shortage of edtech products on the market right now. LEAP is playing a critical role in ensuring that technology is thoughtfully implemented alongside personalized learning practices," said Salvador Velasco, Assistant Principal at R.H. Lee Elementary School in Chicago. "As we build an environment that meets the diverse needs of our students, technology can help, but we also want to be confident we can integrate new tools that will advance our classroom goals."
Products selected this year will join 12 previously-vetted products to be featured at LEAP's Match Day on April 7 at 1871 Chicago. Match Day is a part of the LEAP Pilot Network and Elevate programs, in which piloting educators receive extensive professional development to design teaching and learning practices aligned with the LEAP Learning Framework for Personalized Learning. Selected technology companies receive feedback from the classroom on how their products are supporting personalized learning. Products that have been piloted over multiple years include: Lexia Reading Core5, DreamBox Learning Math™, MyOn, ST Math and ThinkCERCA.
LEAP announced results last month from the Pilot Network's second cohort, which found that students in participating classrooms progressed 13 percentile points higher in literacy than their peers outside the network. This next cohort will include 43 pilot teams, serving over 275 teachers and 7,500 students.
About LEAP Innovations
LEAP Innovations is a national organization headquartered in Chicago that connects innovation and education to transform how students learn. LEAP works directly with educators and innovators to discover, pilot and scale personalized learning technologies and innovative practices. LEAP's work is anchored by the LEAP Learning Framework, a suite of resources that educators across the country are using to define, design, and implement personalized learning models.
SOURCE LEAP Innovations