EXTRALEARNING.ORG /TUTOR.COM TUTORING AND TEST PREPARATION
In collaboration with Extralearning.org/Tutor.com, Reach For Tomorrow, Inc. will incorporate a web based, academic complement into the existing state standards for K-12 curricula, in combination with daily online live tutoring available to each participant for the entire academic year, and in the summer for Gear Up students in Alaska, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. This complement is through the Remediation Training Institute of Alexandria, Virginia, a 20 year old program initially developed under a Ford Foundation grant. For the past 20 years the Alternative Schools Network (ASN) in Chicago, IL as well as the Aurora, Colorado school system have made this “Extra learning” program the core basis of its curriculum. It is currently available at www.extralearning.org.
The development of the Extralearning program was entirely research based. Initially it was developed through a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation in the 1980’s. Created by Dr. Robert Taggart, the Comprehensive Competency Program (CCP), as it was then called, continued to develop and was placed in schools across the country throughout the 1980s. This expansion was accomplished with assistance from the Mott Foundation, UPS Foundation, Public Welfare Foundation and the Ford Foundation, each of whom funded key projects over several years.
The CCP was updated in the 1990’s and eventually the name was changed to Extralearning Online. Some of the updates, such as addressing different student learning styles made the Extralearning program an exceptional tool that can be molded to meet the needs of students, teachers, schools, and school districts. Increasingly the program is used in remediation labs to assist those schools in meeting the requirements of “No Child Left Behind” legislation. This would definitely be a great addition to schools throughout the nation.
The Extralearning program includes every subject (with the exception of foreign language) taught in grades K-12 in a programmed learning environment. Extralearning offers a well-rounded curriculum to meet the needs of diverse learners and trainees of all ages at an affordable cost.
The curriculum is available in two delivery platform options:
1. Web-based for site delivery or completely portable online learning, or
2. Locally-hosted via local area network for site-based learning such as the proposed Technology Network Center.
Learners enjoy unlimited access to all of Extralearning’s courses, skills and library resources. There is no Per-Course Fee.
The curriculum is modular, thus offering choice and flexibility to:
1. Assign a complete course;
2. Assign a specific skill module;
3. Assign a specific content resource from the e-library;
4. Create and assign teacher-authored learning tasks; or
5. Browse and access anything in the e-Library.
Each course and skill module includes everything needed for mastery: assessments, instructional content, quizzes and tests, plus optional supplements. Content is presented step-by-step with in depth feedback and reinforcement. This promotes self-confidence whether the material is being learned for the first time, or forgotten skills and information are being relearned. The Extralearning curriculum is tied together by integrated management systems that make administrator, teacher, and program staff jobs easier. Detailed progress information and reports keep teachers, trainers and tutors tuned in to learner achievement and needs. Reports are available for groups or subgroups.
The comprehensive curriculum covers all major K-12 academic subjects plus a wide range of functional subjects, covering skills needed for work, career, family and community. Extralearning offers one of the most comprehensive coverage of K-12 academic standards and SCANS skills found in a single, affordable learning system:
Academic Subjects Number of Courses* Number of Skill Modules
Language Arts/Writing 21
Social Studies/Social Science 14
Functional Subjects Number of Courses* Number of Skill Modules
Health/Family/People Skills 4
Functional ESL 8
- There are presently 86 separate courses. Totals above reflect co-curricular courses that cover more than one subject area.
- This entire modular programmed learning system is offered online as a complement to the existing academic curricula.
The effectiveness of the Extralearning On line program can be seen in several examples. On a classroom level, the program was used by West Middle School in the Aurora Public Schools District in Colorado. The instructors used the reading and writing components for one class period per day. The Extralearning program was used because only 8% of the incoming students that year were at grade level Reading, based upon the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Assessment. Reading levels in the 6th grade class were as low as 0.1, with 60% of the students reading below a 5th grade level. At the end of the year, using only the Extralearning program and based upon the Gates-MacGinitie post assessment in the spring, the following results were recorded:
- 44% of the students were reading at or above Grade Level (7th grade)
- No student in the class showed a decline in reading scores
- 8% of the students showed no gain
- 8% of the students showed a grade level gain of less than one year
- 84% of the students showed more than one grade level gain
- 68% of the students showed over a 2 grade level gain in reading
- The average grade level gain in reading for the class was 2.804 grade levels
- The class went from a 4.324 to a 7.128 average reading grade level
In addition, the program is being used in 5 other school districts in the state of Colorado, as well as school districts in California, New Mexico, Wyoming, Illinois, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kansas, and Texas.
By making use of the proven successful Extralearning/Tutor.com academic enrichment tool, Reach for Tomorrow will be able to continue to delivery a top quality program to students across the United States.
Academically, Reach for Tomorrow will provide students access to the Extralearning Online Program. The Extralearning Online Program is a self-paced, individualized, computer-delivered, computer-assisted, mastery learning program. It provides a complete curriculum (K-12) with course offerings in Reading, Writing, Math, Social Studies, and Science, in addition to an extensive number of Functional (Life Skills) courses. Students will be provided access to this system 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They will also be able to use the program if they are home schooled, at home, or any other location where a computer is available with Internet access.
The actual delivery of the program will be over the Internet. Reach for Tomorrow will insure that teachers, at schools using the program, will be trained in how the program works, how to use the program, how to teach students to use the program, and how the program can be used to maximize student learning. Schools may offer the program during the current school day, as was done in Colorado, in after school programs to insure students do not fall behind, in summer programs, or whenever and wherever they feel it would be beneficial to their students.
Extralearning Online will provide each school with access to over 2,000 lesson books, over 1,000 assessments and tests, over 2,500 Internet links, and thousands of streaming videos. But the effectiveness of this program can best be seen, not in the number of materials provided, but in the way it operates. With Extralearning Online, students begin with an assessment (provided as a part of the program). Assessments are used by teachers to evaluate the functioning level of a student in the areas of Reading, Writing, Math, Social Studies, and/or Science. The assessments will also help to identify gaps in the student’s learning in these same areas. Once these needs or gaps are identified, the teacher creates an Individualized Education Plan for each student. This plan may consist of any combination of lessons (focusing on a single competency), units (comprised of several lessons), or even an entire course if that has been identified as a student need.
The learning process used in Extralearning Online addresses a variety of learning styles. Initially, the content is delivered through lesson books. These books are a small portion of a grade level course and are written in a format that provides a small amount of information followed by questions to insure the student understands the material. If a student is having a problem understanding the concepts, they may call upon a teacher (if they are in school) for one-on-one instruction.
If they are not at school, students may contact Tutor.com (another component of the Extralearning Online Program) and a content area instructor will provide assistance on a one-to-one basis. Students even have the ability to contact their teachers over the Internet through Extralearning Online if needed.
At the end of the lesson book, the student is given a lesson test to insure mastery of the material. If the student demonstrates mastery (at a level determined by the school – usually 80%) they move on to the second phase of instruction. If they do not demonstrate mastery, they are provided with additional activities to assist them in their learning. After completing the activities, they move on to the next phase of instruction.
The second phase of instruction provides multiple opportunities to practice and expand on what they learned in the lesson book. This is done through the use of interactive Internet sites and interactive videos. These are the type of learning activities which help all students, but especially those who are Kinesthetic (hands-on).
After completing the assignments for the second phase, they move on to the Visual phase of the program. In this phase the students are assigned videos, which reinforce what they learned in the lesson book. The videos help all students learn, but are extremely valuable to the students who are visual learners.
At the end of the third phase of the learning process, the student moves on to a new lesson or, if they are at the end of the unit, they move on to the unit test. The unit tests evaluate mastery of all of the lessons in that unit. The student will be presented with an overall Unit evaluation, as well as an evaluation of their mastery of each individual lesson within a unit.
As both teachers and students become familiar with the program, they can mold the program to meet their needs. For example, a student who is a visual learner might decide to watch the videos before they go through the lesson book. This inherent flexibility illustrates that Extralearning can be used to meet the individual needs of students.
Academically, student needs will be assessed prior to the enrollment into the program. These assessments are a part of the program and have been described previously in this document. Results of the assessments are available to teachers so they may continue to monitor each student’s Individual Education Plan.
Student progress is monitored on a constant basis. Every time they log onto the program their time is recorded. Every time the student takes a lesson, unit or course test, their scores are recorded. These files are available to the teachers, and may be used to insure the student is progressing and, if not, to help identify problem areas the student may be encountering.
Assessing student proficiency is simple, because that is what the Extralearning Online program is all about – Mastery Learning. Students using the program are not evaluated on how much time they spend working, but rather the progress or mastery they demonstrate. With Extralearning Online: Time is the Variable, and Learning is the Constant.
Academically, there are several ways in which to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. First, you can gauge the success by the number of grade levels in a subject area that a student completes. Since students must demonstrate mastery at an 80% level or above (or at whatever level the school selects) before they move on, effectiveness can be evaluated on how far each student has progressed.
Second, since more schools across the country, are required to take either state created tests or nationally normed tests (IOWA, Gates-MacGinitie, TABE, etc.), program effectiveness may also be evaluated by comparing the results of previous tests to current results. This would also insure you are meeting state requirements where applicable.
Finally, since Extralearning Online provides assessment tools of their own, you could use their assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of the academic component of the program. The online assessments are automatically recorded in the students file and could be compared with where they were when the started the Extralearning program.
The choice of how the academic program will be evaluated is really up to the school, the school district, or the state. Whatever way is best is the one which should be used.
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS FOR EXTRALEARNING.ORG ON-LINE TUTORING:
Extralearning Online System Requirements
The Extralearning systems work in a Microsoft Windows environment.
- Microsoft Windows 98 SE;
- Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Home with Service Pack 2; Windows 2000;
- Not recommended for Windows ME, Apple Macintosh, or Linux based systems.
COMPUTER SPECIFICATIONS (minimum):
- Intel Pentium III, 400 MHz or better;
- 128 MB RAM or better;
- XVGA (1024 x 768 resolution);
- SoundBlaster compatible Sound Card;
- 10/100 NIC;
- 12 GB available Hard Drive space;
- Broadband connection, DSL, Cable or better is necessary;
- If using local media resources a 10/100/ (1000 preferred) switched network is recommended;
- Durable Laser Printer is essential for learning environments with high traffic.
- Software / Plug-In Source and Instructions
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1E1550CB-5E5D-48F5-B02B-20B602228DE6&displaylang=en
- Microsoft Media Player 9.0 or higher http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=b446ae53-3759-40cf-80d5-cde4bbe07999&displaylang=en
- Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html
- Macromedia Flash Player http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash
- Macromedia Shockwave http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash
- SimDesk http://download.simdesk.com/conx/SimDeskSetup.exe
- Tutor.com applets http://www.tutor.com
- RTI emediaRunner applet If you have the local media library, go to Linksys Disk 1 share,e-Sourcese-SetupsemediaRunnersetup.exe.
- Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 http://v5.windowsupdate.microsoft.com/v5consumer/default.aspx?ln=en-us
The ExtraLearningOnline system requires installation of the required software/plug-ins listed above on each computer accessing ExtraLearningOnline. Once these items have been installed on each computer, a shortcut key located on the desktop, browser links, or browser favorites areas, must point to this fully qualified URL: http://www.extralearning.net. This fully qualified URL is referred to with other ExtraLearningOnline partners like the Discovery Channel and Chalkwaves, so it must be typed in its entirety.
If your network is operating behind a firewall, proxy, or filtering devices, certain allowances will have to be made in order for some ExtraLearningOnline system content partners to work efficiently. Additional allowances will also have to be made to make SimDesk talk to its network. This will be explained below and additional assistance can be obtained from RTI.
The ExtraLearningOnline system needs access to a printer. It is a mastery learning system with constant evaluations that require test results to be printed. Additionally, all lessons and activities, in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format, can be printed. For learning center configurations with at least 10 learners, a medium caliber laser printer is recommended.
EXTRALEARNING ONLINE WITH LOCAL MEDIA OPTION
ExtraLearningOnline works best with the local media library. Although not required, the local media library will deliver bandwidth intensive multimedia options (the Discovery Channel streaming videos and Chalkwaves videos) at the speed of the local area network, rather than the inherently reduced speed of a broadband connection. The local media library contains all the files that provide local access to streaming videos and Chalkwaves movies. RTI delivers the local media libraries by leasing a Network Attached Storage Device, such as a Linksys EFG 250 or SNAP 220. RTI ships the NAS configured to receive an IP address dynamically. If you are working in a statically assigned IP network, please refer to the NAS manual for instructions on how to change the IP address. RTI ships the units to participate in a workgroup called, “EXTRA”. For maximum efficiency, it is highly recommended that networked computers be made members of the EXTRA workgroup.
Reach for Tomorrow and Extralearning.org/Tutor.com will arrange for distance training using a video conferencing hookup for those teachers and students who live in districts that are unable to access on-site instruction. Reach for Tomorrow has access to the George Mason University teleconferencing center to stage an online training session if this method is preferred.
Extralearning can create a web-based Extralearning Network, custom branded with your logo and message where members of your school district or network can learn, work, collaborate, communicate, and access Extralearning Online and other web-enabled applications. Use your customized e-Network to manage programs at a distance, post information, collect data, and, of course, as a gateway to Extralearning.
Extralearning can connects users with one another, and train experienced practitioners to help others get started. They provide a list of Extralearning institutional users, organized geographically and by type, so you can communicate with others who share similar missions. As mentioned previously, staff training and answers to simple technology support questions can be provided within a video conference session and the travel costs and per diem can be reduced considerably.
Extralearning.org has partnered with Tutor.com to provide live, on-line tutors to supplement their on-line lesson plans. Tutor.com was founded in 1998 to leverage the power of the Internet to connect people for one-to-one instruction in any subject, anywhere, anytime. They are fulfilling that vision by connecting thousands of students, families and business professionals to expert tutors, teachers, or professional librarians in customized online environments.
Customers receive the one-to-one help they need to perform better in school and at work, and find the information they need. Tutor.com makes organization’s services come alive with real-time connections to real experts with easy to use software and convenient on-demand services.
Tutor.com is the leading provider of one-to-one learning and information services. Using innovative technology, Tutor.com’s suite of services allows students of all ages and seekers of information to connect for one-to-one real-time help from professional subject experts and librarians. They support these highly personalized services with superior training, tracking and reporting features, marketing assistance, and 24/7-customer support. Tutor.com solutions raise the profiles of clients and offer them a cost-effective way to reach a maximum number of families, students and customers.
LIVE HOMEWORK HELP
The flagship service was introduced in 2001 and is now offered at over 600 locations across the country and internationally. These innovative after-school programs, Live Homework Help and Live Homework Help en Espanolprovide access to hundreds of expert tutors, seven days a week for one-to-one help in math, science, social studies and English via the Internet. Tutor.com provides complete service and support, from technology setup and staff training to quarterly promotional materials, monthly reports and 24/7 customer service. Over 30,000 sessions are completed monthly.
Tutor.com works with hundreds of expert tutors, librarians and reference professionals to bring clients high-quality, one-to-one services every day. Their tutors are certified teachers, college professors, and professionals with college degrees in the subjects they teach. Each tutor completes the rigorous Tutor.com Certification Program and every tutor is fully background checked by Kroll Background America. Tutor.com reference providers also complete the most comprehensive training program available to serve libraries and their customers when needed. Mentor programs ensure quality and offer career paths for their best professionals.
Tutor.com serves over 4,600 public, academic, military and special libraries across the country and internationally as well as educational organizations including K-12 public and virtual schools, Boys & Girls Clubs and other community centers. Clients that offer both Live Homework Help and Virtual Reference Services include the CLEVNET consortium of 31 library systems in 9 counties throughout Northern Ohio; Q and A NJ, a service of the New Jersey Library Network; the King County Library System in Washington; and Multnomah County Library in Oregon.
The program offered by Extralearning.org and Tutor.com is a supplemental service to the instruction
provided by your education professionals, who are well acquainted with your students,
their parents, and the communities within which they are employed.