Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Learn a Zillion Things at LearnZillion

Okay, maybe a "zillion" is exaggerating a bit, but you really can learn an awful lot at! (Updated 6-5-2013 with an introduction video to take you on a tour! See below)

LearnZillion is a database of over 2,000 high quality instructional videos for grades 3-9, all tied to and searchable by Common Core State Standards in math and language arts. Everything is 100% free for teachers, who make accounts and can search the database to find videos that support teaching the common core standards.

The videos are made by a huge "dream team" of qualified educators and all start with learning targets and have the same intro look and feel and high quality across the board, which I really like. Teachers can use the videos personally as inspiration to help them find new and different ways to approach teaching specific standards, OR they can take LearnZillion to the next level and assign video content to their students.

Say what?! Yup, a teacher can optionally go in and set up their class(es) in LearnZillion, too, by creating and managing student accounts for free. The beauty of this is that since the teacher is managing the account, no email address is required by students to sign-up; they simply use the unique access code generated by their teacher. LearnZillion has thorough parent letters that teachers can print and send home or link on their classroom website to help parents help their kids get connected. LearnZillion content bridges the gap between home and school - now the parents can be involved in what their child is learning and understand what's being taught in class by watching the videos with them at home. I know this would've helped soothe frustration on many nights back when I was in school and struggling with my math homework!

LearnZillion videos could be used whole group to supplement a lesson, or video content can be assigned to individual students or to support small group instruction or stations. Since you can pick and choose which videos to assign to which students, differentiation has never been easier. And every video is around 5 minutes or less, so they get to the point in perfect bite-sized chunks.

When you assign video content to a student in LearnZillion, practice activities and quizzes are available with each video that you can use to assess their understanding along the way. Students don't just watch a video and move on; they practice while they watch to reinforce the content that they're learning. And this data can be analyzed by student or by class from the teacher's dashboard in a variety of ways. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, right?!

As an instructional specialist, one thing I appreciate about LearnZillion is how there's teacher support everywhere, on every screen, and alongside anything you do. You'll never feel lost or wonder how to do something. The dashboard has a series of help videos to get you going with your account and getting students set up, all at less than a minute each. And when you're previewing a video, you'll find additional valuable resources along the right side of the screen, like PowerPoint slides of the lesson, (with the narration from the video typed up in the notes section of each slide!) coach's commentary, guided practice, prinable assessments, note & discussion templates, and a parent letter. ELA content includes downloadable anchor texts, too. Below the video there's even step-by-step instructions to explain how to use the lesson and the available resources to get the most out of the content.

Oh, and did I mention there's an app for that? Just recently released, LearnZillion has a cross-platform app (free) for students. While LearnZillion works perfectly in any device's browser with internet access, the student app does make assigned content cleaner and even simpler for them to access with a single tap. Teachers will still need to use the website, though.

Update 6-5-2013: I recorded a quick screen capture of me taking you on a tour of LearnZillion and its features. Take a look!

Want to flip your classroom? LearnZillion can help. Want help figuring out how you're going to teach that tricky, abstract standard? LearnZillion can help. Want high quality content to help support and enrich differentiation in your classroom? LearnZillion can do that, too. Is there anything LearnZillion can't do? Well, currently there's no content yet for high school ELA, but I hear that's coming, as well as eventually including science and social studies content, too. I can't wait to see what LearnZillion comes up with next.

How would YOU use LearnZillion in your classroom?