Roger Billings - Acellus Blog for Educators


New Acellus Course – Grade 6 Science

Grade 6 Science is a new, integrated course that covers material from several different science fields, including astronomy and earth science. One of the highlights of the course is the virtual lab, where students see demonstrations and experiments that help them cement in concepts they are taught in the lessons. For details on the new Grade 6 Science course plus a sample lesson, visit https://www.science.edu/acellus/course/grade-6-science/

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New Acellus Course – Elementary Ecology

We are pleased to announce the release of a new Acellus science course, Elementary Ecology. The course, which targets Grades 2-4, explores different ecosystems and includes engaging virtual field trips. Elementary Ecology is part of an ongoing Acellus thrust to both expand and enhance the elementary education curriculum, including all CORE subjects and a broad range of electives. Learn more about the new Elementary Ecology course and watch a sample lesson.  

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New and Improved Placement Exams 

The Placement Exams are quite often a student's first introduction to Acellus. As such, we want this experience to set the mode of how stimulating and engaging these courses are; yet, what student enjoys an exam? Even more, what students enjoy an exam on concepts they haven't learned? Our challenge was to assess students' knowledge adequately enough that we could determine their current academic level and yet keep them pumped up and motivated at the same time. We took the challenge head-on and made some enhancements: The Placement Exams no longer jump right in with difficult questions. Instead, they...

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New Filter – Common Core vs Not Common Core 

With Common Core and other standards now added to the curriculum mix, it has become an increasing challenge for teachers to determine which courses fit district mandates, teacher preferences, and student needs. Acellus now provides a filter to help teachers find the courses they are looking for when they are setting up a new class.  They can select a filter that delimits course listings by standard. Since some districts require Common Core-based curriculums and others proscribe them, teachers can now specify 'Common Core'; 'Not Common Core';...

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Pre-Exams Adapt to Student Effort

Pre-Exams, though not popular among students, have increasingly become a requirement in education to show academic progress. The challenge has been to make Pre-Exams effective for educators yet not demoralizing for students.  We feel the new Pre-Exam feature in Acellus has taken a big step in meeting this challenge. To accomplish our goal, we made the Pre-Exams responsive to student actions, continuing to present material when students are active, and shortening the exam when students indicate they are lost. To achieve this solution, we first had to determine why Pre-Exams were so...

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Pre-Exams – Now an Option

The value of Pre-Exams is something many educators have strong feelings about, one way or the other. To accommodate these preferences, Acellus now gives teachers the choice of whether or not students take a Pre-Exam before they begin a new course. While some educators strongly prefer a pre-examination to serve as a benchmark that can be used to show academic growth, others prefer to have students start right out on the course and skip these exams altogether. With the new option, the decision of having students complete a Pre-Exam or to opt...

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Exams – Retry for Extra Credit 

We recently announced the Exam Recovery Mode, a way in Acellus for students who fail an exam to automatically have another chance to review the material and retake the exam. However, there are many students who actually pass an exam yet feel they have not done their best and would like another try. There is actually a lot to be learned from going back over the questions missed and filling in the holes. Acellus now gives students this option in "Exams." When students complete an Exam, they can choose to 'Continue,' which...

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Exam Recovery Mode

Exam Recovery Mode is now available to help students after they have scored poorly on an Exam.  When students do not score well on an Exam, it is identified that they need help on specific concepts that were previously covered.  It is obvious that students need to review this material further while at the same time they need just the right intervention or they may end up becoming discouraged. When students fail an exam, they are placed in the 'Exam Recovery Mode'.  Here, students are presented with the problems that they missed on the exam, including the wrong...

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Using the Success Zone Model to Motivate Teachers

I've had a number of requests from educators asking if, while I'm working on motivating the students in Acellus, I could please come up with a way to motivate the teachers. From my background in business, I know that if you monitor someone, performance improves. But monitoring teachers? Then I realized we already had the key. We monitor students in Acellus so we can give them the help they need to succeed. Why not "monitor" teachers for the same reason - not to report on them, but to give them help. Help itself...

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Student Success Zone – An Education Strategy to Help Students Excel

The Student Success Zone is an education strategy that helps students succeed by getting into the right courses and at the right levels to consistently progress.  It is targeted to help students who are "stuck" in their learning progress break free. The Success Zone is that state-of-being we are in when we are achieving success. When deployed on a learning platform such as the Acellus Learning System, it becomes an education strategy capable of helping every student excel – helping them make consistent forward progress. We call it their "Success Zone." The Success...

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