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Common Question #3: Does StarrMatica automatically choose content for students?

 Posted by on November 28, 2012  Behind the Scenes of StarrMatica  Comments Off on Common Question #3: Does StarrMatica automatically choose content for students?
Nov 282012

In our Common Questions series, StarrMatica’s CEO, Emily Starr, answers some of the questions we are most commonly asked.

First of all, research supports teacher selected instructional materials.  While at first glance it may seem easier to have a computer program choose activities for students, research has shown that technology, specifically instructional software, has been proven most effective when integrated into classroom instruction by a teacher.  Students who experienced teacher-led standards-based instruction with technology showed higher overall gains than students who experienced the same curricula and technology in an isolated lab setting.  This is because teachers have the ability to match computer instruction with a child’s development, the curriculum sequence, and the needs of particular groups of students.

Secondly, when students use individualized software programs, and the program assigns activities, these activities are typically limited in number, are skill and drill based, use the same strategies over and over, and offer little learner choice.  If computer selected interventions are not effective, then teachers are once again searching for alternate resources.

With StarrMatica, teachers are presented with up to fifty digital content resources for a concept, so instead of relying on a singularly focused activity, teachers can try several interventions until a student succeeds. In addition, choosing interventions from multiple activities with multiple strategies allows teachers to match interventions to a student’s learning style, interests, strengths, and weaknesses.  A teacher knows that:

  • John would like this activity because he has an interest in cars and this activity involves racing problems.
  • Shoney is distracted by sounds, so I’m going to choose this soundless activity.
  • Mason just completed two multiple choice worksheets and he guessed on every answer so I’m going to choose an activity where he has to think of an answer and type it in.
  • Alex is a visual learner, so I am going to choose this learning animation that uses graphics to explain place value.
  • Scott needs to work on his test taking strategies, so I am going to choose this multiple choice activity.
  • Joaquin understands multi-digit multiplication problems using the grid method, so I am going to choose practice that allows him to use that strategy.

The bottom line is that teachers know their students best.  So, we strive to put the best digital content choices at the fingertips of teachers so they can choose what is best for their students.


Virginia SOL Technology Enhanced Items Assistance

 Posted by on November 19, 2012  Complementary Downloads  Comments Off on Virginia SOL Technology Enhanced Items Assistance
Nov 192012

Are you an educator in Virginia looking for technology enhanced items assistance?  You are in luck because StarrMatica’s is a library filled with technology enhanced items!  After analyzing the practice test items on the VA DOE website, we prepared a guide to illustrate the multiple ways in which StarrMatica can help with each of the five types of technology enhanced items.  Download your personal copy of StarrMatica’s Assistance for VA SOL Technology Enhanced Items by clicking the link below and leave a comment or send us an email for further information.


PS—If you are going to be at the VASCD Conference in Williamsburg, VA, November 29th and 30th, stop by Proven Learning’s booth to meet our CEO and see StarrMatica’s library in action!

Behind the Scenes: The Voice of StarrMatica’s K-2nd Grade Content

 Posted by on November 6, 2012  Behind the Scenes of StarrMatica  Comments Off on Behind the Scenes: The Voice of StarrMatica’s K-2nd Grade Content
Nov 062012

Polly Peterson started out with aspirations to teach. Many of her relatives are teachers and principals, and although she has taught communication courses at her local community college, her radio career and voice over work takes center stage and has for the past 30 years.

When StarrMatica began looking for the voice of our K-2nd grade content, our recording specialist at Attica Recording Studios suggested we have Polly do a test recording of some of our content.  Once we heard her read the line from our cause and effect lesson, “The dominoes falling caused the spider to be squished.” we were hooked.  We couldn’t believe she could make a spider being squished sound so cute.

Polly’s favorite part of recording for StarrMatica is being able to help kids!  With her teaching background, she really appreciates the writing of the lessons.  “The online teaching technique provides a relaxed and fun playground for kids to soak up valuable learning lessons,” Polly shares.

And although Polly looks forward to every recording session, she quips that singing a modified version of BINGO in the Numerals lesson was quite a challenge.  “All kidding aside,” Polly shares, “I feel honored to be a part of this.”

Polly’s work outside of StarrMatica includes radio, tv, online, and training projects for major corporations.   But, Polly likes to stay busy with voice projects because she believes, “If you love what you do then it’s not work!”  And you can hear that enthusiasm in her work with StarrMatica.