EdTechLens is an online curriculum developer for grades K-5. Our first product, Rainforest Journey, teaches the life science curriculum through the lens of a trip to the rainforest. Two other programs, now in development, will complete our science offerings.
WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE DO
GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT RAINFOREST JOURNEY
Rainforest Journey is a theme-based online life sciences program for children in grades K-5. Program components include lessons, chapter reviews, assessments, primary source materials, and hands-on activities.
Rainforest Journey has 6 courses, one for each grade level from K-5. Teachers can create a custom name that does not display grade level.
Yes, Rainforest Journey lessons are aligned with the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards), and with the New York State Science Standards. Teachers see standards are covered as they view each lesson. Data analytics show student performance on specific NGSS assessment standards. Chapter Reviews are Common Core ELA aligned.
Each reading passage contains a section for teacher viewing that indicates the Lexile score, the standards covered, and the word count. Tools are available to track student and class grades and progress through the program, and to control what contents in the course students access. Click here view an example
The Lexile score of each reading passage is indicated in teacher tools on the bottom of each lesson.
Yes, our lessons have an audio feature. Students can click a speaker icon at the end of the text to have the passage read to them.
Yes, teachers can track student usage and progress in an easy to manage interface. Click here view an example
Yes, all student's grades and progress reports can be downloaded to a spreadsheet.
Yes, school administrators can retrieve data from the program using their own interface. Easy to use dashboards help track class progress and grades. Click here view an example
Although younger students likely need adult monitoring, children in the higher grades can easily learn to work self-sufficiently. The default setting on the program allows a student to progress through the lessons in sequential order. This setting can be removed by the teacher, allowing students to work out of sequence.
You can use any device that connects the internet: desktop computer, digital whiteboard, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.
Rainforest Journey contains three types of questions in its summative assessments.
- multiple choice
- open-ended discussion topics
- depth-of-knowledge assessments that reinforce conceptual thinking
Yes, new vocabulary words are defined in lesson passages and each grade level has a full vocabulary list with definitions. Sample vocabulary from Grade 3 lesson
Yes, a national third-party efficacy test was conducted by SEG Measurement in Spring, 2016. Students who used the program showed greater gains in life science knowledge than comparable students who did not use Rainforest Journey. Teachers overwhelmingly agreed that students using the program showed greater levels of engagement and that the program was useful in supporting literacy goals and standards. See the data here.
FEATURES AND BENEFITS
Rainforest Journey has multiple components. The lessons are complemented by hands-on activities, chapter reviews, unit assessments, and primary source materials.
- Lessons: There are about 30 lessons (depending on grade level) in the Rainforest Journey program and one lesson usually can be completed in a typical class session. Each NGSS-aligned lesson contains media and reading passages with an audio option. The basic lesson text is supplemented by optional enrichment text written at a slightly higher reading level than the main lesson text. Depending on how much of the supplemental material teachers choose to cover, it could take up to 60 sessions to use all the material within the Rainforest Journey program.
- Assessments: Chapter reviews aligned with CC ELA at the end of each of the twelve chapters function as formative assessments. Summative assessments aligned with NGSS follow each of the five units. The program includes a grade book that scores short-answer questions but also allows teachers to correct open-ended questions to complete the scoring process.
- Primary Sources: Three types of primary sources help students connect science concepts to ‘real world’ science:
- The Rainforest Trip Journal of a mother-son photo/video team visit to the rainforest
- A series of expert interviews by scientists and naturalists
- Video clips of plant and animal life from the rainforest
- Hands-on Activities: Designed by educators, our hands-on activities give students opportunities for active learning and reinforcement of the concepts in the lesson sections. There are two versions available: one set for home users and another for classrooms.
- Blog: There is a rainforest blog for kids within the program. It is targeted to the reading levels of 3rd – 4th grade students, highlights rainforest facts and news, and is coordinated with the program curriculum.
Yes. All life science standards are covered in the program.
In addition to science instruction, Rainforest Journey can be used to help meet Common Core ELA requirements. The rich media and rainforest facts contained in the lessons provide ample opportunities for language development. The lessons are also an engaging source of nonfiction reading, and Lexile scores help teachers choose appropriate reading content for their students. Writing assignments in the chapter reviews are aligned with selected ELA standards. 100% of the teachers in efficacy testing* confirmed the program was useful in filling Common Core requirements for reading informational text and in supporting literacy goals.
* see details: Efficacy Testing Summary
The needs of challenged and special needs learners have been included in the program design. Photorealistic media is used instead of instead of juvenile media so the program appeals to all age levels. Interface design is flexible; a minimum of text appears and extra clicks are required to see more. This keeps challenged learners from being overwhelmed by the amount of print on a page. Lessons have an audio option so learners can listen to reading passages. The course can be labeled so that students will not see the course grade level.
Our user interface has been adapted by web developers to meet the unique needs of elementary-school-aged children. The program was designed by educators to be developmentally appropriate in its balance of screen time and teacher/student interactions. Hands-on activities give students concrete experiences to reinforce science concepts learned in lessons.
- It was designed and built for elementary school students.
- The design concept is that of a coffee table book for children. Video clips and photographs dominate the pages. A minimal amount of text is revealed; students click icons to see more text.
- Rainforest Journey can be successfully used with differentiated learners. The flexible page design allows the program to be effective for emerging readers, accelerated students, and special needs students.
- The program uses photorealistic media. This makes it appealing to and effective for older students, who may be challenged learners or English-language learners.
- Student engagement is fostered by personal connection. Personal connection components include scientist interviews, a trip journal of a real rainforest journey, and photographs of children in rainforest environments.
All links within EdTechLens online programs are kept within the program for student users. Our student blog links to sources but links are hidden from students when they are logged in.
A minimal amount of text is revealed so students are not overwhelmed. An audio narration option is available for all reading passages. Teachers can also create a custom grade label for their class that does not indicate the course grade level.
PURCHASING OUR CURRICULUM PROGRAMS
Yes, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Yes, we accept purchase orders but only from schools.
No, but it works best if you do. If you purchased the program in January, for example, you could still access the program until the following December. However, since you will have different students in the next school year, you will not be able to use the gradebook feature with them. The number of students whose grades can be recorded in the grade book is capped at the quota chosen at purchase time (35 students).