RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Rapid City students aren’t allowed to tweet or post on Facebook at school, but teachers could soon encourage students to send “blasts” through a new reading program.
The Rapid City school board is considering implementing StudySync, a reading program from McGraw-Hill, the Rapid City Journal reported. StudySync offers a class-wide forum where students can send short, anonymous “blast” responses to reading prompts from their school-issued laptop.
The new reading program proposed for next fall also includes a digital license for readings and videos as well as a textbook with fiction, nonfiction and grammar exercises.
The blasts are shared with students in a particular section and teachers monitor posts for inappropriate comments, said Valerie Seales, Rapid City Area Schools’ director of teaching, learning and innovation.
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Students respond to reading prompts in fewer than 280 characters and then rate each other’s blasts based on spelling, complete thoughts and “careful” language.
“It mirrors real-life communication,” said Robert Romano, founder and CEO of the StudySync.
Teachers can also play a moderating role by directing conversation and setting parameters, Seales said.
The city’s reading instructors chose StudySync over a comparable reading product from another publisher after a trial-run with each curriculum. Rapid City middle school students enjoyed their interactions through the blast forum, teachers said.
“Cross communication between multiple participants is a 21st century skill,” Seales said. “And to do that in a moderated setting, that’s very beneficial.”
If the board adopts StudySync, it’ll mark the first time the city’s schools have had a uniform reading curriculum.
Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com