Pathblazer (Website, Grades 3-8)
[Compass Learning (512-478-9600]

         Compass Learning has been committed to pioneering advancements in educational software for over 20 years, and their product enhancements have merited recognition in our publications (see the 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013 issues of The ComputED Gazette).
         In this year's EDDIE Awards, we are privileged to review their Pathblazer software, designed to accelerate learning of Math and Language Arts in the elementary and middle grades. The interface is noticeably trendy, utilizing large, colorful tiles to access topics.
Pathblazer addresses critical thinking and 21st century skills using rigorous standards-aligned and Common Core content, making it highly effective for reading and math intervention. The program provides adaptive screeners to determine a student's highest functional performance level, online diagnostic assessments, automatically-generated individualized acceleration plans, exceptional multimedia tools (videos, animations, audio instructions, and graphics), quizzes, and reporting functions.
         Math: In grades 3-5, students focus on building a solid understanding of operations with whole numbers. With this foundation, they can bridge to more complex work with rational numbers, including fractions, decimals, ratios, and percents. In grades 6-8, students focus on building an understanding of operations with rational numbers, including fractions, decimals, ratios, and percents. Only when these skills are firmly established does learning extend to more complex work with measurement, geometry, statistics, probability, and problem solving.
         Language Arts: A diagnostic/prescriptive system builds an individual learning path, and there is an e-Reader bookshelf of at-level texts for reading volume and fluency. The student receives pre-built, supportive grade-level instruction that includes complex texts, interactive multiple-choice questions, and scaffolded concepts for comprehension. In-context vocabulary support is also provided during reading, with definitions and visuals that support the concept.
         Two valuable tools on the Student Dashboard are (1) Portfolio, where they can view their progress and recent work (2) Writer, which opens a wordprocessor containing writing assignments and templates.
         For teachers,
Pathblazer provides progress-monitoring and data-visualization to ensure that students are on track, and to determine appropriate follow-up steps if needed. A comprehensive Teacher Guide is available, with instructions on developing courses, assignments and tests, managing classes, browsing the Compass Learning curriculum content, and more.
         This subscription-based product is winner in the category, "Upper Elementary - Reading/Math Website."

Plato Courseware English 12 (Websites)
[Edmentum (800) 419-3191]

         It's hard to find rigorous, content-rich online literature courses which are adaptive to a diverse range of students, but Edmentum has done it with Plato Courseware English 12, winner of the 2014 EDDIE for High School English Website.
         Standards-based, and grounded to Common Core,
Plato Courseware English 12 is a solid, one semester introduction to British literature, enhanced with historical background and lush period art. Beginning with the Romantic Era, it moves through the Victorian and Modern eras, with an emphasis on poetry, and excerpts from novels and plays.  Plato Courseware English 12 provides online tools to help students succeed: A sidebar menu offers Contents of Tutorial, Notes, Resources (Text, Vocabulary, and a Glossary), Dictionary, Text-to-Speech, and a Translation tool.  Overall, there is a distinct 21st Century feel, blending the highest-quality literature with engaging interactive media.
         Plato Courseware English 12 can be used in a lab setting, a blended environment, or as a totally virtual approach. Pretests allow students to skip content already mastered and focus on new content; and assessments ensure mastery. 
         Whether your students need original credit, supplemental learning, credit recovery, college-prep, or enrichment,
Plato Courseware English 12 will deliver.