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By: Katherina MardName of Technology Tool: Quia WebInternet Website Address: www.Quia.com/webCost: Free Trial (30 Day per registrant); After 30 Days (see below)Source: http://www.quia.com/subscription/rate-card.htmlRationale for using this tool: Quia (short for Quintessential Instructional Archive)is an easy to use, secure (passwordprotected) online educational tool designed around the individuals unique learning abilities and skill-set. As an industryleading service (used in over 12,000 schools in all 50 states & 70 countries), Quia offers up a suite of games and onlineactivities centered around teaching a variety of subjects (including special needs). Given the tool is on the internet,students, teachers and parents (if appropriate) can work in virtually any setting: computer lab, classroom, home computer.As part of this project I learned first-hand (my daughter also uses Quia as well – 7th grader) how Quia enables a user tocreate their own online tests and assessment criteria. For this assignment, I used the category “special needs” andbelieve that they have a firm grasp on learning techniques necessary. Here is a sample link to a game I played called“Don’t Forget the Lyrics”: http://www.quia.com/pop/160091.html?AP_rand=562109590.After playing on Quia, I feel that many of the educational games are well suited for a special needs student. As asubscriber to Quia, you have the option to create custom games that can leverage your offline experience with thestudent. For example, a student may enjoy matching games. Quia offers matching games across dozens of subjects andenables you to make learning ‘fun’ yet effective. Games range from simple matching to hangman, flashcards,concentration, ordered lists and more.Although I have not used this in a classroom setting, Quia also comes with a feature enabling you to manage individualperformance and chart their performance against both classmates and other students from a similar education and/orlearning level. Given the need to automate/streamline paperwork surrounding student performance, the studenttracking/results features and the detailed grading reports appear to be a real asset.Since Quia is a technology based tool, all activity online is collected when a user is logged in. This is very important, as auser (i.e. Teacher) can easily track student performance and leverage Quia to make sure they addressing the individualstudent needs and challenging them appropriately. Additionally, reminder emails can be set up to help parents make suretheir child/children are progressing in the classroom.
To learn more about quia, you can visit this page online and select from dozens of different tutorials available:http://www.quia.com/tutorials.html.Advantages: As mentioned in my rationale, there are a number of advantages. I have selected three unique advantagesfor this aspect of the assignment: 1. Tutorials: often times a student can get stuck on an assignment. The Quia tool comes with dozens of tutorials based on the specific assignment they are completing. Consider getting stuck in a game of hangman. The student (or parent) can get help by clicking on a link online. 2. Surveys: many times a parent (especially in a special needs environment) is not aware of the student performance. By using the custom survey tool within Quia, the teacher can set up surveys to get feedback in real- time from a parent. Questions could be simple… ‘did your child have fun playing Quia”… to more complex… “how have you used math at your house to help your child learn.” 3. Organization: there is a sophisticated online file manager built into the tool that enables the user to tag students, classrooms, subjects and other assignments given throughout the year. This is a strong advantage from both a time management and organization perspective. Users can look at past semester/year performance and figure out what “worked” and what did not work well for their student and apply those learnings in future assignments.Disadvantage of this tool: The primary weakness for this tool is use in an offline setting. If a student does not haveaccess to the internet, they cannot use Quia. Quia should offer an offline version that can be accessed via a computer(CD-ROM, etc.). Other disadvantages include: 1. Special Needs Focus: although there is a section dedicated to special needs, there should be a filter available to select from based on a child’s unique needs. Since I work with an autistic child, I would have benefited more from getting a list of activities geared towards a child with autism. 2. Cost: the cost can range from just $49 (individual) to over $2,900 for a school district on an annual basis. Given the fixed budgets at many schools and the cost needed to provide computer equipment in a classroom setting, it could be cost prohibitive for many classroom scenarios. 3. Time: if Quia is assigned as homework, the home will need to have a ‘home computer’ available for the student to use. From our experience, this is often difficult if there are multiple children in a family and/or the computer needs to be used for other purposesAssessment of tools (specific to a learner with special needs): Given the customization features and pre-establishedactivity templates, a teacher has the flexibility to design a custom curriculum based on their special needs student(s). Ifneeded, Quia also offers a ‘question bank’ based on select filters/terms that can be set-up. The filters do not delineatebased on a special needs scenario, but with proper training of Quia and experience a teacher can establish a strongspecial needs curriculum.Additionally, there are dozens of user groups and forums established around a variety of educational needs. Thisincludes a group that caters to the special needs audience. The Quia website also offers a variety of self-help and guided-help features for a teacher to use, as they become familiar with online educational product.As mentioned in my rationale for selecting to demo Quia, I believe the online tracking and reporting is critical to a specialneeds environment. Keeping other teachers, peers, parents and other appropriate parties informed of a child(s)performance is often critical to a special needs learning process. Quia enables the teacher to make sure that everyone iswell informed in real-time how a student(s) is doing.Additional Thoughts: Although, I believe there are some serious disadvantages to this tool (specific to special needs), Ibelieve with proper training on how to use Quia more efficiently and feedback from Quia support, a highly effective onlineeducational program could be put together for a special needs student. Furthermore, given my personal and professionalexperience with Quia Web, I would recommend a teacher/school considers this online educational tool as unique andcompelling way to teach.
Quia has 1,000’s of programs to offer, is intuitive, is process oriented and fun to use. Not convinced, I encourage you to read some testimonials online: http://www.quia.com/testimonials.html.