Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Teachscape XL

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Teachscape XL

Article excerpt

Company: Teachscape, 731 Market St., Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94103. Phone: (877) 988-3224. Internet:

Price: $1,500 per school site, per year, for a single content family. $2,500 per school site, per year, for two to four content families.

Audience: K-12 teachers, administrators, and others who develop online teacher professional development resources.

Format: Web-based digital database with search engine and tools to create professional learning materials.

Minimum System Requirements: In general, any computer with a browser and internet connection will work to a certain degree. To take full advantage of Teachscape XL, you will need the following:

For Windows systems: A Pentium 400MHz processor, Windows 2000, and 64MB RAM (128MB recommended).

For Macintosh systems: A Power-PC 400MHz processor, OS 10.2, and a minimum 64MB RAM (128MB recommended).

The minimum recommended browsers for Windows systems include Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or Firefox 1.5. The recommended browsers for Macintosh systems include Safari 2.0 or Firefox 1.5. JavaScript and cookies must be enabled; pop-up windows must be unblocked.

Additional free software is required, including QuickTime Version 6.0, Adobe Reader Version 5.0, and Adobe Flash Player 7.0.

Description: Teachscape XL is an online professional development resource that provides a web-based database with a search engine and tools for combining resources (including video) into personalized professional development teacher training materials.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: Installation includes subscribing to the service and making sure computers can access everything needed. Apage on the Teachscape site helps users test workstations for needed software. Installation Rating:A

Content/Features: Teachscape has gathered together a large number of online institutes, classes, workshops, graduate and other programs of study, and additional materials aimed at improving communities of learning in a variety of specific ways. These resources include modules with video, text, graphic models, and other digital materials offered in a web-based digital database.

Every element of each set of materials (including text, video, and interactive resources) is available as an individual item in the searchable Teachscape training library. These items can be reassembled for personalized instruction programs, or users can create new resources of their own.

The video material includes best-practice videos, commentaries by noted researchers, teacher reflections, and student commentary. The text resources offer background material, research summaries, classroom resources with lesson plans, sample student work, and assessments.

The graphic models illustrate key ideas. The communication and collaboration tools promote communication among members of a community of learning and provide a virtual forum enabling the members to communicate about their work.

The content creation tools allow users to add content to existing resources to make new materials. Existing content can be reorganized using resources from a variety of sources; schools and districts can create their own examples of professional practice.

The basic idea for using these materials is that instructional coaches observe teachers working in the classroom and talk with the teachers to select instructional skills for development. Professional learning resources designed to shape and improve instruction in those areas are selected. The teachers then work with the selected resources from their computer desktops.

Instructional coaches can increase the number of teachers they work with by using virtual coaching for individual online work. …

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