For the launch grant, I worked with Sparkito, an interactive program for exploring languages. While the program worked fine when I used it in the classroom, I also wanted to use the other feature of the program, which is to allow students who need support to work with the program at home. It ended up being a frustration for many students since the program had too much vocabulary, which was presented at too challenging a pace. The songs also had too much vocabulary that sometimes made it hard for students to understand. The program was mostly used in first grade, but I gave home access to students from different grades. The illustrations in the program were too juvenile for students in second grade and up, which was also a limitation.
I do have to say that I was frustrated myself with the program and happy that I had time to explore it before purchasing a big license for the school.
During the process, in one of our school meetings, Mrs. Lavenberg did a presentation using an app called “Explain Everything.” I got very excited about it, and with the remaining money available from the grant I purchased USB drives. I am currently creating material that children can take home to practice the content we explored in class, and I will also use it in the 2013-14 school year.