When reviewing Business&ITCenter21 as a potential teaching resource, business and computer teachers have a lot to consider.
Does it align with your course standards? Will it help your students hone their skills for the workplace? What will the impact be on your students’ learning experience and outcomes?
Even if Business&ITCenter21 meets your standards and saves you time with planning and grading, a disconnect for your students can be a significant problem.
In this article, you’ll discover what Business&ITCenter21 looks like from your students’ perspective and how the system can improve your students’ understanding and long-term retention of information.
You’ll also learn tips for implementing the curriculum in a blended learning environment to provide an engaging and effective learning experience.
Before getting into the details of what students can access, let’s review how the curriculum is organized in the Business&ITCenter21 system.
How Is the Business&ITCenter21 Curriculum Organized?
The Business&ITCenter21 curriculum is made up of learning modules that focus on overarching topics such as Digital Citizenship, Microsoft Office Applications, Google Applications, or Professionalism.
These modules follow our unique learning plan called the Four Phases.
This learning plan is a framework designed to help you maximize student understanding, engagement, and information retention.
The four phases of the Business&ITCenter21 curriculum are:
- Explore: Teacher-led activities to hook students’ interest
- Learn & Practice: Student-directed eLearning within the system to learn new concepts and skills
- Reflect: Teacher-led activities to review and discuss key ideas
- Reinforce: Student-directed projects to enhance understanding of concepts and skills
When logged into the AES system, your students will access the independent learning materials found in the Learn & Practice phase.
Materials in the other three learning phases are only available to you, the teacher, and will need to be provided to students on a case-by-case basis.
Let’s dive into what your students will access and complete when logged into Business&ITCenter21.
What Do Students Have Access to Within a Business&ITCenter21 Module?
When your students sign into Business&ITCenter21, they’ll see the modules you’ve assigned to them along with the associated due dates and progress.
Remember, your students will only have access to the Learn & Practice phase of each module. Here’s an example of what you see versus what your students see for the Digital Citizenship module:
Within the Learn & Practice phase of each module, your students will complete eLearning lessons, hands-on projects, and a variety of assessments.
In the sections below, you’ll learn more about these curriculum pieces and the benefits they provide to your students.
How Self-Directed eLearning Lessons Build Student Engagement and Understanding
Business&ITCenter21 helps teachers create dynamic, blended learning experiences that keep students engaged while maximizing student understanding.
The eLearning lessons help accomplish this in three ways:
- Following multiple teaching theories to organize lesson content
- Presenting lesson information in an engaging, relatable way
- Reinforcing information with guided notes
These strategies combine to result in better long-term retention of information throughout your students’ schooling and their future careers.
Following Multiple Teaching Theories to Organize Lesson Content
Within a module, the Business&ITCenter21 curriculum is organized into units and lessons. The material is presented this way according to two learning theories - chunking and scaffolding.
Chunking involves breaking down a large amount of information into smaller “chunks” of related information.
We use chunking to break modules down into units and individual lessons to make the content more manageable for your students, as shown here for the Customer Service module:
Organizing modules via chunking results in better comprehension of the material and makes it easier for students to remember what they have learned.
Scaffolding is a method of instruction that incrementally builds on the learning that previously happened.
Here’s how scaffolding works in the Coding Fundamentals module of Business&ITCenter21:
In Unit 1, students are introduced to coding, what it means, and how computers use code to function.
In Unit 2, students learn the programming process and basic elements of coding, such as commands, command statements, loops, and conditional statements.
In Unit 3, students are exposed to more difficult elements of coding, including events, variables, and operators.
We use the scaffolding method to give students as much exposure to the information as possible and are required to recall what they have learned multiple times.
This exposure and recall results in better long-term retention of skills and concepts, which is crucial for your students to enter the workforce.
Presenting Information in an Engaging, Relatable Way
Whether you teach business education, computer applications, or career readiness, it can be challenging to keep your students engaged. This is especially true for topics students typically consider boring or irrelevant.
When developing eLearning lessons, we focus on making the material accurate, engaging, age-appropriate, and relevant to your students.
That’s why we develop the lessons in a way that makes the content relatable to something real in your students’ lives.
For example, in the Living Online - Social Communication module, a cast of young characters guide learners through making good decisions about online behaviors.
Students also learn more about smartphones while they join one of the characters as he researches his first smartphone purchase.
Additionally, our curriculum developers always keep your students front of mind when creating new material. Here’s the approach one of our instructional designers, Celestial Holmes, takes when writing new curriculum:
“When I'm writing, I'm always thinking of the students and always have different types of learners in mind, so we find ways to hit all of those types of learning.
We have narration that covers auditory learners. We find ways to give students who learn by doing the opportunity to interact and engage with the materials. That's also one reason we have the student worksheets - to have students answer questions and take notes about what they’re learning.
We try to encompass all of the learning styles to fully engage the students. That's what makes us different."
For the most challenging topics for students to relate to, we incorporate real-world scenarios, interactive activities, and project-based learning to keep students engaged.
When developing the Banking and Finance module, the curriculum team pushed outside of the box to make a traditionally boring topic more interesting to students:
“A static image and wall of text isn't the best way to engage students. It can get the job done in terms of telling the information, but students are more engaged when you challenge them and provide activities and interactions in the lessons to show they have been paying attention to the content.
We are very creative and try to explore and push the boundaries of our system to create content that engages the students and draws them in. Sometimes the standards don’t allow for that, but when it does, we run with it.
That's what we did with the Banking and Finance module. It doesn't have the most "fun" content, but we tried to make it relevant with stories that would be appropriate for the age of students learning from the material.”
By presenting the eLearning materials in this way, students stay engaged while forming real-world connections. This combination helps improve understanding and cements the information in your students’ long-term memory.
Learn More: 5 Ways Business&ITCenter21 Keep Students Engaged
Reinforcing Information with Guided Notes
Even with engaging, relatable content at their fingertips, students need to interact with and apply what they are learning in various ways.
That’s why Business&ITCenter21 includes student worksheets.
As students work through the eLearning lessons, they follow along and answer questions highlighting each lesson’s most important concepts.
These worksheets are available as printable PDFs or in an electronic format, depending on your students’ needs and what works best for your situation.
Answering the worksheet questions make students stop and pay attention to what they are reading and hearing. This requires them to process the information and then relay it to answer the associated worksheet questions.
After students have completed the worksheets, they can go back and use them as a study guide to further cement the information and prepare for their assessments.
How Assessments in Business&ITCenter21 Reinforce and Solidify Learning
Within learning modules, students will also complete multiple types of assessments:
- In-lesson questions
- Formative unit quizzes
- Summative module tests
Each type of assessment serves a specific purpose, all tied to the end goal of increasing student understanding and long-term retention of information.
Within the eLearning lessons, your students will encounter non-graded questions that check for understanding.
Answering these questions requires students to recall and apply what they have just learned. This helps to further cement their understanding of the concepts discussed.
These questions also allow students to gauge their understanding of the topic by acting as checkpoints throughout the lesson.
Overall, the in-lesson questions provide students with a safe place to fail since there is no penalty for answering incorrectly, and they are given information to reinforce what the correct answer is.
If a student struggles to answer a question, they know they should review that part of the lesson before proceeding further.
Formative Unit Quizzes
After students complete all of the eLearning lessons within a unit, they are assessed with a unit quiz.
A unit quiz is a formative assessment that acts as a knowledge check of how well students comprehend the unit’s material.
Because the quiz is a formative assessment, teachers can adjust their class settings to allow multiple attempts on unit quizzes.
So, if a student doesn’t do well on a quiz, they know that they should go back and review the lesson content over again.
Overall, completing the unit quizzes help students gauge how well they understand the material. Then they can go back and review lessons as needed to prepare for the module test.
Summative Module Tests
After completing all of the units in a module, students are assessed with a module test.
The module test is the summative assessment that measures how well a student masters the module’s content.
As a summative assessment, the module test includes questions from each unit to ensure full comprehension of the material.
After a student completes the lessons, units, quizzes, and module test, you’ll be able to track their learning development throughout the semester from your AES teacher dashboard.
How to Implement Business&ITCenter21 to Improve Your Students' Learning Experience
Now that you know what your students complete within Business&ITCenter21 and how it can help them learn, you’re likely wondering the best way to use the system in your classes.
The key to success is remembering the Learn & Practice phase is only one piece of the four-phase structure of the curriculum.
The information gained from the Learn & Practice phase is made stronger when partnered with the three other phases - Explore, Reflect, and Reinforce.
In those phases you’ll find class activities, skills demonstrations, teacher presentations, group projects, and more to support your students’ learning.
For example, in the Email and Electronic Calendars module, students learn the bulk of the information from the Learn & Practice eLearning lessons.
However, when you incorporate the other phases from the module, students will:
- Research the history of email
- Answer reflection questions
- Practice sending, receiving, and forwarding emails
- Use a calendar to practice scheduling
- Complete crossword puzzles based on module vocabulary
- Research a current event related to email and calendaring
While it may feel overwhelming to figure out the best way to use the four-phase curriculum in your business or computer courses, you don’t have to do it alone.
Thousands of teachers have been in your shoes, and they have each found the best way to use the system with their unique students.
To help you get started, we’ve compiled their ideas into seven ways to use Business&ITCenter21 for blended learning in your classes:
- Introduce key concepts with teacher presentations
- Assign Learn & Practice lessons as classwork
- Rotate groups between digital and hands-on work
- Assign Learn & Practice lessons as homework
- Present the Learn & Practice lessons to the class
- Assign reflection questions as homework
- Assign current event reports as homework
Read the full article here: How to Use the Four Phases in Your Classroom