At BASIS Independent Schools, we are constantly looking for ways to optimize our program while staying true to our foundation of academic excellence.
SPORK is an exciting new tablet-based math textbook program implemented at BASIS Independent Schools this year. The program, which offers many useful applications and learning tools, was initially tested last year at a few of our campuses as a new tool for BASIS Independent students and teachers in select math courses: Pre-Algebra, Algebra I/Geometry, and Algebra II/Geometry. Keep reading to learn more about how this initiative is elevating our curriculum.
What is SPORK?
SPORK takes the very best aspects of a spiraling mathematics curriculum and augments it with more complex, multi-step problems. Not only does this software offer features that allow teachers to have greater control over classroom content, it allows students to access homework, provide immediate feedback (polling) on their level of understanding in homework or in-class work, and access useful and school-approved applications, tools, and resources.
How does SPORK work?
While students spend time working through their math homework via tablet, they are prompted to assess their level of understanding for each problem. Students select from a range of options, including “unsure and need help” and “fully comprehend and able to help others.” Teachers will then access and review student feedback, allowing them to regulate their classroom instruction to address problem areas where the class may have struggled and more efficiently move on from concepts that the students have mastered. As students practice each problem and are able to solve it on their own, they can adjust their previous assessment as necessary.
Why replace Saxon Math with SPORK?
Saxon Math has been a central part of the BASIS math curriculum going all the way back to the year 2000! The BASIS Curriculum, however, is based on data-driven innovation, and SPORK offers our schools an opportunity to make improvements as often as needed to the textbooks, while maintaining the elements that guide students to concept mastery. In SPORK, we have created a dynamic math curriculum that could improve on elements of Saxon’s content and approach, including lightening the homework burden on students, making the sequencing of related/interdependent topics clearer and more orderly, and incorporating more opportunities for critical thinking and lesson extension.
How does technology impact the BASIS Curriculum?
At BASIS Independent Schools, we rely on our expert teachers to engage with their students and create a co-creative environment where students participate, converse, analyze, and making inquiries. While we believe tech is not essential to excel in the classroom, innovation is a founding principle of the BASIS Curriculum. With this in mind, SPORK is also designed not only as a Math textbook, but also as a means to deliver content to students in their other classes. English teachers are able to “push out” poems and articles for analysis; music teachers can share sheet music; students can compare primary sources. Our network was drawn to SPORK not merely for technology’s sake, but to further enhance the impact of our program.
We are pleased to see this interactive program has rolled out successfully from campus to campus across the country; our teachers have been able to refine text and lessons in ways that are impossible with a static text.
We can’t wait to see how our students come out even better prepared for more advanced courses in their grades to come!