Back in January of this year, STEMscopes released word of new features that went into the STEMscopes curriculum—and now we are back with more! STEMscopes users are always enjoying updates, thanks to the feedback that they provide. In this round of updates, users will get to experience many accessibility and functionalitiy features with the user interface.
1. Editable resources — Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, each edition of STEMscopes will feature more editable resources than ever before. All Engage, Explore, and Evaluate elements (in addition to the Picture Vocabulary element in the Explain section) will be available in an editable PowerPoint format. The Texas edition, specifically, will feature editable documents as Google-drive files, and in the 2018-2019 school year, all editable files in all STEMscopes editions will be available as Google drive-friendly documents. Don't have a Google drive? Simply create a Gmail address and access a Google drive at no cost!
2. Assessment tools — New assessment tools have been added to the site that allow for additional student interactions with content. This includes a new drag-and-drop tool and true fill-in-the-blank model.
3. Content annotations — Rounding out the new features are the content annotations. Students and teachers now have a set of tools to highlight, take notes, and access an embedded dictionary with an on-screen text. Students can share their annotations with teachers through their student accounts.
4. Viewable assignments — Teachers are now able to view assignments from a master view to simultaneously see all grades, statuses, and whether a student has submitted an assignment.
5. Returnable assignments — Assignments can now be returned to students. This feature could be useful if, for example, a student has not fuly shown his or her work or needs a second chance to do the assignment more carefully. Comments can be provided when the quiz (or reading, open-ended response, etc.) is returned to help students as they rework the assignment.
6. Learning resources additions — Assignment types can now be added to "learning resources," a set of lesson materials that are always accessible to students throughout the entire year. These materials do not have to be individually assigned and can be accessed in student accounts under "learning reources" at any time.
7. Labeling of assignments — Assignments can now be labeled for filtering and categorizing however you see fit. For example, you can now filter "homework" away from other assignments. Students can see these assignment labels to help them determine what work to do and when.
8. Bookmarks — Teachers can bookmark scopes and groups of scopes in folders for ease of access and can share them with other teachers. This is a great way to help teachers focus on specific lessons during testing season or reteach periods.
9. Embedded test bank — Several improvements have been made to the embedded test item bank. Assessments that are created in the test bank can now be toggled from Spanish to English at any time—no need to recreate a separate Spanish/English test for ELL students! Assessments can also be generated by scopes so teachers can more easily create customized assessments. Further customization can be added through the new editable download feature.
10. Font size and type — Font sizes and type can now be universally changed to improve readability. A high-contrast dark view is also available for those who struggle with screen reading. These enhancements can be accessed through the "settings" tab.
11. Text-to-speech — Text-to-speech has been enhanced to offer reading speed options and simultaneously highlight text as it is read aloud. This feature can also be accessed through the "settings" tab.
12. Videos — All student lesson videos now have closed captioning that can be used by operating the controls at the bottom of a video's window.
As STEMscopes continues to thrive and receive user feedback, our curriculum will continue to grow. Stay tuned for future updates, features, and enhancements!