Actively Learn vs. Accelerated Reader 360
Here at Actively Learn, we encourage students to take into account the author's bias when analyzing a text. In weighing ourselves against Accelerated Reader 360, we are obviously not an impartial jury. That said, our view is that Actively Learn and AR360 differ fundamentally in terms of their pedagogical focus and functionality.
Accelerated Reader 360
Accelerated Reader 360 was designed as an independent reading platform. It relies on ATOS and Lexile to determine student reading levels and provides assessments that regularly monitor students' progress along those measures. It requires minimal teacher intervention and functions independently by providing auto-generated assessments to students.
Actively Learn was designed as a way for teachers to implement best pedagogical practices that are otherwise cumbersome or impossible to implement with paper texts. We also know that students are motivated by reading that is purposeful and meaningful, which is why we support the deep reading that students are doing for their classes and that connects to ideas that are relevant to their learning.
Summary of Key Differences
teacher role: amplifying the power of teacher instruction and feedback
Actively Learn seeks to transform what teachers are able to do in the classroom. We want to enable best teaching practices that are otherwise cumbersome or impossible to achieve with paper texts: scaffolding, differentiating, modeling, chunking, and collaborating within the text. We also want to instill reading habits that improve student learning: self-monitoring, annotating, asking questions, making connections across ideas, and developing vocabulary and research skills.
Teachers who use Actively Learn are looking to improve the way they teach reading comprehension. Many of our teachers find that using Actively Learn leads them to ask better questions, give more effective feedback, and offers insights into their students' thinking.
collaboration: engaging, social learning
Actively Learn relies on collaboration to build intrinsic motivation to read. Students consistently report in our product surveys that their favorite part of reading for class is discussion; they are driven to read when the ideas in the text spark conversation and debate. This is why we've designed our platform to incorporate discussion between the student, his or her peers, and the teacher right inside the text. We want students to share ideas, respond to each other's thoughts, and participate in rich debate while they read. This also holds students accountable for their reading and promotes higher-quality work.
motivation: CHOICE OF TEXT
Actively Learn believes that the choice of text should be determined by relevance and interest rather than ATOS or Lexile. Reading merely to advance to the next level does not convince students that reading is purposeful or meaningful in the long term.We also encourage students to read books, articles, and short-form content that connect to what they are studying in class. Research has shown that content knowledge is a better predictor of comprehension than is reading level (Recht & Leslie 1988). This means that aligning reading closely to the curriculum not only furthers knowledge but also enables students to better understand what they read.
Because we want to expand the selection of texts that are available to teachers and students, we allow our users to import their own content into our platform. If there's an internet article, PDF, or Google doc that students will find compelling and that supports the material they are studying, they should be encouraged to read it rather than being limited only to leveled texts.
goal of deeper learning: CONTEXTUALLY RELEVANT QUESTIONS
Because of our emphasis on content knowledge as the backbone of reading comprehension, our questions are directly tied to the specific themes and concepts found in the text. You will never find a generic question like, "Which of the following sentences best summarizes the main idea of this article?" in our instructional content. What you will find are questions that are written by educators who are familiar with the works and want students to dig deeper into the ideas presented.