Adler College is a private, K12 bilingual school, previously known as Caguas Military Academy founded in 1975, and acquired by Adler Group, Inc., in 2012. Although, the school has the best junior military program in Puerto Rico, they wanted to change the scope to a more technology learning-based institution. During the past 3 years, Adler College has been transformed from a book-based to a technology-based teaching school.
What were the challenges before CYPHER?
Dr. Oscar Vázquez Meléndez (Chief Learning Architect): At the beginning of the 2015 academic year, we adopted a standard-based curriculum as outlined by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico. Our goal is to be a model for, not only private but public school systems, to teach and comply with the learning standards of the Department of Education of Puerto Rico.
The school's transformation and goals required a Learning Management System that could accomplish some key aspects:
The LMS needed to support a standard-based learning curriculum;
The LMS could allow the school staff to supervise that teachers were teaching by the standards;
The LMS could portray that students were learning/meeting each of the standards taught;
The school could design the curriculum around Units, Weeks, and Days to meet the standards;
The LMS could allow them to put the "classroom in the hands of the students", giving the students the mobility and portability that they needed.
We strongly believe that learning should not stop after the class bell rings, but it should continue while the student is on the move. We wanted to create a learning community made of students, teachers, parents and administrators, all working together to help and support each of our students, in and outside of the classroom.
How did you find a solution?
Prior to CYPHER Learning® we tried other LMSs without success, but none offered a complete solution or the flexibility that would meet our transformation requirements. We tried eCollege and Fronter by Pearson, Sakai, Dokeos, Moodle, CourseSites by Blackboard, considered Schoology for an adoption, and countless open-source options. We even coded our own version. Again, none of them came close to meeting our list of requirements.
I personally knew about CYPHER when it was still EDU 2.0 while doing my research for a previous eLearning project. Since those days, CYPHER began offering the right tools needed to create the learning environment that we had been wanting to build for the past 20 years. We were able to create a space that allowed us to measure the learning accountability as a result of teachers activity and students proving that they were mastering the concepts taught. We were also able to build a curriculum design around Units, Weeks and Days that complied with the standards.
CYPHER allows our administrators to review teacher performance though the use of analytics and other reports. We have created a learning community involving students, parents, teachers and administrators. Students can connect from anywhere with any device making their learning experience totally portable and mobile.
What results have you noticed since using CYPHER?
One of the features that made a very positive impression on our parents is that students can email them via their mobile devices with any concern and parents can respond immediately, offering a sense of security.
Teachers are adapting to the use of the platform better than expected. We are training our parents on how to use the platform to help their students and so far is going great!
CYPHER offers many possibilities to add other tools to their extensive feature set. While other LMSs would respond to requests very slowly or not at all, CYPHER allows us to make suggestions and recommendations for improvements and adoption. The support staff is very prompt and responsive and helpful to all of our requests.