Archive for the 'one-on-one instruction' Category

Carnegie Corp. Issues “Compelling” Call to Arms to Promote Math & Science Education

Need For Understanding Role of  Differentiated Learning

The call to arms is compelling, concise – and urgent.

“The United States must mobilize for excellence in mathematics and science education … so that all students … achieve much higher levels of math and science learning,” says the opening lines of a new report from the Carnegie Corporation’s Advanced Study Commission on Mathematics and Science Education.

We couldn’t agree more.

The report, titled “The Opportunity Equation: Transforming Mathematics and Science Education for Citizenship and the Global Economy,” details a list of specific actions steps  to make fluency in math and science common among students at all levels of their academic careers.  (Read the full report here:

The Carnegie Corporation’s to-do list is deep and broad.  The report calls for a national mobilization – bringing together government at all levels, educators, administrators, unions, businesses and others – to create momentum. And the individual action steps range from how school systems are structured to teacher preparation and the need to adopt common (and higher) standards.

At stake is not just where we rank competitively in terms of academic performance against China, India and other emerging economic powers, but just what kind of society we want to be in the very near future. We all know that high-value, stable jobs — the underpinning of our economy and prosperity – are increasingly dependent on workers with skills and talents that, alas, are just not being learned by too many students.

We like to think that we’re already making a contribution to the very real need to put math and science education front and center.

Indeed, one of the Carnegie study’s detailed prescriptions calls for steps to engage teachers in data analysis and identification of students’ differentiated learning needs.

Differentiated learning is at the core of what we offer through our online, on-one-one tutoring services. We work with classroom teachers in the schools we serve to develop individualized leaning pathways, and then give each student the tools and support they need to make progress at his or her own speed. And we provide detailed reporting back to teachers and their schools so each student’s progress can be tracked closely.

We know from standardized test scores and, equally important, anecdotal evidence from tens of thousands of administrators, teachers and students that the approach works.

We are changing lives and helping young people be better prepared for the lives that await them – one student at a time.

What do you think about the Carnegie Corporation’s call to arms? We’d like to hear from you.

Hurry: “Teacher Innovator of the Year” Deadline is This Week

Attention teachers: Do you have a story to share with other teachers around the country about how you’re incorporating our online supplemental learning program into your classroom?

We’ve been on the prowl to find the “Apangea Learning Teacher Innovator of the Year” and right now we’re busy reviewing submissions from your peers in school districts nationwide. They’re telling us all the imaginative ways they’re putting our online supplemental learning program to work in their classrooms and how they’re getting their students pumped to work hard.

Got a story to tell? We want to hear it. But you’ll have to hurry – the deadline is Saturday, May 9th.  Please submit ideas to

We’ll be issuing a news release after we’ve picked the winner and runner-ups.

Stay tuned … big news ahead.

Vista Del Lago High School Students Win ALapalooza ALthusiasm Award

Congratulations to the students at Vista Del Lago High School (Moreno Valley, CA) who won the ALapalooza ALthusiasm award, a national math contest sponsored by Apangea Learning. A special event will recognize these students for their accomplishments at Vista Del Lago High School on Thursday, August 28 beginning at 1 p.m. PST. 


Vista Del Lago High School competed with other summer school programs nationwide in Apangea Learning’s ALapalooza: Summer of Math Tour contest.  Vista Del Lago’s summer school students beat out more than 100 schools across the nation to win the ALapalooza ALthusiasm award, a prize given based on the number of after-school hours spent learning math — hours worked during their personal time that went above and beyond what was required for their summer school requirements!


“Our goal at Apangea Learning is to motivate students to want to learn math.  The students at Vista Del Lago showed amazing determination to succeed academically by working on Apangea Learning Math during their own time – even on nights and weekends.  It’s great when educators can get students fired up about learning!” said Apangea Learning CEO, Louis Piconi.

New Version of Apangea Learning’s Online Math Tutoring Solution Launched and Now Available to Parents for First Time

Today, we release a new version of our flagship math solution (formerly known as SmartHelp). Rebranded as Apangea Learning Math, a number of enhancements have been made to the product. Additionally, this new version is now also available for direct purchase by parents for use at home.  Previously, Apangea Learning Math was sold exclusively to schools/school districts.


Apangea Learning Math provides each student one-student-to-one-teacher differentiated math instruction through a unique integration of “intelligent” computer-animated learning coaches and live, certified teachers who instruct students online. A student’s learning pathway can be individually customized based on state standards, the student’s grade level and his/her proficiency level. New enhancements found in Apangea Learning Math include:


·         The Practice Zone – After completing all of the core problems in a module, students will complete a series of problems in the Practice Zone. This facilitates the transfer of skills learned in Apangea Learning Math to not only classroom exams, but also to high stakes assessment exams. Students can also select the design of their own Practice Zone page (customized skin) further personalizing their learning experience.

·         Altruistic Motivation – In addition to earning gift cards to their favorite retailers, Apangea Learning Math’s motivation system now allows students to donate the monetary value of their earned “ApangeaPoints” to a charitable cause of their choice.

·         Enhanced Page Design – The teacher and student homepages have been redesigned to a three column format to provide easier navigation and access to critical information.


“Launching Apangea Learning Math into both the retail and B2B platforms marks a very important milestone for the company,” explained Apangea Learning CEO, Louis Piconi. “Additionally, the Practice Zone will significantly help students improve their test scores. Many students feel a great deal of anxiety around test taking. To help alleviate this and build academic confidence, Apangea Learning Math’s Practice Zone is designed to teach students how to transfer the skills learned online to their written exams.”

Live from the NECC Tradeshow Floor

Greetings from the National Education Computing Conference (NECC) tradeshow floor!  NECC is the world’s largest technology education tradeshow and conference in the world and Apangea Learning is in the thick of things!  


I thought I would take some time this week to bring the show to life for everyone, not just for the handful of us here in San Antonio.  As with most of the large education conferences, Sunday is not a day of rest.  Rather, it is a day of building the booth.  What starts as a huge, messy convention center ends up as a glamorous exhibit hall after a long day and night.  It is absolute chaos:


And in the middle of this mess is the 10’ x 20’ space that we will call home for the next three days. 


After many hours, the booth is almost ready to go…just a few last preparations in the morning…and a team meeting…and then 12,000 plus people will descend onto the tradeshow floor.


Watch your for the next installment of “Live from the Tradeshow Floor”.


Best regards,


Texas PTA Combats Summer Learning Loss While Raising Funds

According to John Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning, students lose (on average) approximately 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Making matters worse, teachers spend four to six weeks reviewing what was learned in previous years once students return. To combat this summer learning loss, the Texas Parent and Teacher Association (PTA) has joined forces with Apangea Learning to provide students unlimited math tutoring over the summer months.


Apangea Learning provides students personalized, one-on-one math tutoring through its unique combination of Web-based instruction and live, online teachers. Students tutored by Apangea Learning are automatically enrolled in the company’s motivation program, which includes a rewards system for work completed, contests and random opportunities to win meaningful prizes (iPods, Nintendo DL Lites, gift cards, etc.).


Utilized by school districts throughout Texas (and the United States), Apangea Learning’s proven approach to math tutoring has helped thousands of Texan students achieve significant academic success within the classroom. 


According to Mayen Nelson of the Houston Independent School District, 21 of her 26 eighth graders passed the TAKS exam because of the Apangea Learning program.


“I passed my TAKS exam. I’m going to high school!” Powerful words that Frida, a student at Grand Prairie Independent School District, thought she would never be able to say.


Through this partnership with the Texas PTA, parents can now purchase a full summer of individualized math tutoring for $100, of which $20 will be donated back to the parents’ local PTA. Parents can enroll their children at


“The Texas PTA is very excited about our partnership with Apangea Learning. Not only are we helping to overcome summer learning loss, but also providing our members a great and easy way to raise funds this summer,” stated Isaac Simon, Texas PTA’s Director of Marketing and Fund Development.

Altruism: a true motivator

al·tru·ism   [al-troo-iz-uh m] –noun


1. The principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others


It is relatively easy to motivate someone with a dangling carrot if that carrot directly benefits them. However, would that same person be as motivated if that carrot only benefited another? In the end, the answer comes down to the individual. But, we were happy to discover that as a whole, today’s students (tomorrow’s leaders) truly have an altruistic spirit about them.


During the winter holiday, Apangea Learning held a national contest to encourage students to use SmartHelp over the winter break. Unlike previous contests, this contest did not have students competing one-on-one for prizes such as iPods and Nintendo DS Lite. Instead, it had a new twist: altruism.


During this season of traditional goodwill and giving, students would now work together as a class to compete against other classes not for gadgets or pizza parties, but for the opportunity to help complete strangers. Apangea Learning would donate $1,000 to the charity of the winning class’ choice.


The participation in this contest was phenomenal.


Since that contest, Apangea Learning has held additional altruism contests that yielded equally impressive student participation.  Winners of these contests (and the charities they chose) include:


  • Bill Arnold Middle School (TX): Leukemia and Lymphoma Society North Dallas Chapter
  • North Kenwood/Oakland Middle Campus of the University of Chicago Charter School (IL): Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
  • Southeast Local Middle School (OH): Akron Children’s Hospital 

The students altruistic spirit did not go unnoticed. Click the following links to view a few of the stories that ran as a result of the students’ efforts: 

Let the Teachers Teach

Lately, we have been considering the following question:  what does Apangea Learning SmartHelp really do in the classroom?  And, I don’t mean this in a tactical sense, but in more of a philosophical sense.  As is so often the case, the answer came from one of our customers, Barbara Shoap, a teacher at George Washington High School in Philadelphia. 

“Some of us remain committed to give disadvantaged students some much-needed skills and some direction. It’s an uphill battle and it’s burn-out. There are always some kids who resist change or refuse help. But Apangea Learning PLUS my support kept them attending, engaged, and progressing, commensurate with the effort that they made to apply themselves within the program. I think that is a realistic definition of success. I was able to be more available to their individual needs, and my relationship to them was both teacher and facilitator.  Apangea Learning made my day better every day. 

That simple, yet powerful paragraph provided us with the answer we were looking for:  Apangea Learning lets the teachers teach.  And, the more we thought about it, the more we realized that the reasons that people become teachers is for those special moments when they are able to interact with a student and help that child learn.  But, in these days of crowded classrooms, diverse student populations, and high stakes exams, we ask our teachers to do more and more with less and less.  Our job as businesspeople, as parents, as citizens of society as a whole is to help the teachers do what we want them to do and what they want to do:  teach.  And, that’s why we say: LET THE TEACHERS TEACH!

Pittsburgh Innovates

As featured in the September 19, 2007 edition of Pop City. 

Apangea Learning will launch new writing product; hires 10

Apangea Learning, the Pittsburgh company offering online differentiated math tutoring for students, will launch an innovative new writing product next January and has announced the hiring of 10 additional employees this year. The writing software, still in the development stage,  will operate similarly to Apangea’s flagship math product, SmartHelp, helping students to develop writing and literacy skills through software and on-demand teachers, says CEO Louis Piconi.

Since March Apangea has added staff in the areas of sales, service, account management, and service teams that work with the schools, increasing its size by 25 percent and bringing the total number of employees in its downtown office to 28 full-time and 5 part-time, Piconi says. Apangea, with revenues of $1.4 million this year, tutors 50,000 students in math in 18 states.

Apangea also has established a school district partnership program that offers unlimited tutoring to parents for $100 a year while giving districts $25 back for each student. This is a substantial savings to parents who often pay upward of $40 an hour for a math tutor, Piconi says. “It’s our mission at Apangea to find a way to make tutoring available to everyone who needs it,” says Piconi. “Parents who hire tutors are paying a really big bill. We want to give them the option to purchase high quality tutoring at an affordable price.”

To view Pop City’s story on Pittsburgh’s successful software tutoring companies, click here.

Writer: Deb Smit

Source: Louis Piconi, Brian Wallace, Apangea Learning

California students now have access to low cost one on one tutoring

Apangea Learning is pleased to inform everyone in the blogosphere that our flagship product, SmartHelp, meets the California Learning Resource Network (CLRN) Supplemental Electronic Learning Resources Review Criteria and Process. SmartHelp is now included on the CLRN database and Web site, which can be found at


Approved by the California State Board of Education, the CLRN Supplemental Electronic Learning Resources Review Criteria and Process provides California educators with a “one-stop” resource for critical information needed for the selection of supplemental electronic learning resources aligned to the State Board of Education academic content standards.


“SmartHelp is a valuable supplemental mathematics resource to improve achievement for the students of California,” stated Kelley Day, publisher liaison for CLRN. “The California Learning Resource Network is pleased to add SmartHelp to the CLRN database.”

 The CLRN review process for supplemental electronic learning resources utilizes the State Board of Education approved review criteria which covers three major components: legal compliance review, California Content Standards Alignment verification and CLRN minimum requirements review. 

“CLRN’s review criteria and process is extremely thorough and as a result, California educators have come to rely on its guidance, insight and expertise when choosing the best supplemental electronic learning resource for their classroom,” said Apangea Learning CEO Louis Piconi. “We are excited to bring cost-effective supplemental math instruction to a vast number of California students, including ELL and those struggling with language comprehension in mathematics.”

 ~ Matthew Hausmann, Vice President ~



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