The Alabama Learning Exchange, ALEX, is the Alabama Department of Education’s interactive Web portal. According to Shannon Parks’ article titled Alabama Learning Exchange: ALEX Web Portal, ALEX receives over 31,000 unique visitors per month. She also states that ALEX won a 2007 “Best of the Web” Award from the Center for Digital Education and Government, hosting, through the Alabama Supercomputer Authority, a rich assortment of interactive and resources linked to the searchable Alabama Courses of Study. Most of these activities are supplied by the Verizon Foundation’s, Thinkfinity.org, with over 2,000 lesson plans supplied by Alabama teachers. The resources are designed to engage students and teachers in 21st century learning, and expand new opportunities. Last year a training program was offered and available in every district to help teachers learn to use ALEX and Thinkfinity.org in their area of expertise. Parents are also able to help their child meet school expectations at home by using ALEX (http://www.21stcenturyskills.org).
If one visits ALEX’s home site, http://alex.state.al.us, he or she will see that it’s full of life and color. It has different tabs on which one can choice that’s best fit for them, such as Courses of Study, Web Links, Lesson Plans, Search, Personal Workplace, Professional Learning, Distance Learning, and Help. In the Courses of Study tab it gives a description of what every grade level would or should be learning under each subject area. Under the Web Links tab there are links for teachers, administrators, and students. In the Lessons Plans tab a teacher can create a lesson plan and a parent can take a look at a teacher’s lesson plan. Under the Workplace tab a teacher may login to enter their workplace, which may contain any and all work such as lesson plans the teacher may have created using ALEX. The Professional Learning tab helps a person keep up with the latest news and find learning tools among other things. In the Distance Learning tab it will provide a person with access to the Alabama Connecting Classroom, Educators, and Students Statewide (ACCESS) program. ACCESS gives students Advance Placement opportunities that they may not usually have. The students attend web-based courses by using two-way video and audio devices. Under the Search tab one may search through the above tabs for assistance and in the Help tab there are frequently asked questions.
ALEX will be a good use to me when I become a teacher because I will not only be able to use it to create lesson plans and such but I will also be able to inform my students and parents about ALEX. Therefore, parents will know exactly what their student(s) is learning and will also be able to assist them with such.