ACATestPrep Quick Start Guide

Tips on how to use video-based curriculum in your classes

One of the things we’re most proud of here is that our system integrates into existing curriculum easier than any other. There’s very little overhead and management with our system- it’s more like having an on-demand industry professional come in and lecture whenever you want! Here are some of our fave tips and tricks for the most effective and seamless integration into your classroom.

1. Professional Guest Speakers… EVERY. DAY.

ACATestPrep is modeled after the types of resources you’d use in the real world. Real-world, on-the-job learning or staff development in a workplace isn’t done with lessons, worksheets, and lesson plans. The real workplace is much more free-form and the burden is on the learner. We’re adding more “classroom friendly” tools like lesson plans and worksheets in the Teacher’s Lounge, but the actual curriculum is straight video learning. We do this on purpose to make out training just like professional learning platforms like Lynda.com, Udemy, etc.. or like many students AND professionals I know- YouTube!

2. Guide on the side like a real-world manager would.

This style of learning- sort of a flipped/self-paced hybrid- allows students to work at their own pace and take ownership of their learning. This way, teachers can focus on individual student needs since the majority of students will be able to just move forward at their own pace. I’ve been using this style of teaching personally for about 15 years now, after stealing the idea from one of the most amazing teachers I’ve ever met, Mike Skocko of the MacLab. What really sold me was that if students miss a class, were absent (physically or mentally), transfer in late, etc… they don’t miss a thing! Every minute of instruction is recorded; the instructors (the videos) have infinite patience to repeat themselves, review, or deliver the entire lesson again; and students proceed at their own pace. This approach lets the kids go at their own pace so no student feels rushed, and no student feels bored. 

3. Assess like real-world bosses/clients.

I’m a firm believer that practice alone does not make perfect. PERFECT practice makes perfect! Additionally, learning is not practice- it’s more akin to watching a documentary. If students aren’t following along- IN THE SOFTWARE– they’re not learning what they need to in order to be successful in industry and on the exams. They MUST complete projects in the software. Personally, that’s all I grade. Quizzes, worksheets, etc. can be extra credit… but the only thing an employer (or client) will “grade” is a successful project- so that’s all I grade as well! Fun ways to grade this work in the software can be Student Portfolios or Multimedia presentations that have students document their work. Otherwise, you can do weekly “job reviews” to discuss their progress, defend their work, and be a mentor to them on how to perform well in an annual review for a real job. Clients/bosses often compare your work to other professional examples… you can do the same with student work! 

Remember: The goal is not completing projects. The goal is passing the ACA exam. Try to do as much in class as possible to facilitate individualized learning so that the greatest number of your students are successful on the exams.

Everyone’s teaching style is different… but this is what we offer here at ACATestPrep and we don’t intend to be more like the competitive products (which are all very similar). We’re intentionally creating a new and different kind of curriculum to prepare students for the real world of design. It’s proven itself successful in classrooms and districts with the highest certification rates in the world, so we’re confident and we’re not going to change our form much! (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!)

We realize this style is not for everyone. If you prefer a more traditional set of instruction and learning materials- we have partnered with Adobe Press on a series of books directly targeting the ACA. It’s the only series from Adobe Press directly mapped to the ACA Objectives. You can check them out on Amazon or Adobe Press.

Have more tips, tricks, or feedback? Leave a comment below to help other teachers in the same situation learn from your experience!

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