Teach With INFOhio

Quality Instructional Materials from INFOhio: Transparent Language Online

Author // Mary Rowland Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Quality Instructional Materials from INFOhio

Getting your district or school ready for the 2021-2022 school year begins by looking closely at the materials you use in your classrooms. Every Ohio student deserves the opportunity to learn from high-quality, standards-aligned instructional materials to become a resilient, lifelong learner who contributes to society (Each Child, Our Future).

Studies have shown that using high-quality, coherent curriculums and instructional materials lead to student growth in learning and achievement. We also know that students gain months of learning when teachers use high-quality instructional materials.  

While securing coherent curriculum and professional development for teachers is the first step in ensuring equity in Ohio’s classrooms, identifying high-quality supplemental materials at grade-level for all learners can be helpful in increasing student engagement, meeting diverse needs, and filling instructional gaps.

For over 20 years, INFOhio has been providing Ohio schools and districts with quality supplemental resources available at no cost. INFOhio’s resources provide educators and students with premium, vetted content such as eBooks, videos, lesson plans, instructional web tools, and training and support materials which can be used for teaching and learning. When paired with a high-quality curriculum, these resources can provide additional engaging and innovative materials for student growth and achievement and can scaffold student learning if there are gaps.

While the criteria for high-quality instructional materials is broad, key indicators can be applied to materials to determine their effectiveness for student learning. For this Teach With INFOhio blog series, the premium content provided by INFOhio will be shared, highlighted by its

  • Standards alignment/Research-based strategies
  • Inclusive teaching
  • Usability
  • Flexibility and Adaptability

These are the categories of criteria for the RemotEDx Instructional Materials Rubric, developed by INFOhio's Instructional Team in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Education. EdReports' and Achieve's EQuIP rubrics were models for this tool. You can feel secure knowing that using the instructional materials from INFOhio will provide students with the quality materials they need to be successful and grow as learners.

Transparent Language Online

Transparent Language Online is a web-based learning platform with over 100 languages, including English. Listening, reading, speaking, and writing activities support students to develop language skills while exploring the culture and history of the target language. Interactive lessons and activities keep students of all ages engaged as they study colors, letters, and basic vocabulary.

With a mobile app version of Transparent Language Online, students can pick up at home where they left off in class, allowing students to learn anytime, anywhere. Transparent Language Online is suitable for students in grades 4–12 and is available at no-cost to Ohio's students and teachers through INFOhio. For your privacy, INFOhio strongly encourages not using any personally identifiable information when creating an account for students. To learn more about creating student accounts, please visit the Transparent Language Online information page


Educators can feel secure in using Transparent Language Online's quality content to supplement the existing curriculum and scaffold learning. The learning activities and videos meet the criteria set by the RemotEDx Instructional Materials Rubric and support rigor and acceleration in classrooms.

Using the rubric's criterion and applying its indicators to instructional materials can help you decide what will be the best content to use with your students. Below are some of the criteria and how Transparent Language Online aligns with the indicators.

Transparent Language Online is funded in part by a federal IMLS Library Services and Technology Grant (LSTA) through the State Library of Ohio with additional funding through Libraries Connect Ohio partners INFOhio, OhioLINK, and OPLIN.

Thanks to funding from RemotEDx, INFOhio offers teacher licenses for Ohio's teachers. Individual teacher licenses allow teachers to assign lessons, run reports, and track student progress. For more information about teacher licenses in the Transparent Language Instructor Portal, INFOhio and Transparent Language Online recorded two webinars. Follow the links below to watch the recorded webinars. 

Standards Alignment/Research-based Strategies

These criteria and indicators help educators identify instructional materials that are aligned with the rigor of the Ohio Learning Standards and rely on research and scientific thinking for best results in the classroom.

Instructional Approaches Used are Reflective of Best Practices and Research on What Works in Education 

Ohio teachers can use Transparent Language Online with a teacher license at no cost to Ohio's school districts through INFOhio. Transparent Language Online for Education is based on the concept of Declaratively Accelerated Blended Learning (DABL). This research-based approach is best used to support flipped learning. Students learn a large numbers of words, numbers, phrases, and other chunks of language to their declarative memory prior to class. This frees up class time for communicative and task-based strategies. The result is a more engaging classroom for the students and the teacher. 

Content Provides for Authentic Learning, Application of Literacy Skills, Student-directed Inquiry, Analysis, Evaluation and/or Reflection

Teachers can use Transparent Language Online without a teacher license as a supplement to the existing language learning curriculum. The Practice panel provides users with interactive listening, reading, speaking, and writing activities where students apply what they learned in the classroom. Listening activities allow students to listen to a native speaker pronounce the word or phrase and record their own pronunciation. The platform provides the student with instant feedback as to the accuracy of their pronunciation. Students can also listen to their recorded pronunciation, compare it with the native speaker, and rerecord the pronunciation to increase accuracy. At the completion of the activity, students can review the 10 vocabulary words they practiced. 


To engage students, Transparent Language Online offers a set of lessons with interactive learning activities sequenced in units called Teen Voices. These instructional units can be used for instruction or reinforcement of vocabulary and grammar. Activities within each lesson ask students to engage in scripted conversations with recorded native speakers on the platform. These scripted conversations are designed to replicate everyday conversations. Teen Voices is created for middle school and high school students and the three-level course contains content on the everyday lives of teens within the country of the target language. Teen Voices is not available for all languages. 


Inclusive Teaching

Inclusive teaching emphasizes the strategies and practices educators can use in the classroom to leverage the strengths and tools students of color bring for learning. The criteria and indicators for this category focus on how instructional materials recognize, define, and contribute to the growth and understanding of these strengths. 

Promotes Cultural Awareness, Cultural Knowledge, and Cultural Skill Development

To share with students cultural celebrations, traditions, norms, and current events Transparent Language Online offers a series of language learning blogs. The blogs are designed by native speakers and other language learners to immerse readers in real-world language, colloquialisms, and culture. Language learning blogs include words and phrases from the target language integrated with English. The blogs are freely accessible on the Transparent Language Online website and can be a great resource for supplemental classroom material.

For younger learners, Transparent Language Online offers Kidspeak an interactive learning environment with access to over 40 activities, puzzles, and songs. This language immersion environment supports the instruction of colors, numbers, and foods without the aid of the user's native language. Activities include age-appropriate language and content of interest to learners ages 6 and up. Kidspeak is available for many of the languages in Transparent Language Online. 



Flexibility and Adaptability 

The criteria and indicators for this category ensure that instructional materials provide students and educators with what they need for learning in any form—in person, hybrid, blended, or remote. 

Teacher Supports, Documentation, and/or Guides for Effective Use are Present

Whether users select the teacher license to take full advantage of the learning platform, or supplement an existing language learning curriculum, Transparent Language Online offers a collection of teacher supports. Begin on the Transparent Language Online information page on the INFOhio website and scroll down to Training and Support.

Materials Can Support and/or Facilitate Learning in Hybrid and/or Online Delivery Methods.

Students can learn on the go with the Transparent Language Online mobile app, available for Apple and Android. User accounts sync to the mobile app, so students can pick up where they left off in the classroom on their phone and learn wherever, whenever. Students can learn offline with printable student workbooks available for Teen Voices and Kidspeak. Additional workbooks, readers, and guides are also available for select languages from the Resources section. 


With a teacher license, instructors can author lessons within Transparent Language Online to personalize learning for their students in any learning environment. Lessons authored in the platform can be delivered via the platform to support blended and flipped learning, or downloaded to a PDF to support face-to-face learning.


High-quality instructional materials value accessibility. These criteria and indicators will help determine how well materials meet the needs of all learners.

Materials follow Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

To support accessibility, the user can adjust the font size on interactive learning activities within Transparent Language Online. 


In addition, the videos used within Transparent Language Online interactive lessons, activities, and resources offer closed captioning.  


Additional accessibility features for vision and hearing can be toggled on or off.


Try It out in Your Classroom!

Transparent Language Online is a language learning platform to supplement any existing language learning curriculum. With a teacher license, educators can build lessons and engage students in language learning using Transparent Language Online's robust student and teacher tools and resources. Try the quality instructional materials available at no cost in your classroom. Be sure to share how #INFOhioWorks for you on social media.


Quality Instructional Materials from INFOhio: Transparent Language Online

About the Author

Posted by: Mary Rowland

Mary Rowland is a Professional Instructional Specialist with INFOhio. A former high school English teacher with 14 years of teaching experience, Mary is an accomplished leader who facilitated professional development in her previous district on integrating web-based tools into the classroom, Google Apps for Education, and writing across the curriculum. During her career, Mary mentored student teachers and served on both the district and building leadership committees. She has earned a BA in English, an MS in Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, and is a Google Certified Educator Level 2. Mary is passionate about supporting INFOhio’s mission to help Ohio’s educators integrate the tools and resources to strengthen education for Ohio’s students.

Mary Rowland
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