PLATO Learning Inc.’s two new science curriculum products, PLATO Physical Science and PLATO Multimedia Science Simulations, might give educators a leg up in addressing new federal science testing requirements that will take effect beginning in 2007.

PLATO Physical Science uses sophisticated computer animation and multimedia instruction to address standards-based scientific concepts at the middle-school level. It was developed for use as a self-study tool in classroom or credit recovery programs, in teacher presentations to introduce concepts, for test review, as a supplement to GED instruction, or to complement textbook lessons. Each lesson is aligned with state standards and the guidelines set by the National Science Foundation and other organizations. The curriculum also features a sophisticated test-item bank linking exam questions to specific, standards-based objectives for pre-testing and mastery assessments. Subscriptions to PLATO Physical Science range from $100 to $300 a year.

PLATO Multimedia Science Simulations, with levels for both intermediate and advanced instruction, were originally developed by New Media, a United Kingdom company acquired by PLATO Learning in December 2003. The interactive, multimedia simulations bring invisible and hard-to-understand concepts to life, ensuring a positive teaching and learning experience. The product also provides an alternative to in-class lab experiments that can be costly, unpredictable, and often time-consuming. PLATO Intermediate Multimedia Science Simulations, targeted to students in grades 6-9, costs $4,400 for a building license. PLATO Advanced Multimedia Science Simulations, for students in grades 10-12, costs $2,00 for a building license.

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