Pearson’s Inquiry-based Program Engages Students with Virtual Learning, Animations, Hands-on Labs and “Write-in-the-Book” Texts
Racine, Wis. – May 4, 2010 — There’s a big change coming for middle school students in Racine, Wisconsin. Come September, science will come to life for the school district’s 4,000 sixth, seventh, and eight graders as teachers introduce the new “Interactive Science” curriculum featuring state-of-the-art virtual labs, animated simulations, and interactive online activities designed to take students on a fascinating journey of science exploration and discovery.
As one of first school districts in the nation to adopt the new research-based program from the education services and technology company Pearson, Racine’s students will delve deeply into the real world of science through a digital educational pathway; a text that can be written in and helps students own the learning process; and inquiry-based hands-on labs, electronic games, and activities. Developed by the nation’s leading science educators to meet today’s generation in their digital world and inspire students through hands-on learning, Interactive Science enables middle school students to read, write, draw, graph and self-assess all in their texts.
The program’s animated, virtual experiments immerse today’s students into a 21st century laboratory environment, making science more accessible than ever before. With Interactive Science’s digital learning applications, students can investigate the relationship between wave length and the color of light by exploring with virtual light filters online.
“Interactive Science’s unique approach to science instruction, including texts our students can write in and keep at the end of the year, the integration of the Understanding by Design instructional model that focuses on the development and deepening of student understanding, and the high-utility technology applications made the program very appealing,” said Ron Viola, Racine Unified’s Secondary Science Coordinator. “We want our students to connect their science skills and knowledge to their daily lives with this program. And, we’re excited to be integrating technology into all aspects of science learning and teaching.”
Aligned to the National Science Teachers Association’s standards, the curriculum aims to ensure students can make meaningful connections between their science learning and the real world, which is critical to developing higher-order skills and improving student performance and understanding. Through the program’s online instructive environment, MyScienceOnline.com, students can engage with “Untamed Science” videos that were created by a team of young adventure scientists named the “ecogeeks” and take students on real-life expeditions infused with a high-energy presentation of core concepts.
Interactive Science’s technology also helps teachers personalize learning for their students. With MyScienceOnline.com, Racine’s teachers can manage their classes, assign homework, track student progress, customize lesson plans, and further individualize learning with tools like MyReadingWeb, which offers standards-based readings match to a student’s reading level — all with the click of a mouse.
“Interactive Science is a cutting-edge program that can help Racine’s students gain a better command of science while ensuring local teachers can provide the best educational experience possible. In choosing this curriculum for their students, Racine’s educators are supporting creativity and intellectual curiosity. The interactivity of virtual learning enables students to observe dynamic processes, manipulate variables in an investigation or system, and explore alternate spatial perspectives,” Pearson’s Wisconsin representative Kevin Kuckkan said.
Of Interactive Science’s innovative approach, Pearson’s Senior Vice President for Science Lynn Cloud said, “President Obama has said ‘the leadership of tomorrow depends on how we educate our students today, especially in those fields that hold the promise of producing future innovations and innovators.’ So as a nation, it’s imperative that we encourage active interest in the science- and math-related career fields to remain competitive with our international peers and produce the next generation of brilliant innovators. That’s why Interactive Science utilizes the best practices in science instruction to personalize learning for all students and support at-risk and English language learners, ensuring each child is achieving at their highest potential.”
Visual cues throughout the text help struggling readers and English language learners to better understand core science concepts, and integrated print and digital formative self-assessments keep students on track throughout the school year. When students need extra support, they can access MyScienceCoach, an online interactive tool that brings students up to speed with additional activities, links to external websites that support key science topics and educational content passages.
Interactive Science enhances student interest and engagement; improves reading, writing, problem-solving and reasoning skills; and encourages a greater sense of student ownership and pride in their learning, according to a recent independent study of the program conducted by PRES Associates. And because the program enables students to write in their texts, Racine middle schoolers will get to keep their textbooks at the end of the school year and new books will be provided at the beginning of each year.
To view the Interactive Science digital path in action, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHfvzvrvXWI. For more information about the program, see www.InteractiveScience.com or http://interactivescience.com/videos.html.
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education, teacher training, education technology and school solutions, provides innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry.
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