Pearson's "Myworld Geography" curriculum offers virtual passports to connect middle school students around the world

Innovative program rinforces concepts through interactive learning and sharing real-life stories with teens across the globe

Boston (PRWEB) November 16, 2009 -- Xiao lives with his father, mother, grandmother, and older brother in a tiny village near Wuxi (woo shee), an ancient city in the east of China. After learning of his father's diabetes diagnosis, the 17-year-old Xiao found a full-time job to help support his family.

Xiao's story is one of 22 real-life personal stories that are part of the revolutionary new middle grades curriculum program, myWorld Geography, launched today from the education, services, and technology company Pearson. Pearson's social studies authors along with journalists from the Financial Times newspaper scoured the globe to find real teenagers to serve as ambassadors for each region represented in the digital and print chapters of the standards-based geography program. These "myStory" features include illustrated stories and videos to provide American students with the opportunity to make real-life and enduring connections to all aspects of the curriculum.

myWorld Geography helps today's adolescents learn by "doing" and stay motivated to learn through interactive, digital communications. The program enables students and teachers to explore the world's geography and history through the myStory ambassadors, a virtual travel digital game, a student journal, and hands-on activities. myWorld Geography also expands students' social studies skills beyond mapping and graphing by integrating 21st century learning, like innovation, collaboration, information, and media and technology skills, into the print and digital components.

To simplify global statistics, which teachers report can be abstract and difficult to understand for some students, the myWorld authorship team incorporated a "myWorld in Numbers" element into every chapter, helping middle graders make connections to data and develop the skills associated with using data to make decisions.

"Critical for today's digital natives are communication, civic literacy, and critical thinking skills that will be essential for tomorrow's workplace. myWorld Geography supports the reinforcement of these skills while conveying the core concepts of social studies by helping students connect, experience, and understand the content," said Michael Gee, Pearson Vice President for Social Studies.

With myWorld Geography's Online Travel Assignment, for example, students travel through regions or time periods and complete a game-like assignment based on an "essential question." Students gather information to complete the assignment by watching video interviews and stories, working through simulations, completing animated activities, and analyzing and examining maps, data, artifacts, and primary sources. They capture their thoughts and record their observations in a PDA "tracker" and send their "assignment" directly to their teachers.

"In some cases, we're seeing a reduction in social studies instructional time at the elementary level, which can result in middle grade students needing personalized, engaging materials that match their state standards. myWorld's extensive content base and integrated digital assets match curriculum needs nationwide, assisting students on their path to academic success," said Gee.

Available for purchase in January 2010, myWorld Geography instruction aligns to Dr. Grant Wiggins' Understanding by Design model and personalizes learning by integrating online assessment, reinforcing concepts in a student journal, and offering online assignments and presentations to ensure students understand the content as they move through the curriculum. In addition to Wiggins, the myWorld Geography's authorship team includes renowned experts in geography, history, and social studies education: Dr. Gregory H. Chu of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Susan Hardwick of the University of Oregon, and Dr. Don Holtgrieve of the University of Oregon.

Pearson has committed to donate a portion of the sale proceeds of the myWorld program to organizations that help people who live and work in regions of the myWorld ambassadors. Through the myWorld Gives Back program, Pearson also will sponsor myWorld 5K run/walks at conferences throughout the United States; funds collected from these events will be donated to local and international charitable organizations.

Gee said, "Pearson's myWorld Geography is taking learning one step further by giving back to the global community and setting an example for students about being responsible global citizens."

For more information about the myWorld curriculum, visit myWorld Geography Facebook page to see still images of the regions, cultures and people showcased in the curriculum. Video clips from the myStory features can be seen at this link,

About Pearson

Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today's digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company's investment in 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. The company's respected brands include Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, PEMSolutions, Stanford 10, SuccessNet, MyLabs, PowerSchool, SuccessMaker and many others. Pearson's comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction and intervention so that success is within reach of every student at every level of education. Pearson's commitment to education for all is supported by the global philanthropic initiatives of the Pearson Foundation. Pearson's other primary businesses include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.