Students dig deep into science with virtual learning, personalized "Write-in" texts, hands-on labs, and blogging
Boston (PRWEB) November 6, 2009 -- Developed by leading science educators to meet today's generation in their digital world and inspire students through hands-on, inquiry-based learning, the education, services, and technology company Pearson today announced its groundbreaking Interactive Science middle school program. Showcased for the first time at the Midwest National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) regional conference last week in Minneapolis, this research-based, innovative approach brings science to life for students and offers teachers the option of a unique single digital pathway, a "write-in-the-book" print version, or a blended online and print combination.
"Fifteen of the 20 fastest-growing occupations projected for 2014 will require significant mathematics or science preparation to successfully compete for a job in those sectors, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Yet, America's students have been falling behind their international peers in science and math achievement. With our new 'Interactive Science' program we are changing the way we teach science in America," said Lynda Cloud, Pearson's Senior Vice President for Science. Cloud added, "With less than 10 percent of all bachelor and graduate degrees at U.S. higher education institutions being awarded in the areas of engineering, mathematics or physical sciences, it's imperative that we do a better job of developing students' love of science and that we be creative about how we make science more applicable to students' lives."
Available for purchase in January 2010, Interactive Science enables middle school students to read, write, draw, graph and self-assess all in one place, actively engaging students with real-world content. Cloud said that with Pearson's Interactive Science, today's middle school students can foster a sense of ownership in their science learning and connect concepts to their daily lives.
Taking full advantage of technology to personalize learning, Interactive Science's robust online learning environment, MyScienceOnline.com, engages students with videos, state-of-the-art virtual labs, interactive activities, vocabulary games, research opportunities, content-related math problems, and self-assessments. Each lesson opens with a Planet Diary feature where students read about a specific problem, issue, factoid, real-life event, or misconception and then blog about their reactions to one or two open-ended questions about the example.
"The digital assets within this program represent the most robust technologically relevant and fully synchronized science curriculum available today for the middle grades. And, Interactive Science provides engaging learning opportunities for on level and advanced learners, students with diverse needs, English Learners, and struggling learners. By making the content relevant, Interactive Science spurs interest in the sciences - a critical mission in keeping America's innovative and inventive spirit strong," said Cloud.
"Integrating technology fully into the classroom experience brings the textbook to life in a whole new way. By practicing with stunningly realistic virtual labs along with their hands-on, in-classroom activities, students can see and feel the science in action, helping each learner to reach their highest potential," said Don Buckley, Interactive Science author and Director of Technology at The School at Columbia University.
Featuring best practices in science instruction and aligned to NSTA standards, Interactive Science utilizes Dr. Grant Wiggins' Understanding by Design model and focuses on interactive, visual, and differentiated learning strategies to help teachers provide personalized learning for all students.
"By focusing on the Understanding by Design instructional model, we can help students uncover and apply the 'Big Ideas' of science to prepare them for the highly skilled scientific jobs of the future. Interactive Science ensures students will better understand and apply their skills to new situations, thus making it more likely that they succeed in college and beyond," said Dr. Wiggins.
Visual cues throughout the text help struggling readers and English 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 help, 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, which cover chapter topics and can be set to their individual Lexile reading levels.
In line with Pearson's standing commitment to research-based programs, Interactive Science's authorship team includes renowned authorities in science education and curriculum:
- Don Buckley, Information and Communications Technology Director at Columbia University,
- Zipporah Miller, Associate Executive Director for Professional Programs and Conferences at the National Science Teachers Association,
- Dr. Mike Padilla, Professor of Science Education at the University of Georgia,
- Dr. Kathryn Thornton, Professor at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Virginia,
- Dr. Grant Wiggins, President of Authentic Education, and
- Dr. Michael Wysession, Associate Professor in Earth and Planetary Science at Washington University in St. Louis.
Interactive Science Enhances Student Engagement and Ownership of Learning
Recent classroom pilot study results of Interactive Science from independent research firm PRES Associates point to enhanced student interest and engagement; improved reading, writing, problem-solving and reasoning skills; and a greater sense of student ownership and pride in their learning.
Illinois teacher Anne Rice, who piloted Interactive Science with her eighth-grade science students, believes that the program's "write-in-the-book" print versions helped foster her students' engagement and ownership in learning. When Rice showed her students the write-in texts for the first time, she said, "I haven't had an exciting moment in teaching like that in a long time. My kids were actually excited about a textbook."
Of the next-generation write-in student editions, Interactive Science author and earth science expert Michael Wysession said, "Textbooks in the old days used to be simply bodies of information. Today, we need textbooks to inspire children, giving them a sense of the importance of the subject matter and helping them understand the big picture understanding of how things fit together."
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 education, services, and technology company, 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.