updated 10:20 pm EDT, Wed September 29, 2010
Could this be the future of textbooks?
Educational publisher Pearson and the Commonwealth of Virgina have launched a first-of-its-kind full social studies curriculum for K-12 students in a 12-week pilot program that runs entirely on iPads as part of the state's "Beyond Textbooks" initiative. Beginning November 1st, seventh- and ninth-grade students at select schools in Arlington and Pulaski counties as well as the city of Newport News will use iPads to interact with four specially-designed apps tailored to the Virginia educational system's US and world history programs.
The program is aimed at better engaging students who have lived in the "digital world" their entire lives, and results of the pilot program may shape practices at schools throughout the state and beyond. A total of 260 students will take part, and $120,000 has been allocated for the purchase of iPads for the study.
Pearson has developed apps to cover the three components to be studied: interactive learning games that introduce concepts to students through puzzles and challenges; eText applications where students build their own custom texts from the selections of the curriculum; and an assessment and remediation app for review and self-testing.
The Virginia Department of Education will be collaborating with Radford University to analyze and report the results of the pilot program. Their findings will be published sometime in 2011. A video offering a sneak peek at the interactive learning games and the assessment app is available from the pilot program's web page.