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Interactive Middle School Math Program Creates Increased Instruction Time for Teachers, Personalized Coursework for Students, and Realizes the Potential of Interactive Whiteboard Technology
digits Offers Technological Innovation and Intuitive Design Mapped to Common Core State Standards
December 6, 2010 – Pearson, the world’s leading education technology company, announces digits, the first middle school mathematics core curriculum that leverages technology to personalize student learning and optimize class instructional time. Written entirely to the Common Core State Standards, digits integrates lesson planning, homework management, intervention, and assessment, all within a user-friendly design that encourages class collaboration via interactive whiteboards. In addition to providing a customized learning path for each student, these efficiencies result in twice as much instructional time for teachers when compared to traditional middle school math courses.
“We believe that digits represents a milestone in the effort to develop mathematical proficiency in each and every student - and encompasses the future of learning,” said Mike Evans, Pearson’s Senior Vice President of Mathematics. “Just as evolving technology fundamentally improved how we manage our finances and communicate with friends and family, digits makes full use of the efficiencies and connectivity that technology can provide.”
digits allows middle-grades math teachers to execute best practices around lesson planning, managing homework, assessment, personalized instruction, and intervention. Using an instructional architecture called the interACTIVE learning cycle™, students at varying proficiency levels are given differentiated lessons, homework, and study plans. Lower-level students are supported with targeted intervention and higher-level students are challenged with enrichment and extensions. Subsequent assessments gauge student success in responding to intervention and instruction, which leads to continuing student engagement at their points of need.
Pearson developed digits in coordination with the release of the Common Core State Standards. Several digits authors and advisors including Francis (Skip) Fennell, Eric Milou, and Janie Schielack were involved in the review of the Common Core Standards and provided pivotal input to ensure digits’ alignment. The design of digits’ digital infrastructure allows teachers and districts to adapt to revisions of the Common Core Standards as they move towards implementation; unlike print-based programs, digits will be able to constantly roll out content updates. Moreover, digits will offer standardized test practice appropriate to each state’s assessment system and is capable of re-aligning to changes in state assessments.
“A great deal of discussion and analysis has been focused on the uneven performance of middle grade students in mathematics, particularly their readiness for and success with algebra. We believe that digits has the potential to truly transform math teaching and learning,” said Dr. Francis “Skip” Fennell, a digits author and past President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). “Our goal was to create a learning experience that would not only appeal to, but truly engage middle grade students in doing mathematics. The program’s use of flexible and customizable technology gives teachers the information and instructional resources they need to address individual needs. Teachers can now adjust elements within any lesson to meet a student’s needs in real time.“
While digits can be used with a basic classroom projector and a teacher’s computer, it is designed to maximize the collaborative features of interactive whiteboards, which are underutilized in many classrooms. Most digital curricula have been designed for one-on-one learning via an individual monitor, but digits’ interactive design encourages class collaboration.
The critical evaluation and input gathered from teachers in field tests across the country helped shape digits’ design, assuring that the curriculum and platform addresses specific needs with high-powered teacher tools that have never before been available via print-based teacher editions. The technology behind digits allows auto-differentiation, a minimization of teacher administrative tasks, embedded formative assessments, and visual presentations of the mathematics. Field tests and pilots demonstrated that, on average, digits doubles the amount of time available for classroom instruction.
Additionally, digits creates efficiencies at home for parents and students with web-based homework and anytime/anywhere access to instruction and feedback. Students’ homework completion rates in field testing were in fact higher than in traditional math classes.
“Pearson is continuing to make unprecedented levels of investment in new teaching models,” added Evans. “We believe digits is going to demonstrate the potential of technology to rapidly accelerate learning. We look forward to the powerful outcomes we expect students to achieve when it is introduced in classrooms next fall.”
At Pearson (PSO), we believe in learning—all kinds of learning for all kinds of people delivered in a personal style. We have a vision of effective education; a virtuous circle of learning where powerful technologies enable teachers to assess students unobtrusively and frequently, diagnose their learning needs swiftly, prescribe personalized lessons, monitor student progress and achievement, and provide ongoing feedback to students, teachers, and parents. We champion innovation and invest in models for education that embrace common core standards, teacher effectiveness, college and career readiness, school improvement, assessment-driven instructional programs, data informed instructional improvement systems, and breakaway applications for mobile, virtual learning, and interoperability.
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