Students from 5th through 12th grade will, this school year, have internet learning assistance to improve their science grades.
In June, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) had panels of assessors reviewing internet learning submissions from a number of companies. The subject matter review experts on these panels determined which submissions were compliant with the new science Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) statements, which include 5th through 8th grade as well as high school Biology, Chemistry, Physics and IPC. Following the reviews the Commissioner, Robert Scott, recommended a list for adoption by the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE). On July 22, 2011 the SBOE voted to adopt a number of submissions. From the adopted list, schools can elect to purchase access to the software that they feel will suit their students best.
For students, these interactive learning programs will include; virtual experiments, animated simulations and instantly marked assessments, all designed to motivate students to explore the world of science.
In the present economic climate it must be good news that this dynamic learning material is available to Texas students at a fraction of the cost of traditional textbooks.
One of the systems adopted has been created by Texas entrepreneur, Tim Brown.
Tim, the President of Technical Laboratory Systems, has funded a partnership between his Texas-based team and a world leading company in the design of e-learning materials, to produce learning programs for all eight grade levels that are totally compliant with the new science TEKS*.
It is Tim’s opinion that this new TEA initiative creates a real possibility that more Texas students will succeed in school science and then choose to follow careers in science, technology or engineering.
“As a provider of technical education equipment to Texas schools and colleges for more than thirty years, I have been saddened to see the decline in the number of quality students opting for careers in technology and engineering. Middle and High School science is the bedrock for college studies in science, technology and engineering. Science teachers, who do their utmost to motivate students, will find that difficult task so much easier with this software. It was a logical step for me to invest in new technology to improve the prospects of our young students. Here in Texas we have world leading companies in all the technological areas, if we cannot provide them with the skilled and innovative workforce that they require, they will be forced to go elsewhere.”
Academics have lobbied hard for our policymakers to address the state’s declining SAT scores and maybe their message is being heard. Perhaps this new initiative by the TEA will go some way to ease the concerns of many in Texas, that the present financial constraints will damage the prospects for our schoolchildren.