— a developer of K-14 interactive content — has announced a partnership with Henrico County Public Schools in Virginia. The learning software developer will be providing Henrico with its Algebra 1 product for the 2002-2003 academic year. The company and the county also plan to monitor whether the software affects students’ ability to learn math.
A collection of learning modules based on “Gizmos” simulations, ExploreLearning’s Algebra 1 has been developed by educators. The software can be used as a demonstration tool, for group assignments or for individual student use.
Henrico County rose to prominence last year as one of the first school districts to strike a major deal with Apple for its then-newly redesigned iBook. iBooks are now in the hands of high schoolers in the county, and soon will be issued to middle schoolers as well.
Critics of computers in the classroom question whether the presence of iBooks actually has a tangible benefit for student learning. In Maine, a deal with Apple to outfit all middle schoolers in the state with iBooks has hit stumbling blocks and cutbacks as public officials and others have questioned whether it’s a necessary or useful move, or worth the expense.
ExploreLearning is hoping to find out; the company said it and Henrico County would conduct research to see if Algebra 1’s use on the county’s iBooks has any effect on the students’ ability to learn.
“We are looking forward to taking part in Henrico’s technology initiative to find the most effective way to help students learn and succeed in today’s world. It will be quite interesting to examine the impact of this technology on learning outcomes,” said ExploreLearning CEO Ted Buchholz.