Pearson Unveils New Approach to Social Studies Education

11/20/2014 12:00:00 AM

BOSTON – Nov. 19, 2014– Developing an understanding of social studies – where our society has been and where it is going – is crucial to success in today’s fast-paced, interconnected world. This week at the 94th Annual Conference of the National Council for the Social Studies, Pearson will unveil new secondary social studies programs designed to engage every student in the love of history, geography, government, economics and culture to provide a foundation for success in civic life as well as college and career.

Created through a collaborative process involving educators, experts and students from around the country, Pearson’s next-generation social studies programs align to the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards. The framework, developed and launched last year by the National Council for the Social Studies, shifts the emphasis from delivering content to preparing students for life beyond the classroom.

Kathy Swan, project director and lead writer of the C3 Framework, collaborated with Pearson on the development of the new programs. Swan, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Kentucky, said, “While much of the content in social studies hasn’t changed, if we are going to engage today’s students in learning this important subject, we must transform our instructional approach. Today’s technology provides us with a new way of immersing students in learning about history, geography and culture by personalizing content and actively involving them in thinking in different ways.”

Pearson’s new programs combine time-tested best practices, curriculum standards and technology. Students connect to compelling digital content and actively learn, investigate and acquire key content knowledge through print and digital resources. Then they extend their understanding by applying what they just learned in quick recap exercises. Through authentic formative and summative assessments, they demonstrate understanding of what they are learning.

“If we are going to educate 21st century learners, it is crucial that we take a 21st century approach, integrating all of the powerful tools and resources that we have available into an engaging and interactive learning environment,” said Pearson’s Managing Director for Learning Services Bethlam Forsa. “Through our collaboration with educators, experts and other leading education organizations, we reimagined social studies to develop programs that will provide students with a foundation for success in college, career and civic life.”

Pearson collaborated with NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBCUniversal News Group, to produce the program’s myStory videos, developed to help students make personal connections to people and places all over the world. In addition, for the 2015-2016 school year, schools using Pearson’s new grades 8-12 social studies curriculum will have access to NBC Learn’s library of more than 17,000 premium education videos.

“NBC Learn is uniquely able to bring historic and current events to life through the combination of original productions and a deep digital video archive of news stories by our world-class journalists,” said Soraya Gage, vice president and general manager, NBC Learn.

In addition, Pearson worked with the nonprofit, non-partisan Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF), to develop the Civic Discussion Topic Inquiries for all of the new programs. Pearson also integrated CRF’s project-based learning model, Civic Action Project, into the company’s longest continually published title, “Magruder’s American Government,” which was first available in 1917.

“Exploring civics through project-based learning provides students with a real-world view on how government works and the ways that citizens can help solve or influence a problem, issue or policy,” said Marshall Croddy, president, CRF. “Pearson’s new social studies curriculum provides us with a powerful platform for involving students in learning civics through this model.”

Delivered via Pearson’s REALIZE platform, the next-generation programs include student and teacher print editions,eTexts, NBC Learn myStory videos, videos to support flipped learning, and built-in progress monitoring and assessments. Embedded professional development provides teachers with access to both complete professional learning assignments and short segments to support them as they teach the curriculum.

Available now for pilots and for implementation in fall 2015, the new social studies programs are “American History” for middle grades; and “World History,”“United States History,”“Marauder’s American Government” and “Economics” for high school.

About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries working to help people of all ages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning. For more information about Pearson, visit http://www.pearson.com.

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