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Digital system sparks science inquiry

One of the largest school districts in Oklahoma is adding digital handheld science learning systems to science classes at all nine of its high schools.

The adoption of the state-of-the-art data collection and analysis technology is part of Tulsa Public School District's commitment to provide students with the opportunities and experiences to ensure their success in a competitive global environment.

"The all-in-one, mobile SPARK Science Learning System is a perfect fit for our 'digital native' students because it provides them with the opportunity to engage in authentic science experimentation in real time," said Adrienne Elder, Tulsa Public School District's science specialist.

Providing the framework for the SPARK Science Learning System is SPARKscience™, a research-based learning platform that integrates sensor-based data collection, interactive visualization and data analysis, instructional content and assessment. It's designed around SPARKvue™, an integrated learning application that promotes real-time analysis and direct manipulation of data. SPARKvue supports multiple classroom technologies and enables classes to use SPARKscience in a mixed-technology environment common to most schools.

"SPARKscience lets students experiment and make discoveries using the same digital methods used by real scientists,” said Eric Johnson, vice president of sales and marketing at PASCO, maker of the science system.

The district cited several reasons for adopting SPARK, including its intuitive touchscreen, depth of curricula materials; data collection and analysis features;and online training, professional development and web support from PASCO Educator Resources.

"We chose SPARK because it is designed for all levels of learning," said Elder. "It's our mission to provide quality learning opportunities for every student, every day, without exception. Our adoption of SPARK is one of the ways in which we are honoring our commitment."