Oregon district adopts digital science curriculum

Ontario School District in Oregon has adopted a digital science “techbook” from Discovery Education. The district will use the digital solution as its core instructional resource for 4th and 5th grade science curricula.

The first digital, basal instructional solutions to be approved for statewide use in Oregon as part of its K-12 Science and 9-12 Mathematics Instructional Materials Evaluation Process, Discovery Education Science K-5/6 and 6-8 are correlated to Oregon Science Curriculum Standards. Organized around an inquiry-based framework, both techbooks cover the physical, earth and space, and life sciences, encourage student exploration, and stimulate critical thinking.

“Within Discovery Education Science K-5/6, videos, reading passages, engaging hands-on virtual labs, and more come together to bring the world of science alive for every type of learner,” Linda Florence, superintendent of Ontario School District said. “The Discovery Education Science techbook helps district educators address every type of learning modality and engages students in the digital world in which they live.”

The district’s decision to implement online curriculum follows the creation of five technology-rich learning environments at Ontario Middle School in January 2010 through a $274,000 technology grant.

Featuring up-to-date, standards-based videos, virtual labs, simulations, ebooks, text passages, and more, the science solutions offer digital content in multiple modalities. Each Ontario School District student will be able to access the service with a unique username and password, so that educators can differentiate instruction to meet the learning styles of their students through video, colorful text passages and interactive explorations. DVDs, printable worksheets, activities and hands-on suggestions facilitate use of the service outside the classroom or where Internet access is unavailable.

The formative assessment tool built into the digital instructional materials provides educators and students with information on which skills and concepts have been mastered, and directs individual students to remedial activities that address areas in need of improvement. Educators can quickly identify student understanding of science concepts throughout the learning process via a pre-test, mid-point check and post-test.

In addition to digital assets and a powerful assessment tool, the digital instructional materials feature comprehensive professional development resources and printed teacher’s guides. These elements showcase best practices and highlight new techniques for integrating digital content into classroom instruction.

“We are sensing a shift in school districts across the state as superintendents and other administrators begin to consider the tremendous upside and benefits digital content offers as a core instructional resource,” said Alex Morrison, vice president, Discovery Education. “Discovery Education is proud to be working with Ontario School District on our joint mission to improve student academic achievement, and we a confident it is leading the country in the right direction.”