Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

California Adopts Multimedia Science Program

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

California Adopts Multimedia Science Program

Article excerpt

In October of 1992, a historic first took place in California. A complete nontextbook, seventh-grade science package was adopted by the California State Board of Education--the first adoption of its kind in the history of California. While some adoptions in recent years have incorporated technology, such as computer software, video cassettes or videodiscs, they have been textbook-based.

Textbooks have been a mainstay in education for decades, but their role as an anchor in the curriculum is changing. Some of us have images of teachers "marching through the textbook" without the enrichment of special resources--like model lesson plans, simulations, investigations, hands-on experiments and manipulatives, films and videos, field trips and guest speakers, information on scientific careers and available databases, glossaries of related terms, and performance-based assessments that are open-ended. What if all these resources could be placed before you in a computer and videodisc player and accessed immediately? That's Science 2000

* Evolution of Science 2000

For years, Bill Honig, state superintendent of education, and Donavan Merck, manager of the department's Educational Technology Office, were aware that if California's schools didn't have better instructional materials-- beyond traditional textbooks--much of the state's reform agenda would not be realized.

Many curriculum specialists and others feel that textbooks are far too broad and do not give sufficient depth to essential topics; are concerned with assemblages of facts to which students cannot personally associate; and do not thematically describe in practical terms how science relates to other disciplines. Most importantly, traditional texts do not actively engage students, appeal to a variety of senses or cause students to develop life-long interests in science.

It was difficult to find support for a technology-based project in the business world. Not many in the technology industry nor the publishing industry in 1988 seemed interested in providing the capital for a year-long multimedia science program. Industry had concerns about the market for such products, their return on investments, and the intellectual resources required to complete such products.

So after many meetings and deliberations, the Educational Technology Committee and the State Board of Education authorized the use of $1 million to fund Science 2000. It took the department over a year to shepherd the project over a variety of hurdles, including developing the application, bidding and review processes, and contract negotiations. Even more time consuming was the project development itself, including false starts, detours and dead ends. Not only were we developing a first-of-its-kind, technology-based product, we were preparing materials for a science framework that had not yet been published

The result was an exploratory and cooperative venture between Decision Development Corp. (the successful bidder at $857,000) and Department of Education staff. This partnership put together an engaging yet comprehensive multimedia program, and concluded with the adoption of the first technology-based program by the State Board of Education in October 1992.

Science 2000 was designed by Decision Development Corp. (DDC) and its partners, but the content was developed by teachers, scientists and professional writers. It was field tested at 24 school sites. DDC involved staff from the National Geographic Society, Dinamation International Corp., the University of California at Davis and at Irvine, Apple Computer, IBM and Pacific Bell during project development.

The finished product also underwent a rigorous review by the California Curriculum Commission prior to adoption by the State Board of Education. This final step required several months and involved written public comment, public testimony and examination by an advisory panel of 44 educators representing a cross-section of California schools, universities and science experts. …

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