Educators Extol Benefits of PASCO’s SPARK Science Learning System
Schools in Texas and West Virginia Among the First to Integrate New Discovery Learning Environment into Science Programs
Thousands of students worldwide are getting their hands on the SPARK Science Learning System™ this semester, including large numbers in Texas and West Virginia, PASCO Scientific announced today at the Texas Computer Educator Association conference.
The all-in-one, mobile discovery-learning environment seamlessly integrates the power of probeware with inquiry-based content and assessment. With its large full color display, finger-touch navigation and completely intuitive data collection and analysis capabilities, it redefines the concept of easy-to-use—keeping the focus on learning science. Students can explore the world around them and make their own scientific discoveries. They can ask significant questions, gather data, reflect on data, and interpret their findings—skills essential to working and living in a knowledge-driven, global economy.
Designed to become the center of a school’s discovery-based science learning environment, the SPARK Science Learning System provides teachers and students embedded support for exploring scientific concepts with 62 pre-installed SPARKlabs™, standards-based guided inquiry labs in a unique electronic notebook format. These SPARKlabs completely integrate background content, data collection and analysis, and assessment—all within the same environment. Students no longer need to navigate to a separate file for instructions or even refer to paper manuals. Everything they need to support inquiry is right there in context.
Below are a few examples of how educators are integrating the SPARK Science Learning System into science programs.
San Antonio, Texas
The Basic School Center San Antonio, University of Texas San Antonio’s College of Education and Human Development, and the George W. Brackenridge Foundation have launched the Math, Science and Technology Collaborative Project. The project works with selected schools and instructors to develop strategies and methods for teaching K-5 students math, science, and technology. “We chose the SPARK Science Learning System to enhance the instructional integration of science and technology in classrooms,” said Victor Herrera, director of Basic School Center. “Teachers participating in this professional collaboration are immersed in experiences and reflective learning that focuses on curriculum coherence and preparing students for a new century of learning. The SPARK Science Learning System has the potential to enhance teacher practice in key areas of science and technology.”
University of North Texas
The Teach North Texas (TNT) program in Denton prepares future secondary mathematics and science teachers using an inquiry-based learning model. Initial funding for TNT came from a $2.4 million dollar grant from the Greater Texas Foundation, the National Math and Science Initiative, and the UTeach Institute. TNT is using grant funding to purchase the SPARK Science Learning System and advanced probeware to design hands-on learning experiences based on state standards which will target high-needs students in North Texas schools. According to Sarah Taylor, TNT science master teacher, “We chose the SPARK Science Learning System because it combines the most user friendly data analysis and collection tools with modern touch screen technology and is a cost-effective package. The system also supports older PASCO probeware so that the middle schools we are working with can continue to use equipment they have already purchased. This device will allow us to observe our students using technology effectively in their classrooms, assess their understanding of it and monitor academic process.”
Glenville State College, Glenville, West Virginia
At Glenville State College in West Virginia, some of the $3.7 million grant from NASA to enhance STEM initiatives in the state will be used to train high school teachers how to incorporate the SPARK Science Learning System into classes and laboratory activities. Faculty and students of the college’s math and science departments will host workshops at 28 high schools throughout the state this year. Kevin L. Evans, Associate Professor of Chemistry/NASA Program Facilitator, said they chose the SPARK Science Learning System because “it’s much more user friendly than other systems. The color touch screen revolutionizes data collection and essentially eliminates any technology fears by teachers and students and the built-in labs are a great benefit because teachers can easily select activities for their classes.”
The SPARK Science Learning System includes two sensors—temperature and voltage—and students can connect up to two additional PASPORT® sensors, including PASCO’s unique line of MultiMeasure Sensors™. The full color, high-resolution screen provides ample room for multiple representations of data—show graphs, digits and meters in the same view. For more information visit the PASCO website at pasco.com or call 800-772-8700.
PASCO has been designing, developing, and supporting innovative teaching and learning solutions for K–12 and higher education since 1964. PASCO’s team of educators, scientists, educational researchers, engineers, and many others is committed to the advancement of STEM education around the world. Today teachers and students in more than 100 countries use PASCO solutions.
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