Program to Accelerate 21st Century Science Learning
BOSTON—PASCO scientific today kicks off its Science-with-Technology Education Pioneer (STEP) program, open to school districts that want to explore ways to accelerate the development of 21st century science skills. The announcement comes on the opening day of the National Science Teachers Association’s national conference that runs today through Sunday at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.
“The PASCO STEP™ program reflects our commitment to increase scientific literacy and to prepare students for success in a 21st century work force in which science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills are in great demand,” said Wayne Grant, Ph.D., chief education officer for PASCO.
“Science skills for the 21st century require a deeper understanding of an authentic science process. They require students to use modern scientific tools and methods to interact systematically with data—analyzing it, reflecting on their analysis, drawing their own conclusions and, in the end, formulating, communicating and defending explanations for what they have observed,” said Grant.
“The STEP program is an outreach program that reflects PASCO’s commitment to accelerating 21st Century science education objectives,” said Paul Stokstad, PASCO’s founder and president. “For over 40 years, PASCO has focused solely on science education. This exclusive focus has enabled us to develop a deep understanding of what science educators need today,” said Stokstad.
More specifically, PASCO’s understanding of these needs has formed the development of its innovative science education technologies, configured its research-grounded content, shaped its highly acclaimed professional development programs, and motivated the development of its state-of-the-art teacher support service. Most of all it has given PASCO great insight into how to combine all these elements into a comprehensive solution—STEP.
This knowledge and expertise puts PASCO in a unique position to help school districts implement science education programs in step with 21st century objectives. “At its core, our mission is to make a significant contribution to science education worldwide,” said Stokstad. “We developed the PASCO STEP program specifically for this purpose—to make our significant expertise more readily accessible to all educators.”
PASCO Science-with-Technology Education Pioneer Program
The PASCO STEP program combines:
PASCO consultants collaborate with partners to refine their current science plans so that they more effectively move toward 21st century science education objectives.
Focused on building local capacity, PASCO’s Education Solutions group provides district partners with the technology background they need to support teachers who are teaching science with modern technology tools in their districts.
Extending technology training, PASCO’s Education Solutions group works with partner teachers to integrate modern science tools and inquiry methods into their regular classroom practice.
Partners have access to PASCO’s Teacher Support by phone, by email or in real-time on the web.
Online Learning Community
Though still “under construction,” partners will have access to PASCO’s online science education community, a web-based virtual environment through which science educators worldwide can share ideas and resources.
PASCO plans to launch a limited number of pilot programs with select STEP participants that have well-defined initiatives that recognize the need for 21st century science solutions. STEP pilot participants will collaborate with PASCO to define a pilot program that will help refine their initiatives to better ensure successful, large-scale deployment and positive learning outcomes. Pilot partners receive a classroom set of PASCO’s SPARK Science Learning System™, access to custom professional development and information from a final pilot program evaluation. Each program will examine the ways in which the SPARK Science Learning System contributed to the organization’s goals and accelerated their progress.
The SPARK Science Learning System is an all-in-one mobile solution that seamlessly integrates the power of probeware with inquiry-based content and assessment. The system contains everything a teacher needs to integrate inquiry-based, hands-on science into any K-12 classroom, and engage students in authentic scientific investigations. With the SPARK™ system, 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. SPARK, which stands for sense, perceive, analyze, reflect and know, embodies a science learning process that empowers teachers and energizes students.
PASCO will launch its first STEP pilot program with the Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative (AMSTI), a statewide program funded by the Alabama Department of Education to improve math and science teaching and learning.