Technology + Online + Industry + Partnerships

WestEd, Quantum Receive $2.8Million Grant for AI Research

Organizations plan a four-year study to evaluate the impact ofchemistry tutoring software on student achievement.

In BriefWESTED, a nonprofit researchand development agency, and QuantumSimulations, adeveloper of artificial intelligence tutoring,assessment, and professional development software,have been awarded a $2.8 million grantfrom the US Department of Education’s Instituteof Education Sciences to evaluatethe impact of Quantum’s chemistry tutoringsoftware on student learning.

The four-year WestEd study will examine traditional learning methods in schools, and hypothesizes that students who are taught chemistry using Quantum’s Chemistry Tutors cognitive tutoring software in conjunction with their regular classroom studies will exhibit greater improvement and understanding than students who are taught the same curriculum without the use of the Chemistry Tutors. This will be the first study to test the entire suite of Quantum’s 12 Chemistry Tutors, which include difficult topics and concepts that students struggle with most. Approximately 70 schools in California will participate in this regional study, with future plans to expand nationally as part of a larger initiative.

The findings from this study, which will be released in 2012, will not only reveal the efficacy of the Quantum Tutors, but will also contribute to a better understanding of the effects of the use of intelligent tutoring software on student learning in general.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, chemistry is taught to more than 54 percent of students in US high schools, forcing an increasing number of schools to rely on new and out-of-field teachers to fill the gap for science teachers. To help meet this increasing demand, the US Department of Education is exploring the use of technology, including Quantum’s Tutors, to supplement student learning and teacher training for science and mathematics.

“There simply are not enough experienced teachers to help every student achieve real understanding in science and mathematics,” stated Benny Johnson, president and CEO of Quantum. “The Quantum Tutors can help teachers meet that need by providing one-on-one assistance to students when the teacher in unavailable to answer individual questions, particularly in the evening, when students are working on a homework assignment or preparing for a test.”

Prior performance-based research studies conducted by independent evaluators indicate that the Quantum Tutors can improve test scores by as much as 50 percent, with the greatest improvement among students who struggle the most. For more information, visit here.


In BriefTHE PARTNERSHIP FOR 21ST Century Skills, an organizationfocused on infusing 21st-centuryskills into education, and the National Council for the SocialStudies, anassociation devoted to socialstudies education, have createda new framework for integrating21st-century skills into socialstudies curriculum.

The 21st Century Skills and Social Studies Map is the first in a series of free core-content maps. Its purpose is to provide educators with concrete examples of how the integration of 21st-century skills into social studies supports teaching and prepares students to become effective and productive citizens in the 21st century.

A result of hours of research, development, and feedback from educators and business leaders nationwide, the map provides project models that can result in enhanced achievement for students in grades 4, 8, and 12. The free Social Studies Map can be downloaded here.

:: Industry News

NETOP ACQUIRES GENEVALOGIC.Danish software company Netop, formerly known asDanware A/S, a leader in remote control,teaching, and security software, hasacquired GenevaLogic, an international leader in activeteaching systems. The merger willenhance the combined company’s completeportfolio of education and classroommanagement software offerings.

SONY LAUNCHES USER BENEFITS PROGRAM. Sony is now offering educational institutions a range of end-user benefits through a program called Eye on Education. By participating in this program, education customers can receive competitive pricing, exclusive service and support capabilities, financing options, and trade-in opportunities for Sony professional display products. The program’s goal is to let educators visually enhance the learning experience for their students while keeping an eye on the bottom line. For a full list of models and information on the program, visit here.

:: Awards

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WINS ITAWARD. Portland, OR-based SacramentoElementary School received theLeader in Instructional TechnologyAward from the Siboney LearningGroup, publisher of Orchard Software.The award program recognizes schoolsand educators, such as Sacramento andits principal Stevie Blakely, who haveembraced technology tools for deliveringinstruction, used them to their fullestpotential, and have experienced results.

HISTORY TEACHER HONORED FOR INNOVATION. Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools teacher Candace Schafer-Southard was recently named Virginia’s 2008 Preserve America History Teacher of the Year. She is an 11th-grade Virginia and US history teacher at Warhill High School in Williamsburg who is known for her innovative lesson plans that allow students to explore and experience history by utilizing technology. She will receive a $1,000 honorarium and is eligible for the National History Teacher of the Year Award, which will be given later this year by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and Preserve America.

:: People

KEELEY BEGINS TERM AS NSTAPRESIDENT. On June 1, Page Keeley,senior science program director at theMaine Mathematics and Science Alliance, began her one-yearterm as president of the National ScienceTeachers Association,the largest professional organizationpromoting excellence and innovation inscience teaching and learning. Keeleyhas taught science for 15 years at themiddle and high school levels, and iscurrently a principal investigator on twoNational Science Foundation grants.

CISCO APPOINTS NEW VP OF GLOBAL EDUCATION. Cisco Systems, a worldwide leader in networking solutions, has recently appointed Michael Stevenson vice president of global education. He is tasked with developing the company’s education strategy and leading the implementation in countries where Cisco is working on a non-commercial basis to bring about education reform. Stevenson will also work with education experts and partners to draft a vision paper around the idea of replicating a model to help the holistic transformation of educational systems.

This article originally appeared in the 08/01/2008 issue of THE Journal.