STEM

North Carolina District Chooses Hybrid Textbook for Physics Classes

As a step toward meeting one of its strategic priorities, a major district in North Carolina has adopted a hybrid solution for its physics curriculum. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools recently went public with its decision to purchase digital and printed texts from PASCO Scientific, which specializes in producing science kits and curriculum.

The school system will be implementing PASCO's Essential Physics, 2nd Edition textbook in its 19 high schools for use in their physics and honors physics courses. The set purchased by the district includes a traditional printed textbook and an e-book with 100 interactive components, including videos, animations, equations and simulations. The digital version, which the company said is "page-for-page identical" to the printed edition, is accessible on PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones. Because it can be saved in a folder to the device, the e-book is accessible when internet access is unavailable.

The hybrid approach addresses one of the district's strategic goals in its latest technology plan: the use of digital learning and teaching resources to "transform the instructional environment from one driven by paper to one that is rich in digital content." According to the plan, the benefits of digital textbooks include "cognitive engagement" through technology, continually updated information, better accommodations and practice in preparation for the use of technology in college and career.

The district has also outfitted its science classrooms with the Essential Physics Equipment Kit, a $1,495 set of equipment that works in conjunction with the textbooks. That includes gear for performing experiments in motion; forces and machines; waves and sound; light, color and optics; and circuits.

"To learn science, you have to do science. What's unique about Essential Physics is that it comes with everything we need to teach physics — and teach it well. The quality of the equipment is excellent, and it's made specifically for student use so it's durable," said Cynthia Rudolph, secondary science specialist for the district, in a statement. "During our review process, when we showed the Essential Physics program to our teachers, they loved it. They enjoyed the interactivity, the simulations, and the labs. They appreciated the way the lessons identify and correct misconceptions, and the way the material is scaffolded to ensure student success."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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