Simba Information (http://www.simbanet.com/webinars/index.htm) sponsored a webinar today featuring Kathy Mickey (Simba), Gail Pierson (Riverdeep) Steven Ritter (Carnegie Learning), and Leslie Wilson (Michigan’s One to One Institute).
Below are interesting highlights from each of the presenters.
Supplemental publishing is changing rapidly. It is about 18% of the educational publishing market. Tech products are stealing market share from print. Five years ago, the focus was aligning supplemental products with textbooks, now the products have to be aligned to state standards.
US school enrollments in the South(+10.3%) and West (+6.2%) are growing, while those in the Northeast (-3.8%) and Midwest (-0.3%) are shrinking over the last 10 years.
Federal funds are expected to remain flat over the next year, with moderate increases in state spending for education.
Simba forecasts a 5% growth in textbook sales, 6% in electronic media, and an overall growth of 4% in all instructional materials for the next year. The fastest growing segment will be comprehensive software.
Increasingly, the district is making curriculum and purchasing decisions, leaving less flexibility to teachers and individual schools.
Nearly every district has, is installing, or is evaluating district-wide portals and LMS systems. The goal is to provide both internal access and community access 24 x 7.
The Riverdeep/Houghton-Mifflin vision is that adoptions and larger contracts are requiring the winner to provide a solution that integrates both core curriculum and supplemental content, while also providing pacing calendars, curriculum and lesson planners (with content accessible from the planner), differentiated instruction, single sign-on, flexible print/online content with capabilities to change the lesson sequence and to fragment content, and content accessible from the district portal.
One could say that they are betting the company on that vision.
One unanticipated problem with differentiated instruction is that it is easier to differentiate online content than classroom time. Pacing flexibility is limited in the classroom.
For K12 software, quality is measured by higher test scores.
There is a three year learning curve in instituting one to one computing into schools. Teachers start assigning work based on the textbook, but by the third year, they are looking for the best resources available to teach a topic.
Michigan had Memphis University analyze the changes resulting from the one-to-one initiative:
Students feel more effective, they enjoy schoolwork more, and they feel they are better students with better job prospects.
There is more parental/caregiver involvement.
Students are doing more collaborative activities, more problem solving, they debate and question more, they integrate subjects areas better, and they discuss schoolwork with other students more.
Test scores are significantly higher.
One anecdotal difference is what happens in the classroom when a substitute teacher shows up. The students get right to work; they know what they have to do, and they provide their own support for each other. This is an indication that students, being more empowered, take more ownership of their learning when they have the tools they need.
One anomaly is that technical support costs have actually dropped. With daily use of the computers, teachers and students are able to help each other over most technical problems.
The PowerPoint slides, while not up as of this posting, are supposed to be available from the Simba website, along with a schedule of additional webcasts.