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Chicago Schools Try Online Science

Child Learning from Computer

Twenty one Chicago schools are trying out a digital science program from Discovery Education, hoping to raise low levels of science readiness. “We’re trying to connect with students where they’re at,” said John Loehr, Chicago Public Schools’ science director. “It’s an environment they can respond to, and then we can give them the resources to expand and keep learning.”

The program was launched with help from Discovery spokesman Philippe Cousteau, grandson of famed oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the Chicago Tribune reported. He sought to engage children at a North Side school with tales of cannibalistic giant squids and endangered leatherback turtles that travel thousands of miles to lay eggs on the beaches where they were born.

Loehr said the city needs to try new things to boost science education, noting that, according to their ACT scores, only 9 percent of 2010 graduates showed post-secondary readiness in science.

“It’s not about textbooks anymore,” said Cousteau, TV’s Animal Planet chief ocean correspondent. “If you want to be relevant in education, you need to use technology for kids to understand, to bring it alive.” He says the online science curriculum, with its videos, labs and interactive activities, will give classrooms the technology needed to inspire a love of science. Discovery Education is a unit of the media group behind the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.

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One Response to “Chicago Schools Try Online Science”

  1. Schools have to try everything to find out what works. Chicago schools are also about to try out an online science program that uses prerecorded real experiments. The software allows students to take their own individual data using their own care and judgment just as in a traditional lab exercise. This unique, patented approach to learning science has already gain widespread acceptance in New York City. It focuses on inquiry, exploration, and discovery.

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