Publisher's digital curriculum being adopted in Calif.

Scott Foresman multimedia module meets state standards and digital textbook standards; half of Calif. K-5 students will soon use.

In an experiment that could set an educational trend, some California elementary schools are using a custom-built digital history curriculum in lieu of traditional textbooks, reports eSchool News.

The innovative history program called History/Social Science for California (click here for video) is a product from educational publisher Pearson Scott Foresman. It includes multimedia, audio, text, and online links, along with traditional classroom activities tailored to meet the need of students. The curriculum is a digital history course where educators can make lesson plans to teach an entire class or customize course work for an individual student.

Along with adhering to the state standards, the program also conforms with a new set of digital textbook standards, called SCORM (for Sharable Content Object Reference Model).

The program is being adopted by hundreds of school district in California, and Pearson estimates that close to 50 percent of all K-5 students in the state soon will learn history and social studies through the program.

"Schools are recognizing that our program is highly effective," said Paul McFall, president of Pearson Scott Foresman. "The rapid and enthusiastic acceptance of our curriculum confirms the huge appetite for our new approach."

The California State Board of Education approved the program as part of the California 2005 History-Social Science Adoption for Instructional Materials.

"Technology in the classroom can be used strategically to improve student achievement and help prepare our students for success in the competitive global economy of the 21st century," said Jack O'Connell, California's superintendent of public instruction.

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