The key to learning is getting students' attention and keeping it.
That is what a new division at SAS,SAS inSchool, is doing while at the same time helping teachers make their classes more effective.
The world's largest privately owned software company is turning its talent toward education. Instructional designers, writers, graphic artists and programmers, many of them former teachers, have turned out 12 courseware titles so far.
"We want to build a better library of digital assets for teaching and learning, and we're focusing on all the major subjects taught in middle school and high school," said Dr. John Boling of SAS inSchool.
Such as algebra.
"Students can take this and manipulate it and understand the abstract concepts of the y and x axis and how they relate to each other," Boling explained.
They can also learn how to pronounce German words.
Schools in several states, includingWake Countyin North Carolina, are helping SAS inSchool develop titles. Key factors are ease of use and "no fluff" content.
"Teachers don't have time for that. I know that after 22 years in the classroom. I would not spend time with games," said Caroline McCullen, instructional technologist.
"We're very careful to think about how a teacher might use one of the products in the classroom. We try to consider a lot of different scenarios," said Julie Brown, instructional designer.
Although digital programs will not replace textbooks for a long time, the new technology may save money.
"We're looking at a cost per student the first year of the license of only 17 cents," said Boling.
Boling says costs can drop as low as 5 cents per student for each program.
The SAS inSchool programs are being used by a few students in pilot schools now. As testing ends, students in Texas, California, Florida, Virginia and Wake County will be using them regularly.
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