McGraw-Hill Education, one of the top-four textbook publishers in the U.S., today announced it will open a Center for Digital Innovation research facility in Bothell, Wash. The team of publishers and educators working there will seek to develop learning services that fulfill diverse state and school district standards. The location of the facility is interesting, as it is less than a two miles from one of the best-funded school districts in the nation, Lake Washington School District, home to Microsoft, Nintendo and T-Mobile, among other technology leaders, and which has passed several technology levies in recent years. Acceptance in this district will carry weight in other regions, where the Seattle area is viewed as a technology leader.
The company will focus on PreK-12th curriculum and technology services, including the development of online quizzing and testing, e-books and other components of increasingly personalized learning experience. A toolkit will likely emerge from the effort, one that can be mixed and matched for individual teachers and their students. The role of teachers in setting individualized learning into effect is often ignored, because textbook and other equipment purchases are usually decided at the district level, even by state departments of education. A teacher equipped with a wide range of district-approved, well documented tools and rubrics could fashion a personal learning program for each student, according to the vision articulated by McGraw-Hill. The company’s talking beyond the “one-size-fits-all” thinking of the industrial-era school.
The Center for Digital Innovation has two programs due out for the 2009-2010 school year:
- The CINCH Project (No explanation of the acronym provided by the company), a Web 2.0 tools package using “community-based” Web sites that provide personal profile and portfolio features;
- Planet Turtle, a Kindergarten through Third Grade social networking service that uses animal avatars to encourage student-to-student interaction with learning games.
The same team developed eSuite components of the Wright Group’s Everyday Mathematics and SRA Imagine It! product lines, the company said.