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West Virginia's Students Scoring Higher with IBM School Initiative

June 12, 2001

Teaching and learning in West Virginia have improved after educators began using technology-rich curricula, according to a new three-year independent study released today by the Center for Children and Technology (CCT) of Education Development Center, Inc.  

West Virginia’s Reinventing Education program, a partnership between IBM and the West Virginia Department of Education, has resulted in middle and high school students making substantial gains in all curriculum areas, according to the report released in Washington D.C. at the Hudson Institute Achieving Large-Scale Education Reform Round Table Discussion.  

West Virginia received a $2 million grant from IBM in 1995 to address the use of technology and the Internet to create and share innovative lesson plans and teaching strategies that would directly address deficiencies in student learning identified through state testing. West Virginia was one of 21 sites in the US selected as a grant partner.  

Through a five-year partnership, IBM and teachers collaborated on a new process to create on-line classroom lessons. The instructional planner is part of a suite of tools now available and marketed under the name Learning Village. It allows teachers to build standards-based activities, lessons and units that correlate with the state instructional goals and objectives.  

“The Reinventing Education program has allowed us to use the power of technology to directly impact student learning,” said State Superintendent Dr. David Stewart. “Through the participation of IBM researchers, administrators at the state Department of Education, and a group of master teachers, we were able to develop lesson plans that positively affect classroom instruction and have, ultimately, improved student achievement.”  

According to the CCT report, Reinventing Education has demonstrated tangible improvements in teaching and learning and the unusual ability to establish strong roots in schools throughout the state through a scale-up process. In addition, many of the grant sites have shown the rare ability to maintain momentum and continue growing after the IBM funding is exhausted.  

In West Virginia, the state received federal funding to expand the RE project into elementary grades and provide pre-service training to student teachers in local schools of education.  

Donna Landin, Reinventing Education coordinator for the state Department of Education, became involved with the partnership from its inception as one of the original team members creating the first round of new curricula for the Internet.  

“New lessons were created through a rigorous process that involved research by teachers, multiple rewrites, field testing in classrooms, feedback from peer teachers and ultimately submission to a jury of course experts for final approval,” said Landin. “It has been an exciting process to see the enthusiasm it has generated among teachers and the results it has produced for students.”  

The Center for Children and Technology’s study, IBM Reinventing Education Grant Partnership Initiative Implementation Evaluation Survey, is available from the Center for Children and Technology, 96 Morton Street, New York, N.Y. 10014, (212) 807-4200 or by emailing cct@edc.org For additional information contact Donna Mattoon at 518-487-6603 or Donna Landin at 304-558-0304.

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