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Texas 5E Science Units

Educational Publisher Goes Digital, with a Twist

Contact: Al Noyes, 800-558-2846

PORTLAND , Maine (August 24, 2011)—Walch Education, a Maine-based publisher of purpose-built instructional materials, has bucked the conventional trend with its latest offering of digital materials for Texas.

Instead of using all the bells and whistles that online solutions can offer, Walch went for a set of PDF materials that keep teachers in charge of the learning, while offering the advantage of quick digital access and affordability. Walch’s Texas 5E Science Unit was the only one approved last month by the Texas State Board of Education to take this approach.

“Oftentimes people perceive the word “digital” to mean computer driven products that rely on a student sitting behind a screen. We wanted to make this as versatile and as accessible as possible,” says Al Noyes, president of Walch Education. “Our online PDF versions of the science units can be downloaded and accessed later with or without internet connection; they can be printed; and they can be used in schools with or without laptops for all students.”

Noyes says it shows that technology of all kinds has its place.

“We’ve developed iPad, iTouch, and laptop applications in the past and we will certainly be doing it more and more,” Noyes said. “But each solution has to fit the need.”

Dr. Lylia King, regional manager for Walch in Texas, says she knows from experience that teachers need flexibility and need to be in control of technology, not the other way around. A former curriculum leader and principal, King now works with district partners in Texas to expand regional awareness of Walch’s Texas initiatives and resources.

“Technology done right is a great assist to teachers and students,” she says. “But it’s always the teacher that teaches, and we need to give teachers flexibility in the types of tools available to them. Software can’t do what a teacher can.”

In this case, a key requirement from Texas was for science materials that could be provided cost effectively and distributed easily. For Walch, which has been providing science and math instructional materials to Texas schools for years, it made sense to develop the new science materials for grade 5.  Walch developed similar materials for grades 6, 7, and 8 but did not ask for them to be considered for adoption by the State Board, though they are also available for school districts to purchase.

With all the other innovations teachers have to adapt to, the PDF units are ready to use and do not require teachers to learn any new software system or technology.

“We wanted to allow already-busy teachers to focus on the kids,” Noyes says.

Noyes is clear that he will continue to develop iPad apps and other technology solutions. In fact, the company has recently launched an innovative iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch application with the Plano Independent School District to help Texas students prepare for the new Algebra I end-of-course exam.

“But sometimes less is more,” he says. “And the Texas State Board seems to agree.”

About Walch Education

Walch Education develops and produces purpose-built instructional materials and applications for teachers and school districts. Walch works directly with school districts to create resources that are deeply aligned to the standards, local and state curricula, and districts’ requirements, and acts as a virtual extension of the districts’ curriculum departments to deliver tailored materials that aren’t available from traditional textbook publishers. Materials are delivered as printed text and work books, online, on CD, and now for the iPad and iTouch, as well as iTunesU. For more about Walch Education, visit www.walch.com .