(2012/2013) Social Studies Online Techbook Pilot Analysis

By.  Dr. Eian Harm & Lori Gash, M.Ed 
During the 2012-2013 spring semester Meridian Joint School District No. 2 (MJSD) piloted the use of the Discovery Education online techbook within several of its 6th (World History) and 8th (Geography) grade social studies classrooms.  The "techbook" is an online textbook developed by Discovery Education and accessed through the Idaho Department of Education’s Schoolnet web portal. This educational site offers an online textbook for students to access information, watch streaming videos related to course content, connect to primary sources of information, and provides teachers with assessments.  The techbook provides teachers with coursework and lesson plans incorporating reading and activities based upon what they define as the “Five Es”- Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.   For the purpose of the study MJSD analyzed three (3) models of techbook implementation for effectiveness.  These in-class models were: 

1) 1:1 implementation- every student has personal access to the techbook 
2) 1:3 implementation- 1 “device” for approximately 3 students 
3) Teacher only access with projector 
Additionally, every student within the study had at-home access to the techbook and the materials within it.  The study sought to determine if the use of techbook technology is a viable, economically prudent, and effective method of delivering course content to students within MJSD.   Additionally the study sought to determine which implementation method would be best suited for students based on effectiveness, engagement, and overall use within the district’s schools.