Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH): A Case of Elearning Evolution

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BEST PRACTICES SERIES

Etextbook, math figures.The Solution
ScrollMotion produced HMH Fuse: Algebra 1, which was created from content from Holt McDougal Algebra 1, a program with a proven history of helping students develop math fluency. The app is designed so that each student using it has an individualized program and way of learning that best suits his
or her needs.

Tutorial videos in the app act as take-home math tutors for students, and more than 400 videos give examples for each lesson. Interactive problem-solving demonstrations, called Math Motion, take students step by step through problem sets.

As the learning process progresses, students fill out assessments on the app, which are available to their teachers so that instruction can be personalized based on the students' strengths and weaknesses. Class notes can also be taken on the iPad directly within the app-either written or audio.

In September 2010 HMH teamed up with the California department of education and launched the pilot research project with HMH Fuse in the Riverside, Fresno, San Francisco, and Long Beach school districts. The total cost of the program including the devices, training, and the rollout process for each school was covered by HMH. The results from the program will influence future etextbook developments to improve product capabilities.

The Outcome
In just 3 months in the summer of 2010, more than 10,000 pages of content were developed to support 1,000 pages of math content. Since the program's launch in September, students and teachers alike have responded well to this new wave of learning.

"We consider the final product that was delivered for the California pilot and subsequent release on the app store to be truly exceptional," says Forsa. "There is no other etextbook platform available that provides the depth of functionality, or breadth of content available in Fuse."

According to Koppel, ScrollMotion had set out to make the product as engaging and interactive as possible, and in the end, it achieved this goal. "We wanted calculators, we wanted scratch pads, we wanted analytics," says Koppel. "We had a very tall list of things we wanted to get in there and I think we got most of it in."

While feedback from teachers who took part in the pilot project suggests they are very happy with the product, Koppel says that there is always room for improvement with this type of interactive offering. "This is an ongoing, living thing and we're constantly adding to it, improving it, making it better," says Koppel. "This is not like a traditional textbook where once it's printed, it's printed. There's the opportunity to revise, re-imagine and re-engage, and that's really one of the benefits of this experience."

HMH Fuse: Algebra 1 became available on the Apple App Store on April 7. It costs $59.99 for the subscription, which includes the entire algebra curriculum. HMH plans to release a complete Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 etextbook offering in time for the 2011 back-to-school season. "Future releases will include further enhancements and refinements that are reflective of the results of the pilot research program and new features we wish to include," says Forsa.
It seems that etextbooks and tablet devices will be essential for learning in the years to come. Forsa believes that the next decade will be a time of change in the way that individual student needs are met both inside and outside of the classroom.

"We see etextbooks being one component of an ever-evolving learning landscape," says Forsa.

Koppel thinks that the way people share and the way study groups function will evolve based on technological innovations in education. The ability to add features such as FaceTime will give a new meaning to the concept of distance learning because students can be engaged directly from the device.

"In 10 years I think that every kid in America is going to be learning on a device like this," says Koppel. "I don't think that kids are going to be lugging around textbooks anymore. I think that for a lot of kids, classrooms will be in the book."

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