Saturday, May 7, 2011

Early Results of the HMH Fuse Algebra App Pilot

This report from "The Unofficial Apple Weblog" details the progress of the California schools pilot of the HMH Fuse Algebra curriculum. The app is a digital version of the new Houghton Mifflin Algebra 1 book, and includes interactive components such as a scratch pad (for sketches, text and audio notes) and graphing calculator, as well as a number of annotated videos that can address multiple learning styles. You can freely download the "preview" app....  which includes a video on "how to use this book" when you launch the app. The free app provides access to the graphing tool, scratchpad, and a few pdf worksheets, but to actually learn algebra, it's $59.99 to download the chapter contents (compared to $71 for the paper textbook).

This may be among the first efforts of any textbook publishers specifically targeting the high school level. Also available now is a sneak peak to HMH Fuse Geometry, which includes the a free sample chapter of content.

Read more at:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a major publisher of textbooks with an abiding interest in technology, embarked upon a large scale pilot project in digital education.
As soon as their new Holt McDougal Algebra 1 textbook was finished, it was decided to re-imagine it as an iPad app named HMH Fuse Algebra 1. The app would include exactly the same content as the 950-page book, but it would also contain over 400 videos, animations, a graphing calculator, multiple presentation methods and numerous other features. John Sipe, the general sales manager of HMH, blueprinted what he wanted the app to be and worked with developers to bring it to fruition.
The free app, which weighs in at 141 MB, only gives you a taste of how it all works, but it doesn't include any course content. Seeing that requires a US$59.95 in-app purchase. Loading all the content takes up a whopping 4-6 GB of space, but chapters and videos can be downloaded, erased and reloaded at any time.
HMH took this quite seriously and poured some major money into a full-year pilot project; four California school districts were chosen, and teachers were asked to volunteer to teach a number of classes using the textbook and other classes using the app for the entire school year. HMH wanted to measure if students tested better using the app over the textbook and explore attitudinal changes in both teachers and students. ... Sipe and HMH wanted to see if delivery methods affected learning, and if so, how?

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