SOURCE: PASCO scientific

March 24, 2008 07:00 ET

PASCO scientific Announces Breakthrough New Discovery-Based Science Learning Environment

The SPARK Science Learning System Fully Integrates 21st Century Technology and Inquiry-Based Content, Making Authentic Science Experiences Accessible in Any Classroom

ROSEVILLE, CA--(Marketwire - March 24, 2008) - School administrators struggling to develop students' 21st century science skills in the face of a dwindling pool of dedicated science teachers have good reason to be optimistic. PASCO scientific today announces the SPARK Science Learning System™, an all-in-one discovery-learning environment that seamlessly integrates the power of probeware with inquiry-based content and assessment. With its large full color display, finger-touch navigation and completely intuitive data collection and analysis capabilities, the SPARK™ system redefines the concept of easy-to-use -- keeping the focus on learning science.

"The SPARK system is unique in concept, design and application," said Wayne Grant, Ph.D., chief education officer at PASCO. "With a strong belief that technology should be invisible to the user, we conceived a device so simple to use and so intuitive that teachers and students can use it once and pick it up a week later without missing a beat. It also had to be lightweight, mobile and rugged so students could move about the classroom or in the field while conducting experiments. And finally, it had to be easy to collect and view data alone or in collaboration with others."

With the SPARK system, students can explore the world around them and make their own scientific discoveries. They can ask significant questions, gather data, reflect on data, and interpret their findings. SPARK, which stands for sense, perceive, analyze, reflect and know, builds on a science learning process that empowers teachers and energizes students.

"PASCO's SPARK Science Learning System is a terrific environment designed to put scientific exploration in the hands of students where it belongs," said David Thornburg, Ph.D., Executive Director at the Thornburg Center and world-renowned visionary. "At a time when we are concerned with the development of skills in the STEM areas (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the SPARK system brings concrete measurement to students in a way that stimulates their creativity and interest in pursuing science as an activity, not as sterile writings in a musty textbook."

The SPARK Science Learning System was designed to become the center of a school's discovery-based science learning environment, providing both teacher and student embedded support for exploring scientific concepts. The system includes more than 60 pre-installed SPARKlabs™, standards-based guided inquiry labs in a unique electronic notebook format. These SPARKlabs completely integrate background content, data collection and analysis, even assessment -- all within the same environment. Students need no longer navigate to a separate file for instructions or even refer to paper manuals. Everything they need to support inquiry is right there in context.

The SPARK system builds on a student-friendly, rugged mobile device with just two buttons -- supporting one-handed start and stop of data collection for either left or right-handers. The System includes two sensors -- temperature and voltage -- and students can connect up to two additional PASPORT® sensors, including PASCO's unique line of MultiMeasure Sensors™. The full color, high-resolution screen provides ample room for multiple representations of data -- show graphs, digits and meters in the same view. The System is powered by a LINUX mobile operating system, encapsulated to make it invisible to the user.

PASCO will publicly unveil the SPARK Science Learning System to educators attending the National Science Teachers Association's national conference that runs Thursday through Sunday at the Boston Convention & Exposition Center. The product will be shown in PASCO Booth 1563.

The SPARK Science Learning System has an introductory, pre-shipping price of $299 through Aug. 31. It will ship this fall. For information on The SPARK Science Learning System call 800-772-8700 or visit

About PASCO scientific

PASCO scientific is a leading developer of innovative, technology-based solutions for hands-on science. PASCO's team of over 165 includes former and current teachers, educational researchers, engineers and many more. Throughout its more than 40-year history, PASCO has focused exclusively on science education -- designing, developing and supporting better ways of teaching and learning science. Today, teachers and students in more than 60 countries throughout the world use PASCO solutions.

The SPARK Science Learning System, SPARK, SPARKlabs, SPARKbooks, SPARKvue and MultiMeasure Sensors are trademarks of PASCO scientific. PASPORT is a registered trademark of PASCO scientific.

EDITOR'S NOTE: SPARK will be unveiled at the National Science Teachers Association's national conference to be held Thursday through Sunday at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. If you would like to see it, come to Booth 63. For interviews Wayne Grant, Ph.D., chief education officer at PASCO, please call me at 408-623-6372.

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