Prism Web Portal Receives National Honor
for Educational Innovation|
A Web-based portal developed at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology to provide digital resources for the teaching of science, technology and mathematics in Indiana middle schools has been named a national leader for its innovative use of Web-based educational technology.
The Portal Resource for Indiana Science and Mathematics (PRISM) was selected as one of 15 T.H.E. Journal 2006 Innovators. The national education magazine for K-12 educators selected PRISM from over 200 national nominees.
The 2006 Innovators were cited in the December issue of T.H.E. Journal as difference makers that have used the power of educational technology to transform teaching and learning.
PRISM is a free Web site that provides a digital library of more than 2,300 resources indexed to the Indiana Academic Standards and cross referenced by learning concept for use by teachers in grades six through eight. Unlike other digital libraries, PRISM specializes in highly interactive mind-ware, such as simulations, visualizations, modeling packages, cognitive skills games, and software that increases student task engagement and motivates learning.
“Our staff works closely with teachers to meet their needs by providing exciting, new interactive, peer-reviewed instructional resources,” stated Patricia Carlson, project director and a professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Rose-Hulman.
“PRISM also provides a portal for teachers to interact and work collaboratively through e-learning communities with online courses and file sharing,” Carlson said.
PRISM was opened to the public in the fall of 2003 through a grant from the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis.
According to Carlson, the Web portal helps alleviate the challenge teachers face trying to sort through a rapidly increasing number of Web-delivered resources to find and utilize materials that meet specific educational needs.
PRISM provides the use of the Moodle Content Management System that enables teachers to use an electronic grade book, post interactive assignments, accept student assignments electronically, create student journals and Web pages, and allows students to critique the work of their classmates.
PRISM is also available for parents and to students being homeschooled.
“PRISM has become the premier Web site used by Indiana teachers in grades six through eight who seek online teaching materials for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects,” Carlson stated. “By using well-known regression techniques and data analysis, we can prove that increased use of PRISM by teachers, holding everything else constant, leads to larger increases or smaller decreases in their eighth-grade students’ scores on the Indiana Statewide Testing for Education Progress (ISTEP) exam.”
Each day, PRISM is being accessed by approximately 580 different users.
In February, PRISM and Rose-Hulman were named as one of the 10 lead institutions in Indiana for the ISTEM Resource Network. The statewide initiative will build a comprehensive center and coordinate K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics outreach programs in the state. Carlson explained that the goal of the program is to create a talent base that allows a larger proportion of state high school graduates to transition to successful STEM-related careers in the workplace or in higher education. The idea for the network was initiated by BioCrossroads and the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation for Education. BioCrossroads serves as a catalyst to continue the growth of the life sciences industry in Indiana.
PRISM can be found at www.roseprism.org.