Tips for Getting Funding to use Pivot Interactives
As teachers ourselves, we understand the challenges of finding funding for teaching resources. We know that budgets vary widely from school to school, and that in many cases teachers don’t have access to funding required to purchase subscriptions to Pivot Interactives. But we’ve also heard from teachers who have been successful in finding funding to use Pivot Interactives. The purpose of this posting is to share these ideas in hopes that they’ll be helpful to other teachers.
First, let’s look at reasons why school administrations should support teachers who want to use Pivot Interactives. When talking to administrators who can help with funding, consider the following ideas:
Pivot Interactives has been shown to be effective at teaching higher-order science learning skills such as developing and using scientific models. A controlled study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls showed that students who used the interactive videos, guided instructions, and graphing tools found in Pivot Interactives learned to construct and apply scientific models better than students who did not. Students in the study practiced experimental design, data analysis, and using data to support an argument — all important science literacy and critical thinking skills. The results of this study provide evidence that Pivot Interactives is an effective tool for teaching science.
Students enjoy working with Pivot Interactives . A survey conducted by a physics education research group at MIT used our interactive videos as part of their online courses showed that students preferred interactive video over other types of problems, such as word problems or computer simulations. Similar results were reported in surveys conducted at part of the University of Wisconsin study. This is also one of the most consistent feedback we hear from teachers about why they like using Pivot Interactives: students think they are cool.
Pivot Interactives provides ways to teach the science process skills that are required by Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), new Advanced Placement exams, and many other science standards. The focus in science education has shifted from memorization of content to mastery of the process of science. Teachers need new tools, and Pivot Interactives is specifically designed to help. Our activities are specifically designed to help students practice and master all the Science and Engineering Practices.
Pivot Interactives makes it easy for teachers to provide opportunities for interactive learning. Decades of science education research shows that interactive teaching — where students interact with the content rather than listen to lectures — is more effective than lecture-based teaching. But preparing effective interactive lessons can be time consuming for teachers. Pivot Interactives classroom-ready activities allow teachers to include more interactive teaching in their class. Students can collect their own data and perform their own analysis and then share their approach with other students. This balance of collaboration and individual work means students learn from each other while also being responsible for demonstrating what they have learned as individuals.
Even if administrators agree that Pivot Interactives is worth funding, finding a source of funds may not be straightforward. One of the most consistent suggestions we’ve heard from teachers is to look beyond the teacher’s discretionary budget for lab equipment. Pivot Interactives is a new genre, a new kind of educational tool, and can be funded by technology innovation funds or curriculum funds, not just capital or equipment budgets.
One teacher was successful in gaining funding by outlining for the administrator what the outcomes would be. Specifically, this teacher wanted to use Pivot Interactives to improve science process skills. The teacher incorporated Pivot Interactives in to a SMART goal, with the aim that 80% of students in an on-level physics class would demonstrate mastery of linearizing a data set and stating the physical meaning of the slope and intercept of the equation. Further, the teacher agreed to share the results with the rest of the department as their curriculum migrates towards NGSS.
Another teacher suggested that her administrators supported her efforts because she already had a history of successfully innovating interactive teaching in her classroom. She presented Pivot Interactives as part of a cohesive approach to interactive teaching, not just a fad or short-term fix.
Have you had success in gaining administrative support for using Pivot Interactives? Share with us your secrets to success!