Pearson and the Commonwealth of Virginia has launched what they describe as the nation’s first-ever complete social studies curriculum ( for the iPad. Pearson has developed four new iPad Apps plus digital curriculum aligned to the Virginia editions of Pearson’s U.S. History and World History programs for seventh and ninth graders. The new iPad program will be piloted in several schools for 12 weeks beginning November 1 as part of Virginia’s Beyond Textbooks initiative.

“In exploring the instructional potential of digital content, it makes sense to partner with Pearson, whose technologies and traditional textbooks are widely used in Virginia schools,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright says. “The experiences of students and teachers with the applications and digital history content created by Pearson will help shape decisions and practices as schools move thoughtfully and carefully beyond textbooks and deeper into the age of digital learning.”

Middle and high school students participating in the Pearson iPad Social Studies pilot program include: Washington Lee High School in Arlington County, Achievable Dream Middle School and High School in Newport News, Menchville High School in Newport News, Pulaski Middle School and Pulaski County High School.

“We are always looking at the newest technologies to advance our goal of personalizing learning for every child,” says Pearson’s CEO for K-12 Curriculum Peter Cohen. “We have been side by side with Virginia since they first introduced their education technology initiative more than a decade ago, and are privileged to be chosen to participate in this latest mobile learning pilot program with the popular new iPad. Over the next few months, we expect to learn a great deal from these students that will influence the next generation of school products we develop at Pearson. These findings will ultimately benefit children all across the country – youngsters who have been immersed in the digital world their entire lives.”

Pearson has created a complete instructional solution to support the company’s Virginia editions of America: History of our Nation (7th grade) and World History: Volume I (9th grade). The iPad program includes three components: an app with interactive learning games that introduces concepts to students through puzzles and fast-action challenges; eText on iPad where students access the social studies curriculum and take control of their learning by creating their individualized texts; and the personalized assessment with remediation app for students to review and self-test.

Cohen noted that these new social studies programs for Virginia are the latest in Pearson’s global digital and mobile learning initiatives. The company has created more than 100 apps for learners of all ages, including its Algebra Prep App series.

The Virginia Department of Education is collaborating with Radford University to conduct a research study on the results of the pilot program. In her announcement today, Wright said, “The knowledge gained will help policy makers, educators and our private sector partners better understand the potential instructional uses of interactive digital media and wireless technology.”   

Pearson, along with Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson, and Apple is among 50 technology visionaries recently selected for the new Digital Learning Council established last month to accelerate personalized learning through the use of technology in America’s schools.