Florida Virtual School and My Sports Pulse Use Mobile Phones to Connect Students to Science, Technology Engineering & Math Fields

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Florida Virtual School and My Sports Pulse announce a pilot to engage 7 - 12 grade students in sports-themed, interactive online activities designed to boost their interest in and knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics concepts.

Florida Virtual School (FLVS) and My Sports Pulse™ announced today a collaborative effort to give 7 - 12 grade students the opportunity to join a growing international network of peers engaged in sports-themed, interactive online activities designed to boost their interest in and knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics concepts.

My Sports Pulse™ is an educational game delivered via IVR (interactive voice response), SMS/text messaging, and video messaging to mobile technologies, such as cell phones. The pilot, which was made possible with funding from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, will allow FLVS students to join My Sports Pulse™ and compete against peers to answer the most questions about sports that relate to science, technology, engineer, and math (STEM) issues all via cell phones or the Internet.

"The students in our math and science courses will certainly embrace the interactive elements of this program and will benefit from the opportunity to engage in meaningful problem solving activities. This mobile learning opportunity allows students to carry exciting, meaningful content in the palm of their hands, and by incorporating this cutting-edge-technology into our online educational experience we are advancing the "any time, any place" maxims of our motto," said Jennifer Whiting, Director of Creative Projects at FLVS.

Developed by the University of Central Florida and Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, My Sports Pulse™ was created to boost interest in STEM issues by leveraging students' interest in sports and regular use of their cell phones. Once enrolled, students receive sports-related messages or questions that correlate to common concepts in math, science, and technology. The program includes videos by popular athletes who ask questions and provide knowledge about STEM fields to students.

"Our partnership with Florida Virtual School is the ideal extension of My Sports Pulse™, which is already reaching students throughout the United States and internationally. Now students who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and math have a place at FLVS to enroll in certified curricula that support their career plans," explained Dr. David Metcalf, the UCF Institute for Simulation and Training researcher who designed the program.

FLVS students can enroll immediately using through their cell phones or their computers. "With the Olympics around the corner, sports will be a unifying element across the world. We want to tap into this excitement to promote a rich learning experience," said FLVS President/CEO, Julie Young.

The system uses a progressive scoring system to create competition among students and rewards students who answer questions correctly with additional minutes, games or ring tones. The scores for each student are tracked throughout the year, and interim and overall winners will be announced through the program's web site.

Registration is simple. From their mobile phones, FLVS students can text either "REG" or "REGISTER" to 321-230-9402. They can also enroll online by clicking on the registration icon on the FLVS website (http://www.flvs.net). They will then receive an initial qualifying question and be entered into the My Sports Pulse™ sweepstakes.

"If you look at the numbers, there are hundreds of millions of computers across the globe, but there are currently more than three billion cell phones," said Dr. Metcalf. "We can reach a significantly larger number of students through mobile technology, while we direct them to FLVS educational opportunities."

About My Sports Pulse
My Sports Pulse™ is an educational game delivered via IVR, SMS/text messaging, and video messaging to mobile technologies such as cell phones. The goal of the My Sports Pulse™ program is to encourage an interest in learning for K-12 students in the fields of science, mathematics, and technology. My Sports Pulse™ was made possible through grants and investments of the Ewing Marion Kauffman foundation, a foundation with the specific interest in improving education both in and out of the classroom. The Pilot phase running in the fall of 2007 has been developed by the Kauffman Foundation in collaboration with the University of Central Florida (UCF), the Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE, and Växjö University in Sweden.

About Florida Virtual School
Florida Virtual School (http://www.flvs.net) is a nationally recognized e-Learning model for developing and providing virtual K-12 education solutions to students throughout the country. Founded in 1997 as a pilot project, FLVS began course development with limited enrollment, pioneering Florida's first Internet-based, public high school--complete with online middle and high school curriculum.

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