Groundbreaking Pearson Collaboration With Microsoft Will Revolutionize the Power of Technology to Transform Learning Outcomes

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“Fascination First” Initiative Puts Complete K-12 Learning System in Teachers’ and Students’ Hands

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Technology has the potential to engage kids like never before, bringing the world to their fingertips and allowing them to direct their own learning and participate in real-world problem solving. Today at ISTE 2014, Pearson announced a groundbreaking new learning initiative, “Fascination First” in collaboration with Microsoft Corp. The program puts a complete K-12 learning system in teachers’ and students’ hands, allowing them to realize the potential of technology to transform educational outcomes.

Combining the strengths of the world’s leading learning company and the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions, “Fascination First” builds on a collaboration announced earlier this year to create new applications and advance a digital education model that prepares students for success in college and career. The initiative allows school districts to give today’s youth the learning experiences and environments that fuel curiosity, exploration and fascination.

“When new technology emerges, we historically have treated it like a medium with which we are already familiar, rather than recognizing its new potential. For example, when television debuted, shows were essentially recorded radio programs,” said Larry Singer, managing director, Pearson North America. “Education is no different. When curriculum for computers was first created, it looked pretty much like a textbook. That changes today. Pearson’s digital learning system combined with the learning environment supported by Windows 8 is not a digital evolution for education, it is a revolution.”

Offering the convenience of tablet with the productivity of a PC, the Windows 8 operating system is uniquely designed to allow students to collaborate, create and consume content, in and out of the classroom. Plus, Windows 8 devices allow for true multitasking, making it possible for students and teachers to simultaneously watch a video and take notes in the OneNote app. Or they can search the web and the cloud at the same time and aggregate their findings in one place. In addition, students in the “Fascination First” program will use industry-leading Microsoft productivity tools, such as Office 365 – the same apps that they continue to use in college, career and life.

“Fascination First combines the immersive and collaborative capabilities of the Windows platform with Pearson’s collection of interactive courses,” said Margo Day, vice president, U.S. Education, Microsoft. “As schools continue to transition to the digital age, ’Fascination First’ will be instrumental in helping educators transform learning experiences while also giving students the technology and tools needed to keep them engaged.”

At the core of “Fascination First” is the Pearson System of Courses, an all-digital, comprehensive K-12 system of learning and teaching that is designed to empower teachers and engage students at all grade levels. Designed to empower educators to create an interactive classroom where students engage with teachers and one another to establish the routines and rituals that prepare them with the deeper learning skills and academic mastery required to be college and career ready, the Pearson System of Courses is a truly systemic approach to learning. It uses a series of research-based rituals and routines for practicing instructional strategies that promote positive student academic behaviors.

The program consists of two systems of courses -- one for English Language Arts and one for Math. It includes simulations, games and interactive tools for Math, and a full spectrum of reading, writing, speaking and listening and language activities for English Language Arts. Professional development resources for teachers are built in, as is an assessment system that includes technology enabled items that mirror next-generation high-stakes assessments and provide students with real-time, immediate feedback.

Also included in “Fascination First” is Pearson’s award-winning iLit, a tablet-based reading intervention for grades 4-10. iLit provides teachers with everything they need for their students to gain two years of reading growth in a single year. In an iLit classroom, each day begins with the students reading a self-selected title from the thoughtfully curated high-interest leveled library, which culls Pearson’s vast collection of Penguin, DK, Adapted Classics and other texts. The daily instruction allows for gradual release of control through explicit guided reading, modeling the fluency and meta-cognition of a successful reader while teaching important skills and strategies to fill reading deficiency gaps. By taking advantage of Pearson’s award-winning proprietary technology learning solutions, iLit provides students real-time feedback and coaching on informal summary writing and formal essays. Scaffolded hints and personalized feedback allow the students to write and re-write independently, practicing skills in a safe engaging environment before submitting for grading. It is the only reading intervention program with technology-based writing coaching.

In addition, “Fascination First” school districts will have access to Pearson’s Online Learning Exchange, a searchable K-12 digital library teaching resources, and Pearson’s eText optimized for Windows 8.

For more information about “Fascination First,” visit

About Pearson
Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries working to help people of all ages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning. For more information about Pearson, visit

Stacy Skelly, stacy.skelly(at)pearson(dot)com, or (800) 745-8489

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