RE@L presents Dr. Don Rawitsch, Executive Vice President, Product Development for RE@L STEM Investigations and welcome his Guest Blog on our “1Up On Vaping™.”
Don helped create the world-renowned Oregon Trail back in his days at MECC (Minnesota Educational Computer Consortium), and has recently been Team Leader for our revolutionary LearningProduct: 1 Up On Vaping. Other promising STEM LearningProducts are forthcoming from Don and his team.
Here are Don’s comments regarding his key role in the creation of RE@L’s K12 STEM steps into a market in need of new and promising LearningProducts™:
“Our recent blogs have highlighted a new educational offering, “1Up On Vaping,” which RE@L is bringing to the ed-tech marketplace. Our blogs help middle school students understand the dangers of nicotine-based products and, we believe, make decisions to steer clear of them.
Our 1Up On Vaping product conveys information to students via a story in which the key characters are students like them, reinforced by a set of educational games. (Click on the graphic to the left for more information on 1Up On Vaping).
At first glance this appears to be a deviation from the design of RE@L’s forthcoming product line of STEM Investigations. However, a closer look shows that 1Up On Vaping has a lot in common with RE@L’s STEM education model.
1Up On Vaping is designed to fit with RE@L’s three-level strategy of classroom learning, community issues, and worldwide implications. It integrates two of the STEM fields, science and technology. It also tackles a problem found in many local communities, student experimentation with vaping and smoking.
Most importantly, 1Up On Vaping includes ethical considerations. Through practices like vaping, nicotine is marketed to young people, despite the dangers to their health.
Equally unethical in approach is failure to manage the quality of the water we use, in which pollution can cause illness in people and can poison animal habitats.
Like RE@L’s STEM model, 1Up On Vaping supports national learning standards. All plans and materials needed by teachers and students are included in the product. Teachers are provided with online orientation videos that provide background on the topic being studied, suggestions for implementation with students, and the operation of online product components.
With all this similarity, 1Up On Vaping still has three unique characteristics:
- Much of the delivery of messaging in the product comes from student characters themselves. We know that adult preaching is usually ineffective in getting young people to turn away from smoking, drinking, and drug use. Advice from peer experience is better accepted.
- The students’ main problem solving challenge is not focused on the behavior of others, but rather on themselves. Using nicotine products is a personal choice that can have grave personal consequences.
- 1Up On Vaping uses a story and game formats instead of experimental projects to present content. We can have students safely test water samples, but experimenting with vaping would be very risky and inappropriate.
That’s why our 1Up Learning-Product includes the goal of “Never Start Vaping or Smoking.” Nicotine is considered by many health experts to be the most addictive of all harmful choices.
RE@L’s STEM interest is in engaging young people in the process of problem solving in a way that teaches them about issues that confront their communities and could lead them to consider careers in the STEM fields.
1Up On Vaping has shown us that today’s differing challenges and needs require new, effective approaches, methods, and data. RE@L better serves student learning by using our vastly improved teacher tools. There’s more to come!”