OpenFiction [Blog]

OK, a little press-releasy for this blog, but…

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on July 13, 2009

…still pretty darn cool:

AASL names MIT’s Highlights for High School to top web site list

Highlights recognized as valuable free resource for secondary educators and students

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 12 – MIT’s Highlights for High School site ( has been recognized as a Landmark Website for Teaching and Learning by the American Association of School Librarians.  An outgrowth of MIT’s renown OpenCourseWare program, Highlights for High School features more than 2,600 video and audio clips, animations, lecture notes and assignments taken from actual MIT courses, and categorizes them to match the Advanced Placement physics, biology and calculus curricula. Demonstrations, simulations, and animations give educators engaging ways to present STEM concepts, while videos illustrate MIT’s hands-on approach to the teaching of these subjects.

MIT President Susan Hockfield described the Institute’s motivation for the program at its November 2007 launch. “Strength in K-12 math and science will be increasingly important for America if the nation is to continue to lead in today’s innovation economy,” said MIT President Hockfield. “Highlights for High School will provide students and teachers with innovative tools to supplement their math and science studies.  We hope it will inspire students to reach beyond their required classwork to explore more advanced material and might also encourage them to pursue careers in science and engineering.”

The AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning program honors websites, tools, and resources of exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning as embodied in the American Association of School Librarians’ Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.  The Landmark Websites are honored due to their exemplary histories of authoritative, dynamic content and curricular relevance. They are free, web-based sites that are user-friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover and provide a foundation to support 21st-century teaching and learning. Read more at

Since its launch, the Highlights for High School site has received more than 700,000 visits.  Surveys indicate that visitors include high school educators (34%), high school students (15.5%),  and parents of high schoolers (13%).  In using the site, educators most often integrate Highlights for High School into classroom instruction, increase their knowledge of a specific subject matter, and learn new methods of teaching. Students use the site to help them study for tests and to learn for personal knowledge.

MIT has a long history of support for secondary and elementary education, with successful prior national efforts.  For example, the Physical Science Study Committee (PSSC) formed in 1956 by a group of university physics professors and high school physics teachers, and led by MIT’s Jerrold Zacharias and Francis Friedman developed new pedagogies for the teaching of introductory courses in physics. MIT also has over 40 successful current K-12 programs and initiatives addressing science and engineering preparation at a local and national level.

The MIT OpenCourseWare site (, from which Highlights for High School draws content, contains the core academic materials for more than 1,900 of MIT’s courses, voluntarily provided by MIT faculty under an open license that allows site users to download and modify the materials for noncommercial use. The site contains notes from more than 1,500 lectures, 9,000 assignments, and 900 exams. Many courses include enhanced multimedia content, including 32 that contain complete video recordings of course lectures.