As a health science curriculum provider, we work with thousands of health science educators across the United States. In speaking with these instructors, many of them are looking for new curriculum for their health science programs, but are not sure what would work best. It can take a lot of time to research the many options out there, and educators don’t have much spare time. Add to that the fear of not choosing the “right” health science curriculum, and this seemingly easy task can turn into a lot of frustration. To help health science teachers start reviewing the options out there, we’ve taken a look at two common choices: Paxton Patterson and HealthCenter21.
Both of these curricula are valid choices, but how do you know which one would work best for your classroom? In this article, I will share an honest comparison of Paxton Patterson versus HealthCenter21 to help you decide.
What is Paxton Patterson?
Paxton Patterson is a CTE and STEM-centered educational company that provides “learning systems” for various educational pathways. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on their Health Science Careers learning system. On their website, Paxton Patterson describes the Health Science Careers program in this way:
“This learning system prepares middle school and high school students for careers related to medicine, nursing, and health science programs - from Biomedical Engineering to Veterinary Medicine.”
The modules are available for 17 health science career pathways, each one with its own set of equipment that can be purchased for your classroom, and an online system to monitor student work. The Paxton Patterson program is heavily focused on project-based learning, with all of the modules having hands-on activities to teach students health care skills and expose them to the many career options.
The Paxton Patterson Health Science Curriculum
The Paxton Patterson curriculum is a “turn key” program, meaning that it will fill your full semester or year-long course. Your school purchases the equipment, sets up the stations, and students complete work according to the daily schedules. The Health Science Careers program is made up of 10-day modules, covering 17 different health care careers that students can explore:
Students can work in 2-person teams at a station to learn about various health care careers with authentic medical equipment provided with the system purchase. Along with the hands-on skills, students use the online system to do other work that the instructor can track in the system.
The Health Science Careers program has 170 days of content for a year-long Health Care Careers Exploration course. Because of the equipment included, purchasing the Paxton Patterson program is a big investment. It was created to be a “one stop shop” for a school with no curriculum that is looking to add a new exploratory health science course where students can gain exposure to a wide variety of Health Science Pathways.
What is HealthCenter21?
HealthCenter21 is an interactive e-learning curriculum with content for Health Care Foundations, Patient Care Technician, Medical Office Assistant, and Emergency Medical Services.
In the Learning Management System, teachers can set up customized courses by using any module from within the library of content. When the course is ready, students enroll to do the interactive e-learning lessons that teach health care skills.
In addition to the digital lessons, students complete worksheets, and take assessments which are automatically graded and shown in the teacher’s online dashboard. Teachers are also provided with complete lesson plans, presentations, and extra activities and discussion documents to reinforce topics that have been learned.
The HealthCenter21 Health Science Curriculum
HealthCenter21 is developed using the National Health Science Standards and some state standards for health science courses. You can see in the catalog of content, that there is a full library of curriculum that teachers can use across a variety of courses to meet health science standards.
In the HealthCenter21 modules, there are over 1,100 interactive student lessons and 382 teacher presentations. That means HealthCenter21 has over 500 days of curriculum resources you can mix and match to customize for your specific courses. A subscription to HealthCenter21 gives you access to the full library, and the cost is based on how many students you have. No additional equipment is needed other than computers with internet access.
HealthCenter21 was specifically created to be part of a blended learning classroom. Our curriculum development process and teaching model reflect this idea:
We also encourage teachers to use the HealthCenter21 content along with other resources in their classroom. Our Product Team believes that variety is the key to student engagement and success. This is why we often say HealthCenter21 works best as a piece of your health science curriculum. Many teachers use HealthCenter21 along with a textbook like Diversified Health Occupations.
Paxton Patterson vs. HealthCenter21 - Which is Better?
So, which health science curriculum is better? The truth is, one isn’t better than the other, since they serve very different purposes! Depending on what type of courses you teach, you would be better off with one or the other.
If you need a “turn key” curriculum for a new Exploratory Health Science course, Paxton Patterson’s learning system would be the right fit. But if you’re teaching a Principles of Health Science or Introduction to Health Care course, and need flexibility with your content choices, HealthCenter21 has more of the content that you need to meet your standards. Deeming one curriculum option as “better” than the other isn’t black and white. It’s up to you as the instructor to decide which will work best for your health science classroom.