In my new position this year as an Instructional Technology Specialist, I have had a lot of opportunities to continue my professional development in different ways. Even though I might not be able to directly implement new tools or strategies with my own group of students, I want to make sure that I am a helpful resource for the teachers and staff members I work with so that they feel more comfortable trying something new.
Last week, I was able to attend a Day of Discovery put on by Discovery Education at our local Region 10 Education Service Center. I heard that they come to do similar events every year, but unfortunately as a classroom teacher it was hard to secure and plan for a sub on a Friday in October. So I was happy to attend, take notes, and try out some of their new tools and ideas so that I could share them with other teachers who weren’t able to be there in person. I loved Discovery Education as a middle school science teacher, and my current district has subscriptions to the Science TechBook. Streaming was nice, but the TechBook includes virtual labs, interactive reading texts, and assessment pieces I was able to assign to my students.
Some of the highlights of my day included:
– Learning to better search and filter results in the Streaming section. I knew about their videos and high quality images, but I was surprised to see the library also included a lot of content-based songs that included printed lyrics for use in lessons.
– The new Board Builder tool which allows students and teachers to create multimedia digital posters (think Glogster-style), within the Discovery Education site with the ability to link streaming content and personal uploads. I sat in on one session where I had work-time to create my own Board, which I plan to use to help share information about DE features.
– Applying to become part of the DEN Star program – a network of educators that connect and help one another as they use Discovery Education.
The event was free and was a great opportunity to DISCOVER (haha – I crack myself up) better ways to use a piece of technology that my district already has. If your district uses Discovery Ed, I would recommend that you attend a similar event if you can.