Friday, July 2, 2010

The Possibilities with Discovery Education

Discovery Education is a resource that is openly available in my school district.  During ISTE, we stopped at the booth and chatted about some unknown features available.  

Teachers have the ability to create a class group in DE.  Students can then log in at any time to view videos, take quizzes or complete assignments.  

Last spring, we were able to tap into this when our 5th grade Growing and Changing unit was revised.  The district folks made the required videos available on DE.  During our parent meeting we didn't want to spend hours watching the videos so we provided a code that parents could use to preview the videos on their own time.  

I can see value in this tool.  Teachers could require students to watch a video prior to a lesson being taught.  This would save the time spent viewing a video during class and allow for more time to be spent on collaboration and discussion within the face to face classroom environment.  While there will always be students who can't pre-watch a video, there are ways to accommodate them.  Another tool within DE is one where teachers can choose a picture with a prompt and have students write about this.  

So my recommendation is to explore Discovery Education and see how these tools can help change they way you teach.  I believe they could provide some of those extra minutes we're always trying to find!

QUESTION:  How would instruction change if students previewed movies or articles prior to a teacher's lesson?  Could it truly provide more time for face to face interactions, discussions & collaborations?  How would you deal with the student(s) who don't have Internet access?  


  1. I do think this could be useful and save time in class, but the one difficulty I can forsee is not that kids do not have access to the internet, but that they simply will not view what they have been asked to view on their own time. In class, I know I have a "captive audience"...this is not to say they are necessarily watching and listening carefully, just that they have been in the room when it is showing, but I have no such control away from my classroom. Kind of like the homework issue with which we have all struggled. I love the idea of parents and kids viewing from home, just need to look at the responsibility piece of them actually doing so.

  2. Jenny- One thing you can tie to the quiz as a quickie accountability is a quiz or writing assignment. Perhaps they have to come to class ready to answer a particular discussion question. Put them in groups to discuss? I agree trying to ensure they watch is tough. For me it goes with a push to make them vested in their education.... if I solve that I'll be rich~!