FETC Guest Blogger

In honor of March Blogness Month I asked DEN members to be guest bloggers about our FETC Events. Here is Cheryl Woolwine’s Post. Cheryl is from Putnam County.

SPRING TRAINING
Wow what a day – Wednesday, March 22, FETC Pre-conference Spring Training. Thanks so much to Danielle Abernethy and Karen Seddon, Florida DEN field managers that arranged the day.

OPENING PITCH

We started bright and early at 9:15 am. Some of us met at the TECO in Kissimmee, while others took the bus from the convention center with Danielle. We were greeted by many of the DEN staff as we arrived. A get to you know you game was presented at registration with a prize to be given later in the day.

Ron Reed the executive vice-president of school services gave us the welcome. He went over the four parts of discovery education:

  • unitedstreaming digital video-on-demand service
  • Discovery School videos, DVDs, and CD-ROMs
  • DiscoverySchool.com free teacher resources
  • Discovery Health Connection interactive health and prevention curriculum

He also mentioned a new product Cosmeo that had been announced on American Idol the night before. More information would be announced later in the day.

PLAYING THE FIELD

At 10:00 we went to our breakout sessions. Each of us had registered for three and they had tried to give us what we had requested.

I attended Left field first, with Jannita. What a powerhouse! She did an excellent job of relating to the newbie unitedstreamer and the experienced user, as well as explaining techie terms to both users.  We started with an overview of the unitedstreaming website and ways of accessing, searching, using, and anything else you may need to know.  She reviewed the resources with suggestions and tips:

  • Calendar: Morning announcements, time liner, factoids
  • Assignments Builder/Quiz center: Allows you to differentiate instruction for different students, copy existing ones and edit, homework   
  • Teacher Feature: Rainy day activities, last minute sub plans, Project-based learning starter
  • Image Library and Clip Art: Digital storytelling images, animated clips, Three sizes
  • Writing Prompts: Encourages literacy, Appeals to “low-tech” users, Use with all ages

The 45 minutes flew by and we really could have sat and listened to much more. We only needed to ask her to slow down her talking a couple of times!

The second session I attended was Integrating unitedstreaming with PowerPoint (and more). Second base was moderated by Katherine from Georgia. She shared with everyone how she had used the schoolhouse rock video and audio clips, along with clips from unitedstreaming, to make an interactive site using only one PowerPoint page, reviewing the eight parts of speech (nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections) I know we all remember “Conjunction Junction”! Katherine reminded us to always give credit. She recommended we start our PowerPoint with two pages the title slide (first slide) and the credit – bibliography or whatever you wish to call it (last slide). When editing unitedstreaming videos, and creating snapshots or using images we can use up to 10 pieces of clipart per web page as along as we cite the source. She reviewed how to hyperlink to videos and how to embed videos, along with the advantages and disadvantages of both. She went over ways to use thumb drives to our advantage. Once again the time flew by, we really could have kept the discussion going and going!

The final base I went to was Right field Introducing Discovery Health Connection. Brannan gave us an excellent overview of the program. I was not at all familiar with this and I walked away wanting it for all my schools! Brannan began by asking us to step back in time to when we were in sixth grade. She then played an audio clip of about 12 min. called “shooting in three parts”. After playing the clip she broke us up into different groups to represent different characters and to answer three questions from the aspect of the different characters. The reactions and answers were awesome. What a powerful tool. She not only used the power of the program to hook us in as teachers it also made us understand the power for use as students. Brannan also shared that Discovery Health Connection is working with the Lance Armstrong foundation to develop a cancer curriculum that will be offered on the site. Again our time was gone before we were done.

From my experience at the three sessions I was fortunate to attend, I wish I could have done all 6 sessions!   

Now it is 12:30 and lunch time, also known as the seventh inning stretch! We were offered a lunch buffet catered by Perfect Occasions: Hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad, coleslaw, chips, lettuce and tomato, and apple pie for dessert along with chocolates, and of course the beverage of your choice: iced tea, water, soda.  It was great!

As we finished our lunch a question and answer time was presented with a prize being offered to anyone able to stump Matt and Craig. They answered questions about copyright laws for students who use unitedstreaming clips when developing their own material. Here are some of the questions asked:
Question: How do you add new videos and remove outdated videos?
Answer: If we have a recommendation, send the title to a DEN manager and they will forward it to the correct person. Outdated materials are removed and replaced periodically, occasionally new materials are not readily available but they always try to replace any outdated material as fast as possible.
Question: “Why does Apple and quicktime downloads not include Closed Captioning?”
Answer:   “it just is not available at this time, the program engineers are trying to find a solution to the problem and hope to have it soon.”
Question: Teacher says, “I currently use a video series that includes blackline masters, quizzes and other teacher helpers, the series is available on unitedstreaming but the teacher resources are not, why not?”
Answer: I do not Know” this was the stumper and the teacher won a USB thumb drive.

Next up was Shelley from Product Development. Shelley shared program and website upgrades coming soon. The site would become more personalized and customized and even more user friendly (is that possible?). Thumbnails will be added to the search findings. Keep your eyes open for the new face of unitedstreaming!

Suddenly, we heard the Cracker Jack and peanut vendors coming out. Cracker Jack and Peanuts were passed out (thrown) by our DEN vendors, a fun time for all! (and delicious).

Scott Kinney East Coast DEN Director introduced COSMEO.  It was debuted on American Idol Tuesday evening March 21, 2006. COSMEO the online homework help tool designed to help students understand, imagine, and succeed as never before. It will be offered for $9.99 a month or $100.00 a year. You can offer your students a free 30day trial by going to www.discoveryeducator.com. Before Scott turned the program over to Steve he requested we all appear at the FETC booth at 9:15 am Thursday March 23, 2006, with 200 of our closest friends for an announcement of a lifetime! Keep checking the website I am sure the announcement will be listed here soon!

Last but not least Steve Dembo, DEN Online Community Manager, stepped up to the plate and shared with us the new DEN website. The main goal of the website is members sharing with each other. This includes sharing lesson plans, ideas, suggestions, trainings, ect… Steve reviewed the procedure to become a DEN member – so go ahead and apply! He explained how in windows XP you can upload all the files at one time if you place them in a folder – making it much easier to share lesson plans. It also brought to our attention www.discoveryeducatorabroad.com. The Discovery Educator Network is proud to announce the journey of our first Teacher Journalist to Australia,New Zealand and other parts of the Pacific Rim. Josh Wolff, a middle school teacher from New York, will be embarking on an exciting journey and sharing every step with teachers and students worldwide. Follow Josh’s travels on the website. Steve also shared how Discovery Educator is on the cutting edge of technology as it introduces Blogs to the site!

Prizes were awarded by raffle, if you completed your morning getting to know you game.  Unfortunately, I did not receive a prize, although one of my co-workers did win a Discovery Educator t-shirt. Other prizes awarded besides t-shirts, were Discovery Educator bags and USB thumb drives – a bunch were given out.

That concludes our day at Spring Training and what a day it was. I am relatively new to unitedstreaming, and I feel more than ready to share and train my fellow co-worked. I really enjoyed the day and look forward to using my new unitedstreaming skills in my training sessions.

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