For the past three days we met as a team to discuss and strategize the future direction of the DEN. Our goal has always been to connect teachers to their most valuable resource – each other. In the past year and a half, the DEN has connected thousands of teachers from all over the world to each other, and the community has become more than any of us could have ever imagined. Through these connections, educators have been able to collaborate on cutting-edge projects, share resources, learn new teaching strategies and build lasting friendships. These powerful connections allowed the DEN to define itself around the passions, beliefs, ideals and personalities of all of its members. These connections will never go away.
We have read all of your comments on the blogs and discussion boards. These, as well as countless emails and phone calls, have been invaluable in helping us shape the plan for DEN moving forward. Your individual comments and thoughts forge the collective voice of the DEN and that voice has been heard.
We can still provide a level of support and leadership, but the DEN is your community. It always has been. It always will be. Ultimately, the future of the DEN will become what the thousands of committed, passionate educators determine. Given that fact, we have developed a plan to help support the DEN as it continues to grow and thrive in the coming year. The plan includes:
- In-person Events: We will continue to host events that bring Discovery Educators together, face-to-face. As you told us, there are many things that make the DEN different, even unique. Of these, in-person events are essential. For example, we are excited about the pre-conference sessions planned in conjunction with this year’s FETC and PETE&C.
- Regional Institutes: We will again host a series of summer regional institutes throughout the country as part of our commitment to keep STAR Discovery Educators personally connected.
- Professional Development: We will continue to organize online professional development opportunities like our Ed Tech Connect series.
- Blogs: We will continue to inform, educate and connect our members through our blogs. We are reorganizing the structure of the blogs to enable STAR Discovery Educators to take control of their state blogs.
- Discovery Special Events: We will continue to partner with Discovery networks (e.g., Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Kids) to provide unique learning opportunities for students and teachers.
- Local Support: We will continue to support local events by providing training kits and professional development resources to STAR Discovery Educators.
- Classroom Connections: We will sponsor a variety of collaborative projects for STAR Discovery Educators and their students.
- Special Discounts: We will continue to work with our partners (e.g., InFocus, eInstruction) to provide exclusive offers to STAR Discovery Educators.
- DEN Website: We will enhance the DEN website to support greater communication and collaboration between Discovery Educators.
We look forward to working with you as the DEN moves into the new year. As always, we welcome and appreciate your feedback.
Betsy, Coni, Hall, Jannita, Lance, Scott and Steve