DC Institute final report

Or not so final – the last few days of the DC Institute were packed with
activity. This blog cannot hold it all, so keep checking back as we share more of the great ideas that came from this institute.

First, let’s answer the quiz question asked in the last update. Who
is Walter? Of the five people who voted in such a short time most of you got it
correct. Walter was our downtown DC tour guide. The trip was one of the big
surprises (although they had a hard time keeping secret). After dinner on the Discovery headquarters rooftop, 43 teachers boarded a
bus for a field trip to visit popular national monuments Lincoln memorial, 581087949_8333035d9a Washington monument, Jefferson, the Korean and Vietnam war memorial walls, the Marines statue, and the White House. One of my favorites was the Roosevelt memorial – a maze of rock walls with waterfalls and large engraved quotes from his Presidency. Despite the grandeur and beauty of this memorial, it was difficult for the biology geek in me get sidetracked
by hunting through the bushes for fireflies. Jannita and I had a grand time
catching the little bugs whose rear ends light up.

The final days also included our projects. Without ruining
too much for those of you attending other institutes, the projects were
worthwhile creations that we were given a lot of freedom over. Perhaps the best
part of these institutes, as with many DEN workshops, is to spend dedicated time
working on projects that you always want to develop but are too busy with the
thousand other tasks we are burdened with on a daily basis.

Several teachers tested out a program for Discovery and were
able to give feedback to a representative of product development. Shelly
SantoraJones and Matt Monjan who oversee UnitedStreaming were also on hand to
help teachers one-on-one with troubleshooting and to get feedback on the new
developments. The genuine interest they had in finding out what we thought and
hearing our suggestions was truly amazing. I came away feeling like I had
personally been invested in a small network rather than beta-testing for a
large corporation. Discovery really does want to see teachers get the best
tools in hand to learn and create with students.

It’s also great to spend that time with a group of teachers
whose energy and passion circumvent the typical complaining about the school
system and griping over controlling administrators that I often hear at other
conferences.601985796_d84ac67ac0_2 It is invigorating simply to be with other teachers who have radiate
fun and excitement for the classroom. The town of Silver Spring got a taste of our teen-like enthusiasm as
we ventured around town in shuttles and shopped downtown. While shooting a
video on the sidewalk one group of teachers attracted a group of locals to join
in their goofy dance in front of a large mural. Rita (last name?) from Wisconsin kept us entertained as she took over the bus microphone and did some stand-up and talked her way into all sorts of unaccesible places – all captured in a hilarious video
shown on the last day. Jannita called it “DEN gone wild!”

As for classroom implementation ideas, new websites and resources,
and upcoming DEN events, there’s too much to put here in the blog. Look for
updates soon in the national blog. So many great
projects came out of this week that will be shared. Check out some of our photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/discoveryeducation/

Comments

  1. Tim Childers

    Brett, great summary! I, too, had a blast in DC (although I had to miss the tour). Meeting new people, collaborating with strangers that become friends, and staying in touch are just part of the “touchy feely” side of the DEN. Wonderful!

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