"Where the Rubber Hits the Road"

Justin Karkow hosted the first of many back-to-school webinars on the enhancements to Discovery Education Streaming PLUS. Today’s sneak peak shows some of the wonderful features that will be coming your way this summer if you are a Discovery STAR Educator! If you are not, you might want to check out hot to join us and share the wealth of resources of the DEN. As I was getting ready for today’s webinar, I had the advantage of having sneak peek at the Leadership Council Symposium. But Karkow really brought the fine tuning home in an hour packed with the new features we all loved! We were amazed with Justin as well, running two computers and answering our chat room questions as they popped up in the chat. Truly a grown digital native.

If you are familiar with DE Streaming, then you are probably asking yourself how the best got better. Hard to believe, but it did. I know I won’t catch all the features, but here are a few. The interface, as you might tell from the image, is much different. When you log in, your assets are listed in your dashboard, and your services (think product subscriptions) to the right.

When you click the streaming PLUS (upper left dashboard), your Subject/Grade Search, Additional Media Packs, and Curriculum Standards Search scaffold on the left sidebar. The center section is your video player that updates Week in History and New Videos. The sidebar to the right houses your Builder Tools, Teacher Center, and Professional Development.

Our responses during our webinar of over 100 participants was overwhelmingly positive. We could hardly wait to play with the new ways to conduct a universal search, which includes all of your Discovery Education assets, and how you can narrow or expand, as well as save searches in My Content. One thing became crystal clear: the new streaming PLUS is a one-stop place to shop. By using streaming content, working with your builders, creating assessments, evaluating them and providing remediation for students, with everything connected to your curriculum standards, you truly have everything under one platform.

Here’s what I love. Discovery will send you an Excel spreadsheet where you can enter all your students by your classification (Period 1 or class identification) and they will batch them into your account. Or, you can establish your classes yourself. Or, you can have the students enter a code and set up their own accounts. Justin said that Discovery can handle batching large districts/classes–no problem. I know which option I’m exercising. Once students have access, they can stream and share, but they cannot download. That feature is reserved for teachers. If you are wondering about safety, you can set up accounts for students that limit their searches by grade level. If you do not want elementary students accessing high school content, you can establish search parameters for students, or create content for your students so that they have limited but secure access.

There’s always a moment, according to Justin, where the rubber hits the road in DE streaming — and for us it was how you could marry streaming PLUS to Google Lit Trips via Media Share and then back to your Builders with Discovery Assessment. This is so awesome you have to try it; I’ve been playing with it and it is just so amazing. I always say if I can do it, so can you. So here goes.

Not that I’m lazy, but time is our greatest problem in education, no matter what our role is. Whenever I do not have to reinvent the wheel, I’m happy. I’ve borrowed a Google lit trip for Grapes of Wrath from Jerome Berg, a veteran English teacher who developed and maintains the Google Lit Trip Project. I like his project as is, but since I would like to add a Discovery streaming PLUS video segment “Voices from the Dust” to a placemark, I’ll download it to Media Share to get embeddable code. Copy the embeddable code and put it into the placemark as a video for the google lit trip; add the copyright source from the video. Then you can link to your builder for student feedback with an assessment and add a writing prompt in “My Builder.” A really neat feature is that you can add the .html code from the video to writing prompt, so the video will be there for the students to revisit. I’d call completing this circuit by customizing the Joad road trip for different placemarks where the rubber really hits the road. Since this post is already longish, I’ll save some more neat things you can do and some resources from Matt and Justin for another post.






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