The DENs Spring Virtual Conference, Connecting the Thoughts, is in full bloom. Following Lee Kolbert, DEN Guru’s Connections, Conversations, and Collaborations: Creating a Personal Learning Network That Works For You presentation is Discovery’s Matt Monjan‘s Homework Gone Digital, A Not So Make Believe Story and it will change the way you think about constructing homework that students will do gladly. Matt is reprising a popular presentation that drew a packed audience at the DEN PreCon at PETE&C 2010, so I am reprising my earlier post, BUT with any additions Matt makes in connecting the thoughts from then to now.
We are live now and Matt has really redone his presentation, putting it into a fairy tale and poetry format. Very cool digital storytelling effect. Love it. After Matt introduced his characters, they meet a wizard who takes them to the Teacher Center. What a totally creative way to imbue learning with a different approach. I can tell you I am going to copy this concept and have my students do something very similar. Matt covers the same content, but with such a totally different approach, despite some early technical difficulties, that it becomes a totally different presentation of same content.
For those who want the more technical approach, here’s the content without the story. Not as much fun as the fairy tale and poetry, but it does the job. After the fact, I promise to get the embeddable code for Matt’s delightful presentation and will post it.
In order to assign content, you need to build content in your Discovery Education account in My Content by bookmarking site content. You can build out district content or as a teacher you can build out your own content, depending on who your district allow you to manage accounts.
The Teacher Center resources have a variety of activities and learning experiences that break out into great digital lessons for a continuity of learning. If you go to The Ready Zone Continuity of Learning, you will find resources and a flash video that will tell you how to build your class to provide access in My Content. One of the things that Discovery can do is manage uploading of accounts, and if the district is the manager of teacher and hence student accounts, you can even use emails to parents as a feature of the account setup. Much of what Matt discussed would not apply to people like me who can input her students and let them develop their content.
If you are developing your own students’ access, you can do it two ways (this is without administrators). To create a classroom, you go to “My Classroom” and have 2 ways to assign content. You can assign content through the Builders and not enter a class, or you can assign site content to your class. To get your class entered, you have 2 options: you can call Discovery (they live in Silver Spring, MD, not India) at 1-800-323-9084 and they will send you a form to batch your students. Once you provide the input, Discovery will add your students. The other way is manually to input your students, one at a time. When your students are entered, they can create their own “My Content.” When you create a quiz or a Builder assignment, you get embeddable code and/or a link to give your students access to your site content.
If you choose to create your class, you go to Create a Class, give the class a name, a start and end date for that classroom. Then you save and continue. Students already batched appear in a drop down, and you select the students you want on the DENs internal roster and then add them to the class roster on the right. When you click on the class you create, you can see all the students who populate that group. You also can view your assignments and results.
If you have students who are 13 years old or younger, you get a box that asks for the student’s parent’s email. A letter from Discovery is automatically sent to the parents to comply with the 13 and under law. A suggestion from the audience asked if this link/letter could be added to the front of DE after login. Because all of Discovery’s content is vetted and safe, as a teacher and administrator you can know that student access is to authentic and safe (can’t stress this enough) vetted content.
One of the best things about DE is the ability to assign material to students individually (absentees…) or collectively. You can also re-assign material as tutorials for a struggling student that must be completed within a time frame. You can also assign supplemental work for students who need more and differentiated instruction. Length, type, and content can be differentiated to meet IEPs, Service Agreements, and other academic accommodations that teachers need to make for students. Ultimately, the student can be re-tested, and new aggregate assessment scores re-populated. If you are not a Discovery Education user, you really want to make the leap and begin your odyssey toward integrating digital media in your classroom.
Matt was possibly the first person to present in rhyme inside a fairy tale with technology. What a wonderful 3-in-1. Wonderful learning experience.