Dear DEN Community, First of all, Happy DEN Teacher Appreciation Week! This is one of our favorite times of the year because we get to celebrate the amazing work our STAR Discovery Educators do every day to inspire young people to pursue their interests and develop a love for learning. We hope you have been reading your updates, checking the blog and following Twitter all week to take advantage of the wonderful gifts our friends of the DEN have given us. Don’t forget to let them know how much you appreciate them as well. During this incredible week of celebration we also have a unique opportunity to focus on what really matters in education – kids. Yesterday we opened the public voting for our finalists of our first ever, DEN Dr. Lodge Video Challenge. Fifteen different groups of students from around the U.S. created truly awesome projects that you simply have to see for yourself. The spirit of this challenge is embodied in the unique and creative projects the students developed that demonstrate the transformative power of helping students own their learning experiences. Yesterday, however, we witnessed an abnormal explosion in voting and it has raised questions within the community and resulted in some tension around the challenge. The spirit of the challenge is to witness and celebrate the amazing work of our students. Due to an unforeseen technical issue, our voting process has unintentionally allowed multiple votes from the same computer. We reached out to many finalists throughout the day yesterday to figure out what exactly was happening, and we appreciate everyone’s openness in helping us resolve this issue. So, due to the unintended circumstances surrounding the voting process to date, we have decided that in the spirit of the challenge we will do the following: 1) All 15 finalists will receive one (1) Flipcam, one (1) DEN polo shirt and thirty (30) backpacks for their class. 2) Reset and restart the voting process using a different mechanism where we encourage everyone who votes to watch the videos and comment on what they liked about their selection. We will remain on our timeline with voting ending on May 13 with the grand prize winner being announced during the DENny Awards on May 17. The new voting process, which requires voters to comment on what they liked about the students' amazing videos, will be live tomorrow, Friday, May 11. We truly hope that this decision helps alleviate any confusion and hard feelings that may have unintentionally resulted from our voting process to date, and will allow all DEN community members, their students, students’ parents, and colleagues to focus on the true spirit of the DEN Dr. Lodge Video Challenge. Thank you so much. Enjoy watching the videos from this year’s finalists and have a wonderful remainder of DEN Teacher Appreciation Week. If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us.
Sincerely, Matt Monjan VP, DEN Account Management Lance Rougeux VP, Learning Communities and Instructional Implementation