I love Discovery Education, especially being part of the DEN. Of course, the subscription to the service and all it affords, including the ability to truly individualize lessons for our students, is a wonderful thing. Having 24/7 access to Discovery Education opens up a huge platform for teachers and students to learn and follow passions. However, it is being part of the Network, being able to communicate and learn from other educators both virtually and at face-to-face conferences that provides excitement and engagement for me. I often click on the links in DE tweets that lead me to tons of resources I would not have known about otherwise. The DEN newsletters that come to me via email are also very helpful in that I can save them and go back to examine the blog posts, links, announcements, etc. when I have time. Finally, I would be remiss if I did not offer a huge thanks to all the support personnel at Discovery Education.
Here is a specific example. Our district subscribed, some years ago, to Discovery Education at the prompting of the media specialists and others in our district who saw the value of the product. A number of our teachers used it in their classrooms, mainly for streaming. Then, in March of 2010, I had the opportunity to attend the Celebration of Teaching and Learning in NYC. I went to a session on using Windows Movie Maker, and the presenters were demonstrating how one could download DE videos and edit them using Movie Maker to further personalize them for their students. It was there that I met Whitney Mihoulides, our New England representative. I can’t even remember my question for her, but I do remember how warm, welcoming, and responsive she was. She told me about how Discovery Ed hosts face-to-face conferences and even introduced me to the concept of becoming a DEN star!
Wow! After that, I attended my very first all-day DEN on-line conference on April 24, 2010. What an eye-opener that was. I learned so much from Lee Kohlbert, Matt Monjan, Dean Shareski, Christina Asquith (Sisters in War), Lindsay Hopkins, Carol Anne McGuire, and Lance Rougeux – one presenter right after another. I remember that my only complaint was not providing time between sessions for bathroom breaks. I didn’t want to miss anything.
Then, I met up with Whitney again in the chat room of another webinar:
Topic: Gone Google – Using Google Tools for Educators
Host: Justin Karkow
Wednesday, April 28, 2010 7:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time
Again, I was thrilled when Whitney recognized me personally in the chat and told me about a face-to-face Day of Discovery to be held at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Massachusetts. I convinced my husband, my chauffeur and cheerleader since he retired in 2006, to drive me to the conference.
It was there that I met Steve Dembo for the first time! It was better than meeting Brad Pitt, in my estimation. In a session with Whitney, I learned how much more DE was than just streaming videos. I learned that every student could have his/her own personal logon to the service in order to access it from home. I learned about how teachers could set up classes consisting of one or two students or a whole team. I saw how the concept of individualized education could become a reality using DE resources. It was a real eye-opener.
I went back to my district, led a number of trainings in DE, got support from other teachers who wanted the students to have access, and the ball rolled! All of our students now have access, and our teachers are using many more of the available resources. I look forward to many more years of learning and excitement with Discovery!
P.S. Here is a link to a blog post I did for DE the following October, and my picture with Steve and Whitney says it all: