Just as I tell teachers that Discovery Education is so much more than merely videos, the program is not just for classroom teachers but for all educational settings. That includes the library– my particular setting! This wealth of resources is continued by the DEN, another place with something for all educators, from the core teachers in the regular classroom to special education teachers to staff training folks to (of course) the library. But it even goes a step further, to a retired educator- school volunteer — namely ME.
I first learned of the DEN at our wonderful regional education service center — ESC 11 in Fort Worth, Texas. The day was cold and snowy, but the information was “hot off the press” as Discovery Education services were just coming to our region. I know Discovery would be popular (and it has really taken off in popularity since our district installed ceiling mounted projectors in classrooms) and was excited right away by the networking possibilities provided by the Discovery Educator Network.
In those days of 2005, a person had to apply to be a DEN member, but I knew it was well worth the bit of effort to be a part of this amazing group. For several years now, my involvement has grown, along with my enthusiasm for the DEN. I was chosen as one of the first folks from my area to be part of the STAR program and am in my fourth year on the Leadership Council.
Networking on-line via the blogs, the DEN forums and other avenues is good, but even better is the in-person networking at DEN events. Two particular events I enjoyed and learned from were the Regional Event held at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in August 2008 and the DEN Summer Institute in San Diego in July 2011. Both were busy times, full of learning, activities, networking and fun! I learned so much and took it back to my district to be shared with others as I promoted DEN and Discovery Streaming. I particularly liked promoting use of Discovery in special settings, such as my elementary libraries (got some great research skills resources on the site) or in preparing for special events (an Educator Resource helped prepare for an opera event).
The enthusiasm and the sharing continue as I volunteer for the district. I am working on sets of library lessons by month to be shared via the My Content AND will share the lessons with other DEN librarians to use by adding them to the Educator Resource section on the DEN site.
I’ve learned much about Discovery, of course, by being part of the DEN but the learning goes beyond that to other technology helps for teaching. Most of all, however, I’ve met a great group of people — both “in the trenches” educators and the great DEN staff– always willing to share, to help, to encourage fellow educators. That is why I continue to be part of the DEN and the Leadership Council even though I am retired so I can “pay it forward” by sharing, helping and encouraging others.