Archive for January, 2010

Digitally Speaking – Week Five: Digital Textbooks – Are We Ready?

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Schools have been discussing the idea of switching to digital textbooks for years, but are they ready to completely switch over to digital media?  According to leading administrators in the Nov/Dec 2009 issue of Administr@tor, the answer is a resounding “No.”  William Habermehl, superintendent of the Orange County Department of Education in California, feels that his teachers need more training in the use of digital materials and students will need to have more access to the necessary equipment.  I agree with Habermehl’s statement that teacher training is a must and personally feel that professional training like I have had the opportunity to receive from DEN workshops, conferences, and institutes is the key to integrating digital media in the classroom.  I also agree with John Roach’s statement:  “I’m looking for a video in which an expert is giving the best lesson in the country on how to solve complex equations in algebra.  Meaning, I’m looking for something that is either the best tool for our classroom teachers or the best additional resource for the students.”  Roach, the superintendent of Carlsbad Unified School District in California, also stresses that access is imperative.  In fact, they are currently working through their community to make broadband available to all students.  With accessibility for all students and training for all teachers, digital media integration in the classroom can be a success story for all districts.

Digitally Speaking – Week Four: Educational Innovations in the Coming Decade

Monday, January 18th, 2010

In the February/March 2010 issue of Edutopia, subscribers were asked their predictions for educational innovations in 2010 and the coming decade.   Many stressed more emphasis on project-based learning would occur through partnerships, interships, and in-class experiences with members of the private sector.  It is projected that there will be a real push to hire highly qualified administrations and educators who can help students become proficient in the Web 2.0 tools that will be a necessity.  Students will be “at school” during family vacations, extended illnesses, etc. through their connections with others.  If you have not already considered attending a Discovery National Institution now is the time.  Collaboration and Web 2.0 tools are the norm for today’s DEN educators, not just the hope for the future.  Thanks, Discovery for keeping DEN members in the forefront of educational reform. 

Coming in March

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Captivate Students Through the Wonders of LIFE

Coming to Discovery Education streaming Plus in March
life.jpgLIFE is the definitive exploration of our planet’s living things and their spectacular and fascinating behaviors.  More than four years in the making, with over 3,000 days of filming in the field, and narrated by Oprah Winfrey, LIFE will take students to every continent and every habitat. Segmented into concept-level clips that focus on different animals and plant groups, LIFE captures never-before-seen behaviors using the latest in state-of-the-art high-definition filming techniques.

Titles include
•    Challenges of Life
•    Birds
•    Creatures of the Deep
•    Fish
•    Hunters and Hunted
•    Insects
•    Kingdom of Plants
•    Mammals
•    Primates
•    Reptiles & Amphibians

Excite Students’ Curiosity About the World Around Them
Available in Discovery Education streaming in March


PLANET EARTH, the recipient of 4 Emmy® Awards, including Best Non-Fiction Program. PLANET EARTH presents never-before-seen animal behaviors, startling views of location captured by cameras for the first time and an unprecedented look at Earth’s creatures from biological and ecological perspectives.  

Titles include
•    Pole to Pole
•    Mountains
•    Deep Ocean
•    Deserts
•    Ice Worlds
•    Shallow Sea
•    Great Plains
•    Jungles
•    Fresh Water
•    Seasonal Forests
•    Caves

Digitally Speaking – Week Three: E-Reading

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

from the article “e-Reading and e-Responding:  New Tools for the Next Generation of Readers” by Lotta C. Larson Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy / November 2009

Should the definition of text be updated?  The answer is a definite YES!  In an article entitled “The Changing Nature of Literacy in the Twenty-First Century,” J. Evans updated the definition of text to a communication that takes the form of something written down or a form of discourse such as conversation, text messaging, photos in newspapers, etc.  Whatever the definition, as library media specialists it is important that we “expand the types of texts students are exposed to and engaged with at school…”   While we may enjoy curling up with a good book and want our students to experience that same feeling, we must move toward new literacies instruction.  When reading e-books, students often find that the ability to annotate the text enables them to be more engaged with the text.  This engagement leads to better comprehension of the text.    Below I have included a list of e-reading resources that appeared in the article.


Children’s Books Online/The Rosetta Project:



Project Gutenberg:



Digitally Speaking – Week Two: YouTube

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

In a “perfect” world, all the videos on YouTube would be appropriate and teachers would have access to the site 24/7.  As we know, life isn’t perfect, but if you teach at one of the districts who allow access to YouTube, you may find Jennifer Hillner’s comments in Edutopia (Oct./Nov. 2009) helpful.  Hillner offers a “few ways to separate the wheat from the chaff.”

1.  Limit your searches to respected sources such as PBS.  Just search by the name of the organization and that organization’s channel will pop up.

2.  Check out the K-12 education group on YouTube –

3.  Go to teacher-specific sites such as and where thousands of videos have been collected for school use.

Digitally Speaking – Week One: Life Magazine Online Photo Archive

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

While catching up on my library/technology journals over Christmas, I made a resolution to share the knowledge I gained from these journals with library media specialists  around Arkansas.  So, for the next 52 weeks, I will talk about what I hope to be valuable snipets of information to those of us who spend our lives in the library. 

Life magazine and Getty Images have joined to provide to students and teachers alike thousands of pictures taken by Life‘s staff and freelancers who were some of the greatest photojournalists of the 20th century.  This collaborative effort has resulted in 900 thematic sets (galleries) of 12-20 photographs grouped by topics such as civil rights.  In a recent article in Edutopia (Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010), Owen Edwards encouraged teachers to use the units to teach about the use of primary sources and to strengthen students’ visual literacy skills.  According to Owens, “Such images have the power to imprint the meaning of the past on the montage of the present.”  The galleries can be found at

Friday, January 8th, 2010

DEN SCIcon 2010


Saturday, January 9, 2010
9 AM to 4 PM ET
Drop by for an hour or stay for the whole day!
It’s virtual and it’s FREE!
Register for the online sessions at:


Register for one of many in-person events hosted by our DEN Leadership Councils.  Click here to see the list of in-person events.

About DEN SCIcon

DEN SCIcon 2010 is an online conference (with a twist) focused on providing participants with some of the most effective strategies for transforming their science classes through the meaningful and effective integration of digital media content.  Join thousands of educators from around the world for an amazing day of professional development sessions, networking and sharing.

Download an informational flyer about DEN SCIcon to share with your colleagues.

Agenda (all times ET)

9 AM  
Change the Present, Change the Future
with Lance Rougeux

In our opening session we present our overarching theme for the day – change. 

Our students are leading the green revolution and sustainability is an engaging topic for every grade level and subject area.  In order to engage our students in the curriculum and prepare them to be agents of change in the future we need to constantly assess our instructional strategies and the resources we employ.  Help your students change the world every day by 3 o’clock using the digital tools they love.  Customized placemarks in Google Earth and digital posters with Glogster.  Virtual labs about alternative energy sources and digital storytelling projects with a green screen.  You’ll learn a new idea for every day of the week. 

Audience: General

9:50 AM
Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge

10 AM  
No Paper Left Behind: A New Age of Science Instruction
with Brad Fountain

Take your typical lesson and witness the power of a true multi-sensory teaching approach as we explore scienti?c concepts using a wealth of multimedia resources that engage students at the highest level.  You will never feel the same about science again, nor will you ever teach it the same way.

Audience: DE Science and DE streaming

10:50 AM
Discovery Education Wilkes University Master of Science Degree in Instructional Media

11 AM  
Hands-On Digital
with Patti Duncan

Science class is just not science class without hands on activities.  Getting “down and dirty” in the pursuit of knowledge can bring even the most reluctant student to the table.  Using digital media in conjunction with these activities can really make your lessons punch.  Computer simulations bring experiences not otherwise available to your students.  This session will show you the power of using simulations and interactives  to either introduce or reinforce the hands-on experience.  Tying it all together in a nice, neat package that all students will want to unwrap!

Audience: DE Science

11:50 AM
Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge

12 PM 
Polar Bears in a Changing Climate
featuring STAR Discovery Educator Julene Reed

Polar bears and their habitat are affected by climate change, as are many other species and environments around the world. Through Challenge Based Learning, students can become actively involved in authentic, scientific studies, creatively design solutions, and take action to make a difference both locally and globally. Join Julene Reed during this session to learn how the polar bears in the Hudson Bay area are being affected by climate change, how Challenge Based Learning can engage students in related activities that are based on 21st century education skills, and how the”Tundra Connections” program from Polar Bears International is providing educators and students with live videoconferencing and webcast opportunities with scientists on the tundra as well as curriculum resources to inspire action and make a difference.

About Julene
Julene Reed is the Director of Academic Technology at St. George’s Independent School in Collierville, TN.  Julene is a STAR Discovery Educator and Apple Distinguished Educator.  She also serves on the Advisory Councils for Dr. Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots and Polar Bears International. Her work with those organizations has taken her to Tanzania, to the subarctic in Canada, and to several European countries. Julene is the director of “Tundra Connections,” the educational initiatives for Polar Bears International which include online curriculum for the Apple Learning Interchange as well as live webcasts and videoconferences from the shores of the Hudson Bay where polar bear research is conducted in Manitoba.

Julene is actively involved with both global education and educational technology. She conducts keynote addresses, workshops, webinars, videoconferences, and other professional development training to educators, administrators, and service leaders internationally. Julene has authored educational content for Apple that is published on the Apple Learning Interchange as well as other educational publications. Julene received her Masters of Education in the area of Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Memphis and her Bachelor’s of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Kansas.

Audience: General

12:50 PM
3M Young Scientist Challenge

1 PM
Where Do Old Sneakers Go to Die?  Real-World Science
with Mike Bryant

Have your students ever asked you this question: “When am I going to use this in real life?”  In this session, we’ll provide the answer as we use digital resources to investigate the science of everyday life.

Audience: DE Science and DE streaming

1:50 PM
Fuel Our Future Now

2 PM 
Teaching Process Skills with the Mythbusters
with Patti Duncan

Does a goldfish’s memory last longer than three seconds?  Would a helium-filled football have more “hang time” than an air-filled ball?  Bring the Mythbusters into your classroom to find out.  In this session we’ll explore a variety of ways to teach process skills using video segments from the Mythbusters.

Audience: General

2:30 PM
Discovery Education’s STEM Connect and introducing the Siemen’s STEM Academy

3 PM  
Do Try This at Home: Fun, Easy and Effective Experiments for Your Students
with Mike Bryant and Brad Fountain

In our closing session we’ll stream out live to watch science in action as our DEN managers demonstrate several fun experiments that you can do with your students.

Audience: General

Register today at:

originally posted on DEN blog