(NEW YORK) – The Siemens Foundation, Discovery Communications and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) have joined together to inspire student achievement in sustainability through a comprehensive education initiative, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. Announced today, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is an unprecedented partnership between three industry leading organizations that are committed to educating, empowering and engaging students, teachers and communities in environmental sustainability.

Kicking off the 2008 school year in September, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge is the first and only national K-12 sustainability education initiative aligned to state education standards and uniquely tailored to match students’ growing comprehension abilities throughout their school-aged years. By partnering with Discovery Education, a division of Discovery Communications, which provides scientifically proven, standards-based digital media tools and resources to classrooms nationwide, and the NSTA, the largest science teacher organization in the world dedicated to improving science education and increasing student learning by engaging all teachers of science, the Siemens Foundation will serve as a pioneer in recognizing sustainability efforts within the K-12 education system.

“As a leader in environmentally relevant businesses, Siemens knows the answers to tomorrow’s critical environmental questions are in the minds of today’s students,” said James Whaley, President, Siemens Foundation. “Uniting with Discovery Education and NSTA complements Siemens’ commitment to the future and to those who are going to create it. We look forward to unleashing this tremendous reservoir of potential through the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge.”

“Education and the environment have always been part of Discovery’s core mission and we are proud to be a partner in encouraging students to learn about and create sustainable solutions through the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications.

“The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge will engage science teachers and allow students the opportunity to think like scientists, learn more about key environmental issues, and to develop critical-thinking skills that will help them to make informed decisions regarding stewardship of the planet,” said Dr. Gerry Wheeler, Executive Director, NSTA.

Designed to equip students in every grade level with the tools and inspiration to develop innovative green solutions for schools, homes and communities, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge will transform participants into active citizens for a greener tomorrow. The program begins by helping young students understand the basic concepts of sustainability and why it’s important to protect the environment. At each subsequent stage, the concepts expand to engage students beyond their classrooms, into their communities and to the global world.

K-2: My Classroom: Introduce students to the importance of “being green” and provide opportunities for active learning and engagement.
3-5: My School: Inspire students to think beyond their classroom — using science and math skills to take their school “green.”
6-8: My Community: Empower students with tools to apply the Scientific Method to real-world “green issues” in their local communities.
9-12: My World: Connect students with real-world scientists as they tackle today’s “green challenges” — moving from insight to global action.

In September, the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge launches with a national middle school competition where teams of students will identify an environmental problem in their community and will research and recommend a reproducible environmental improvement program. Teams will then provide an explanation about how other communities across the country can launch similar environmental improvement programs.

The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge will expand to kindergarten and elementary school students in 2009 and to high school students in 2010, complete with standards-based lesson plans and teacher materials, student projects and prizing to foster learning, team work and problem solving around sustainability.

For more information about the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, visit http://www.wecanchangetheworldchallenge.com.

About the Siemens Foundation
The Siemens Foundation provides over $4.5 million towards science, technology, and engineering and math initiatives annually. Its signature programs, the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology and the Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement, reward exceptional achievement in science, math and technology. By supporting outstanding students today, and recognizing the teachers and schools that inspire their excellence, the Foundation helps nurture tomorrow’s scientists and engineers. The Foundation’s mission is based on the culture of innovation, research and educational support that is the hallmark of Siemens’ U.S. operating companies and its parent company, Siemens AG. For more information, visit www.siemens-foundation.org.

About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications is the world’s number-one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion cumulative subscribers in over 170 countries. Discovery empowers people to explore their world and satisfy their curiosity through 100-plus worldwide networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science Channel, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery and HD Theater, as well as leading consumer and educational products and services, and a diversified portfolio of digital media services including HowStuffWorks. Discovery Communications is owned by Discovery Holding Company (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB), Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, Discovery’s founder and chairman. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.

About the National Science Teachers Association
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is the largest organization in the world dedicated to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA works to improve science education and increase student learning by providing resources and training that support and enhance quality teaching. The Association advocates for the importance of science and science learning and works to enhance science education through research-based policy and practice. NSTA’s current membership includes more than 57,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education. For more information, please visit www.nsta.org.

DEN Leadership Council Institute DE streaming & Google Earth


Having a blast at the Discovery Educator Network LC Institute. Quick post today to get my keynote up and out to the group. The images, movie and sound do not work, but you’re more than likely looking for the embed codes anyway. View the slideshare below or click on the link, DEN Leadership Council Institute DE streaming & Google Earth, to download the ppt. Remember the Quicktime embed only works for macs right now. :(

Easily Annotate your Discovery Education streaming videos

Think VH1’s “Pop-up Video”. I’ve come across two sites recently that allow you to upload, then annotate you’re own video. I’m sure by week end there’ll be 50 – 60 more, that’ll offer a similar service, but will stick with these two for now.

  1. YouTube: I know you shuddered, hear me out.
  2. Graspr: Relatively new and probably not blocked.

YouTube.com: (If YouTube is blocked scroll down to the next section)

If you don’t have an account, create one it’s free. Despite what you may have heard, there are actually educational videos on YouTube. Curious about RSS, here’s an explanation from our friends at CommonCraft. See, although your head may be spinning, you learned something.

YouTube recently added the ability to annotate videos. Add speech bubbles, notes and spotlights at the points you pick in a video. Check out my example by clicking here.

To make this example, I simply downloaded a video segment from the Discovery Channel series “When We Left Earth”, available through Discovery Education streaming. I uploaded the segment to YouTube. For this example, since this quick preview segement from the series appears publicly on the Discovery.com website, I choose the the broadcast option of making this segment open to the world. Videos you upload will need to be made private, viewable only by those with a license to Discovery Education streaming.

Once my video was uploaded, I was able to click on the “Add/Edit Video Annotations” button in the top right. There are a few tutorials right on the page, but with a mouse click you be able to add annotations at any point in the video. Play around with it and let me know what you think.

Graspr.com: (New on the block and a different way to annotate).

Like YouTube, create an account, it’s also free. Graspr looks to build a video sharing community around instructional content, a lot of tutorials and how-tos. They aren’t flashy. Not a lot of ads. A relatively small community. I not for the whole annotation component I would have never gone back. I like the way clicking on a note takes you to that point in the video segment.

Again I’ve used the before mentioned segment from Discovery Channel’s “When We left Earth”. I downloaded the segment as before from Discovery Education streaming and uploaded it to Graspr. I choose to make this video public, as I discussed above, however you will need to make any video downloaded from Discovery Education streaming private. Check out the example here.

I added notes to the video, that if clicked on will take you right to that spot in the video. A little different than YouTube’s vision, but I like it. It feels a little less complicated.

I see both services being used as home extensions; a way to get the exact message and content across to a student home sick or that needs to catch-up. These could also used if you have stations set-up in your classroom. YouTube will more than likely be blocked at your school, so Graspr may work best for you. I’d love to hear what you think about these two ways to annotate your videos and invite you to share any sites you know of that do something similar. Add your comments below.

Amazing Tool for Educators!!

Look above. No! Really! It is an amazing tool. We often get caught up in the latest and greatest: hey did you checkout Reproba? Reproba can grade essay questions for you. ;) We tend to forget why we’re using some of these tools or we get lost in a sea of apps and web2.0 sites. I’m not saying cool apps and web2.0 sites can’t be useful. I’m just asking you to take a deep breath, turn off your computer, grab a trusted pen and put it to paper. Your experience, whether right out of college or a 20+ year veteran, is what will help make a connection with your students.

Great lessons start here - In your head. Write down your lesson ideas. Get a clear and concise view of what you want to convey in a lesson before you go to the computer. Once you have a clear vision, then you’ll be able to pick the best tool/app/media to help convey your message to your class. So, grab a pen and pad. Head outside, find that comfy spot on your sofa or jet over to Starbucks for some brain juice and let the ideas flow.