First, some history, then the breakthrough. More than 13 years ago, with the appropriately digital birthday 01/01/01, the online digital revolution moved confidently into educational resources. The digital media library which grew into Discovery Education Streaming offered content teachers had been using on VCR’s, audio cassettes, film strips or film. Bandwidth was minuscule back then and not every school even had the Internet. The notion of showing segments instead of whole videos–so obvious now—was far from standard practice back then. It was a key instructional benefit of digital over analog. So was content creation. More than half the country’s classrooms would eventually get the groundbreaking service.
National studies showed districts that effectively adopted digital materials with professional development showed increases in student achievement. And there was a wonderful unintended consequence—the teachers! It turned out teachers who adopted digital content were characteristically inventive risk takers and boundary-pushers for their students. The DEN or Discovery Educator Network, was created for and from them.
None of the early DEN members had worked with digital media when they were K-12 students. This was bold new territory for them. But now, 13 years later, many of their former students, digital media users throughout K-12, are now in higher-ed clamoring for the same learning assets they had in K-12.
Finally, there is a way to give these students what they want and need. First, a digital resource for higher education has been built: Discovery Education Higher Ed. A blend of a techbook and a digital media library, it has the interactives, like the atlas, alongside more than 85,000 assets grouped by discipline, courses, and learning objective– all appropriate for 100-level college coursework.
Second, and very significantly, Blackboard, the creators of the biggest Learning Management System (LMS) in higher education, has integrated higher education content into their LMS. That means content trees can be built within the LMS– which works well with course content. In the LMS, it can be integrated with resources from other publishers. It is fantastic for college students who need supplements to their basic learning resources. And for the faculty, it means dependable links within their LMS. While in K-12, I also served on college faculties teaching technology in education for teacher candidates. This digital resource would have saved me a colossal amount of time. It models a digital media library and digital techbook for schools of education, which means an undergraduate in a school of education could use it to practice building lessons with both an LMS and a digital media curriculum resources. Many of those assets are downloadable—which is huge. It means content creation can modeled, used for unit lessons, or built into student project building.
If you know someone in higher education looking for a digital resource or a school of education that would benefit from working with a digital resource, inform them it’s finally here and have them check out the free trial at http://bbbb.blackboard.com/discoveryhighered. And if you know a professor or college that could use an ‘upgrade’ this is a nice digital nudge. Note: During the trial period, the download button is turned off, but it won’t effect the power of the walk-through.