What do you think it means to introduce a digital curriculum into the classroom? Many people feel that simply making tablets or computers available for students to use is enough when it comes to using digital resources for learning. It’s true that computer and Internet accessibility is vitally important to students. However, to truly see the benefits of a digital classroom, these elements must be integrated into the overall teaching and learning process. Teachers and students must work together to bring out the most education technology has to offer, including digital content. Recently, Discovery Education was honored to partner with a trailblazing Illinois school district to demonstrate how creative use of digital resources can transform the way students learn.
Just outside of Chicago, School District 62 in Des Plaines, IL has put this model of digital content and learning to the test. Partnering with Discovery Education, this small and diverse school district, comprised entirely of grades K-8, introduced Streaming Plus video content into their lesson plans and watched as the students responded and thrived under the new curriculum. Utilizing video content and other tools and resources available via tablet and laptop, District 62 teachers were able to dive deeper into topics and provide students a more in-depth understanding of the material.
According to their website, “District 62 is working with Discovery Education as part of a national effort to develop and model teaching through digital content. The goal is to bring new teaching strategies to life, practice and adapt them to enhance student learning. Discovery Ed recorded some of our classrooms and teachers to highlight our work. This exciting project showcases our schools, teachers and students for districts across the country!”
This partnership is not District 62’s first steps toward revolutionizing approaches to teaching and learning for their students. The District features its own non-profit, The District 62 Education Foundation, which raises money each year to fund education gifts and grants for specialized learning programs. This year, more than $30,000 in grants were distributed to 40 unique programs throughout the district.
The grant-winning programs include educational field trips, technology upgrades, athletics, and programs aimed at enhancing the learning experience for special needs students. Some of the grant projects focus on music and arts enrichment, such as a world music class devoted to learning about the importance of music to cultures around the globe, while another international music class features African drums. One grant recipient will focus on CHIP robotics and engineering, while others raise awareness around the need to keep children active. This includes a program that will test the use of standing desks for students who may need to burn energy and remain as active as possible throughout the school day.
Rather than relying on the traditional techniques, each of these unique programs demonstrates the commitment of District 62 teachers and administrators to developing a dynamic approach to learning for students. By providing these new opportunities for students interested in a diverse array of subjects, District 62 educators are using the same creative approaches encouraged by Discovery Education digital learning materials.
The Streaming Plus partnership is just the latest way that District 62 is revitalizing K-8 education, and comes at a time when we cannot afford to fall behind. As Kelly Krueger, principal of Central Elementary School in District 62 points out, using digital learning tools are vital to the student experience because kids today are growing up in a digital world. She says, “The teachers are very dedicated, and every decision that we make is based on what’s best for students. And it’s so important to integrate digital resources, because that is the world that our students are living in now, and that they’re going to be living in in the future.”
Another District 62 educator claims providing students with hands-on access to digital tools also makes them excited about the material, which helps them better absorb and retain the information. “They are so excited to log in themselves and be able to have their own page, where they can save their own content, create their own boards, and find the teacher’s assignments.” Special education teachers also praise the Streaming Plus material as having a real impact on how their students are learning.
Interested in learning more about how District 62 is using digital to enhance how students think about content they see, use and experience in the world around them?
View more partner success stories like this one: DiscoveryEducation.com/Success