Welcome to the first in a series of upcoming webinars, blog posts, and livestreams as we drop-in on Discovery Education classrooms to see Discovery Education in Action. Last month we had the opportunity to visit Danielle Williams’s class in Willmington, NC. Here’s what she had to say.
B.S. Geology- Radford University, M.A. Teaching Secondary Science Ed. – UNCW
Teacher – E.A. Laney High School
9th Grade Earth/Environmental Science
How did you find yourself in teaching?
I started out in education as a naturalist educator for outdoor environmental education centers throughout the country. As a naturalist educator, I had the opportunity to teach inquiry based and hands-on science lessons. At the same time, I lead team building activities that challenged students to think not only about themselves, but others around them. Collectively, my experiences in environmental education inspired me to seek a career in secondary education.
What is your favorite thing about Science TB?
In a nutshell, my favorite thing about the Science TB that it’s an all-in-one, innovative resource that allows me to show students just how amazing science is. I can spark curiosity with explorations and bring concepts to life with videos. I can also challenge students to think like scientists through inquiry with the digital text and practice problem solving with constructed writing responses; lastly I can combine creativity and science with student boards. On top of all of that, the all-in-one feature allows me to create and analyze assessments to determine what students are learning.
How has using Science TB changed your opinion of your role as the teacher?
Prior to using TB, I had the idea that students needed to get core content straight from my mouth. That I needed to be in front of the class, providing lectures with accompanying hands-on activities. I actually didn’t like the idea of using technology in the classroom and I wanted my students to be outside as much as possible doing hands-on activities. However, I quickly realized that student engagement wasn’t where I wanted it to be. I wanted students to be excited as they learned core content and not just during hands-on labs. This is around the time, I found out about and started using TB.
As soon as I started using TB, I felt like someone had someone had removed the four walls of my classrooms. I now see my role as more of an educational designer and facilitator. I know exactly what content students need in order to master a concept. So, as an educational designer, I use that knowledge and my creativity to combine resources in a way that effectively communicates content to students. As the facilitator, I can now introduce the content to the students and allow them to take charge of learning it. As students are working independently, I can move around and talk teach to each student, build relationships, answer questions from super inquisitive students, and clear up any confusion from students that may be struggling. The focus has now shifted from me lecturing in the front of the entire class to facilitating an environment with increased one-on-one or small group interaction.
Take a look into Danielle’s class
See how her students are independently learning using Board Builder and the Science Techbook (classroom drop-in starts at 4:00).