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5 Principles of a Successful Digital Transition

All across the country, school districts are adapting to digital curriculum to give their students the competitive edge they will need once they leave the classroom. Making this transition to digital learning can be fraught with fresh challenges, but there are a few best practices that will help newcomers navigate their way to success.

Here are five principles to help guide your digital transition.

1. Good instruction trumps everything.

A great number of digital transitions get derailed when they are solely focused on devices. If you begin with the supposition that good instruction drives meaningful change, form will rightfully follow function.

2. Students and teachers need help navigating the oceans of digital content.

Content that engages students online must be deemed a priority since a significant amount of available content is superficial and dependent on sources that can’t be easily verified.

When it comes to digital content it’s usually feast or famine. There’s either too much for students to meaningfully interpret or not enough of the right type of content. This is where districts turn to trusted services to vet and organize content for them. Getting the content aligned with district curriculum also saves teachers a little bit of their most precious commodity: time.

3. Effective digital transitions are thoughtfully planned, executed, and measured.

The success of a digital transition is directly related to the clarity of its goals and vision, the sustainability of its plans, and the thoroughness of its reporting measures.

Presenting a clear and detailed explanation to all stakeholders of the educational goals behind a digital transition should be your first priority. It is also important to acknowledge that new methodology may initially impact workload.

What’s needed most is a realistic approach that employs reporting measures that reflect how predetermined educational targets are being met. For the short term feedback (that is essential to win funding), plan on collecting anecdotal reports that show early success.

4. People will only buy into a change they believe adds value.

Teachers and parents alike want to understand why their school has opted to refocus classroom instruction to take advantage of technology. Visit schools or search the web for stories of successful digital implementation to show the benefits of a digital transition.

5. Digital transition is a major culture shift. Ignore this at your own peril.

Digital transition is about the people involved more than the technology. Schools and districts that ignore this often wonder why their expensive tech investment collects dust in most classrooms or is used for occasional entertainment.

Take the time up front to help teachers learn the expected instructional change. The first year of a successful tech rollout should include demonstration classrooms that allow other teachers, parents, and community members to see the change expected, while teachers have access to the anticipated technology. This ensures that year two, which may include wider scale transition, is built on a firm foundation of in-district experience.

This type of attention to the human-cultural aspects of digital transition dramatically increases the likelihood of an instructional return on investment.


With over 26 years experience as an educator, Marty Creel leads Discovery Education’s innovative curriculum and instruction team. Marty began his career as an engaging social studies teacher known for creative use of technology to deepen learning. As a district-wide curriculum, instruction, and professional development leader in a large urban/suburban school system he was the architect for a thoughtful transition to instructional standards that empower teachers and principals as instructional leaders.

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Helping Students Search for Truth in an Era of ‘Fake News’

“What is true and what is false?”

This reads like a driving question for a unit of study in social studies. But in the current political climate, many people are asking this question in their daily lives.

Fake news — the deliberate spread of misinformation or hoaxes across various media — is meant to mislead readers in order to gain financially, politically, or otherwise. The furor surrounding fake news has resulted in heightened skepticism of reports from the news media, and an escape route for those who struggle to accept the authenticity of information that does not align with their beliefs on important, divisive issues.

A recent report concluded that students may be among the most susceptible to the influx of false statements and the manipulation of facts. In a 2016 study by the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), researchers found that youth have a hard time telling the difference between objective and sponsored online content. Young people are also susceptible to bias when politicians and organizations post messages on social media.

“Many people assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally perceptive about what they find there,” said Professor Sam Wineburg, author of the report and founder of SHEG. “Our work shows the opposite to be true.”

Searching for truth in an era of fake news needs to be a priority in education. This is not the responsibility of the social studies teacher or the English department alone. Every discipline should teach “media literacy,” defined by Heidi Hayes Jacobs as being able to “develop critical and creative capabilities to both receive and assess the quality of messages from all forms of media, and to generate and create quality media of their own.” This includes understanding that any communication has a purpose and an audience in mind.

Media literacy also addresses how people may leverage specific strategies to entertain, inform, or persuade in a variety of media.

There are specific strategies and skills educators can foster in students to ensure they develop a more nuanced and deeper understanding of the information available before forming their own opinions. Here are just a few:

1. Curate reliable feeds of information

Taking one person’s word as truth on any complex issue may lead to misinformation and misconceptions. Teachers can combat this by modeling for students how to create a reliable list of individuals and groups on social media. For example, a teacher can maintain a classroom Facebook page or Twitter account. The teacher would demonstrate how to evaluate who they might follow, discuss why they would read their posts, and ensure multiple perspectives are considered. Older students can be taught to maintain their own information feeds using digital curation tools such as Feedly and Flipboard.

2. Understand how people are persuaded

Merriam-Webster defines “fact” as “a piece of information presented as having objective reality”. This would be a good entry point for a study of what makes for effective persuasive writing. Connections with media literacy can be made by studying the techniques advertisers use. The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and International Literacy Association (ILA) offer many teacher resources on this topic at ReadWriteThink.

3. Teach search strategies

Google’s revenue source comes primarily from businesses and organizations that want to have their websites on the first page for key search results. Using search engines designed for students, such as Sweet Search, will help ensure results are objective and appropriate. Students should also be taught how to use features within the advanced option for Google searches when doing research for a class project.

4. Create content for an audience

In the search for truth, everyone can have a voice with the advent of the Internet and digital applications. Students need opportunities to apply their media literacy skills in new contexts. Teachers can use creation tools, such as  learning management systems, or LMSs, provide safe online spaces for students to interact with peers.  Students can post their work and their ideas for feedback. Their finished products, which may include a mix of audio, images, and video in addition to text, can be published on a blog, website, or video channel.

Old Challenges, New Strategies

Dealing with fake news is not a new phenomenon. Mathew Ingram of Fortune Magazine points out that historical figures such as John Adams and Benjamin Franklin wrestled with these very same issues. The good news, Ingram reports, is that “we arguably have much better tools to fight it than we have ever had before.” Social media and content development tools, along with the right strategies, put every student in better control of what they consume and create.

 

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3 Ways ESSA Gets Computer Science Education Right

If you’re an educator, you’re probably already familiar with The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). But questions abound regarding the status of this federal renewal of the No Child Left Behind Act. What education programs will or will not lose funding, and to what degree? Will more federal dollars be allocated for vouchers and school choice? How will these changes improve student outcomes?

The answers to some of these questions could take years, but some should begin emanating from Washington shortly, as federal budget deliberations proceed. However, one tenet of ESSA’s guidelines is unlikely to waver — an enhanced focus on computer science.

Since its inception in 2015, ESSA has signaled a shift in authority regarding educational programming from the federal to the state level. In addition to this increase in autonomy, there are now more consistent expectations for all U.S. students regarding computer science instruction in schools. Its instruction is no longer viewed as an elective.

Computer science was included with other core subjects, such as writing, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in ESSA’s definition of a “well-rounded education.”

Computer science instruction has become an essential part of the core curriculum for many school districts, and with the ESSA’s urging, many others will begin ramping up efforts to get students ahead of a massive projected  job shortage. This shortfall had already presented itself as of 2015, according to the National Center for Education Statistics:

Here are three things the ESSA gets right with its approach to computer science education:

1. Increases Access to Digital Resources

President Obama allocated $4 billion to states to increase access to computer science coursework . Called the “Computer Science for All” plan, this financial commitment supports the ESSA requirement that all students receive high-quality instruction in order to be college and career ready.

A number of partnerships between organizations have been fostered to support this initiative. For example, the National Science Foundation has collaborated with the Department of Defense to develop an effective computer science curriculum for children of military families. These students may frequently move due to one or both parents’ assignments. Having a reliable computer science curriculum will help to ensure that educators working with military families can provide high-quality instruction wherever the families may go.

2. Encourages a More Integrated Approach to Computer Science

Teaching technology in isolation can decrease the relevance of the knowledge and skills gained. Students may fail to make the connection between computer science and how it might be applied in the real world.

With ESSA, educators are expected to integrate computer science with many areas of instruction. For instance, the STEM subjects offer obvious opportunities for integration. Programming a robot to perform simple tasks can happen as early as elementary school. Older students can write code to create applications for gathering and sharing data about the environmental health of the planet. These efforts of citizen scientists make crowdsourcing through technology a necessary part of academic studies.

Integrating computer science can be just as important in the arts and humanities. As an example, graphic design is a skill regularly employed in advanced secondary courses such as journalism and business education. Most teachers, when they take a step back, will realize that computer science is already a tacit part of their curriculum and instruction. With a little forethought, entry points can be found or created to facilitate this integration at a deeper level.

3. Expects Student Learning Results with Increased Funding

The Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund makes ESSA dollars available for new instructional approaches. Awarded projects are expected to foster tangible, positive outcomes in student learning. Results matter as much as the efforts.

One example involves an Arizona State University program called CompuGirls. It aims to improve computer literacy for girls living in high-needs rural and urban areas. The focus of these efforts is to improve non-cognitive skills such as self-efficacy and resilience through computer-related coursework. Resources that are allocated through competitive ESSA programs such as i3 are based on measurable outcomes. This will help ensure funds are used effectively. The findings from these projects are to be shared widely with other educators.

Like any government policy, funding and guidance are only as effective as how well they are implemented at the classroom level. Teachers and students will need the resources, training, and support from building- and district-level leadership in order to make the federal promise of computer science for all a reality.

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Column: Managing and Leading Schools: Finding the Right Blend for Principals

I sat in the back of a second-grade classroom, watching students being offered a choice.

They could respond in two different ways to a text that the whole class had read — a folktale depicting a family’s annual tradition from another culture. Students could write a review of the story or create a how-to essay about an activity they are familiar with. Because the students’ choices were authentic, when they embarked on their writing, every one of them was engaged.

As the school’s principal, I regularly conduct formal observations like these. No matter how good the instruction is, I always try to look for possibilities for professional growth.

In this situation, one literacy choice stood out for its quality and meaningfulness: students could describe in writing their own family traditions. This activity was rife with possibilities. What if the teacher modeled for students the steps for successful memoir writing? Could she demonstrate with a personal family tradition of her own? How might this reading–writing experience connect with social studies and maybe even a deeper study into family traditions from around the world?

During this session, I briefly stopped documenting evidence of instruction and instead started jotting down these ideas and questions on a pad of paper. There was no reason to put this information in the teacher’s observation; I didn’t intend to make these recommendations without an initial conversation about how the teacher thought the lesson went. Our follow-up discussion would take place later that day. The formal observation became the impetus for a conversation about embedding better literacy practices throughout the school day.

This example conveys how important it is that principals have the necessary time, knowledge, and experiences to be the instructional leaders in their schools. It doesn’t happen by accident.

Ensuring that the principal is a constant, effective presence in school demands three essential strategies: identifying school priorities, making classroom visits a habit, and using these visits to guide future professional learning.

Management should not be separate from instructional leadership. They are inseparable and support one another.

The Truth Behind #NoOfficeDays

Old-school thinking when it came to building leadership was clear One could tick off a principal’s duties with the ABCs: attendance, behavior, classroom observations, discipline, evaluation of staff, etc.  Recently, these managerial tasks have been somewhat rejected by school leaders.

Principals are engaging in “no office days”, as evidenced by tweets of their experiences with the hashtag #noofficeday. Sometimes they will shadow a student for a day to gain a learner’s experience. Principals have even become a teacher for the day, giving one of their staff members the day to grade papers and plan for future instruction.

These efforts by building leaders to be more present and visible in their schools are admirable. I’ve tried it myself, participating in a day of independent reading to promote literacy. The reality, however, is that principals don’t get subs.

Unless a building administrator has an assistant principal, there is no one qualified to fill in for us. The less spectacular tasks that are relegated to the office will still be there when we get back. Staff are left covering for us. Making #noofficedays a habit could breed resentment with one group while we try to be more present for another.

I suggest a better approach for being an instructional leader in our schools while still addressing the day-to-day managerial tasks: Find the right blend. This means understanding the context of our school and what needs to get done on the office end, so we are a more consistent presence in the classrooms and on building grounds.

Every school has a unique mix of class size, diversity, climate, needs, and strengths. With this information, we can align our work with a few priorities. Finding the right blend also means scheduling our days so classroom visits are habit instead of an event. A smart integration of management and leadership duties can lead to improved teaching and learning. The following strategies can be applied to any school context.

1. Develop a Priority Plan

We can only focus on a few goals at any one time and still be successful as school leaders. In my school, I am new to the position. That means that building trust is a priority. I’ve done a lot of listening. I’ve asked staff about their thoughts and needs, and ensured I am visible throughout the school day. Our other priority is literacy, specifically around reading comprehension and fluency. The data was clear in this area. Our leadership team has responded with facilitating monthly professional development around authentic reading and writing experiences.

The idea of aligning our actions with our priorities into a plan comes from The Together Leader by Maia Heyck-Merlin. She defines a priority plan as, “a three-month extraction from your yearly goals that names what matters most for you and your team.” I look at my priority plan regularly as I prepare for upcoming work.

Having our priorities laid out and aligned with our goals and objectives accomplishes two things. First, the faculty are clear about what we will support regarding professional development opportunities and teaching resources. Second, it is easier to say no to requests that aren’t aligned with our priorities. It’s not a subjective or personal decision, but based on a clear rationale.

For example, I was recently asked why STEM is not a focus. The response: “It seems like that’s all education talks about.” I listened and then asked this person how literacy might support the STEM areas. We ended up agreeing that if students wanted to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, they had to be literate.

2. Make Classroom Visits a Habit

To ensure a school’s priorities are put into practice, school leaders must make classroom visits a habit. If we are successful in redistributing nonessential tasks to other personnel, this can happen every day. I put classroom visits on my calendar, which is shared with my assistant. The minimum is one hour per day, getting into every classroom for at least a brief time. Staff understand that this is protected time. Any interruptions should be an emergency. (I’ve learned that the term “emergency” also requires conversation to develop a common understanding.)

Being visible in the classrooms daily serves our dual priorities of building trust and increasing effective literacy instruction. To build trust, I make sure my visits are focused on teachers’ strengths, and that I let teachers know what I am noticing. The feedback can be given verbally or in writing. I ordered a stack of professional notepads with my name and school information. I will write down what I notice is going well and leave the note in the teacher’s classroom or mailbox. In addition, I will name the effective practice using common language we have learned together during our literacy-based professional development program.

Trust relies on open communication. This goes for the parents and community as well as the teachers and students. That is why I also use Twitter to post the excellent work happening in classrooms. My school tweets usually consist of a brief description, at least one image of the learning in action, and the hashtag #PointerNation so it shows up on our district’s social media feeds. Using the same process of noticing and naming, I can now recognize and celebrate teaching and learning around literacy in an open forum. An additional benefit is all this information can be archived digitally to document and organize artifacts for our professional evaluation systems.

3. Use Instructional Walks to Reinforce Professional Learning

As trust increases and literacy instruction improves, windows open in which I can start offering feedback about teacher instruction. During my regular classroom visits, I will sometimes sit in for a longer period to write a narrative of what is currently happening. It is noticing what is happening and then naming the practice. These one-page write-ups are referred to as “instructional walks,” in which “the principal notices what’s going well in the classroom—environment, management, engagement, level of student independence, lesson content, grouping arrangements, quality of student work,” writes Regie Routman.  Like the brief notes, the goal is to build on teachers’ strengths and create a relationship in which they are open to future guidance.

Because my walks are habit, I can address our collective instruction instead of conferencing with each teacher individually. The information gleaned from my daily visits is used to inform future professional learning experiences.

What if teachers are not applying the skills learned during professional development into practice? Certainly, I could note this during our formal observations for the state-mandated evaluation system. Yet I find the rubrics and evidence gathering to be limited at best—helpful for teachers in one or more areas, but unnecessary when teachers are already doing well. Formal observations and evaluations can even be detrimental to the daily classroom visit process. Trust can deteriorate when there is too much of a focus on ratings and rubrics. Also, evaluation systems are time-intensive. They used to monopolize my days, which is why I now do the bare minimum in this area.

Instead, as much as I can, I am a learner with staff and students. One way is by asking lots of questions. Whether during an instructional walk or formal observation, I will make inquiries about why teachers are doing what they are doing. For example, instead of leaving a vague, summative statement, such as “This was an effective activity, because…,” I might ask “What about this activity do you feel had the greatest impact on student learning?” Whether the learning experience was excellent or otherwise, the responsibility is now on the teacher to self-assess their instruction. Follow-up probes, such as “Why do you believe that? ,” guide teachers to cite evidence from their lessons to support their rationale.  My wonderings also happen during professional development. Instead of positioning myself as an expert, I might question a belief or a statement as if I were also teaching.

Management and Leadership are Not Mutually Exclusive

During the post-observation conversation with the 2nd grade teacher, I started by asking a series of questions, starting with “How do you think the lesson went?” and “Why do you think that?” Once we affirmed that the lesson was a success, I started to probe with wonderings to unpack what was possible for the future. “Of all the choices, which literacy activity might lead to future learning?” was the inquiry that led to a professional conversation about expanding on the family traditions writing activity. The teacher suggested a personal family tradition that she could use for a writing demonstration. I held off recommending that she tie in social studies with a deeper understanding of the concept of traditions. Knowing that my priorities were in place, that my classroom visits were a habit, and that I had a team to guide faculty in professional learning, I knew that I would have more opportunities in the future.

This is Matt’s seventeenth year in public education. He started as a 5th and 6th grade teacher in a country school outside of Wisconsin Rapids, WI. After seven years of teaching, he served as a dean of students at a junior high, which developed into an assistant principal position and eventually head principal at an elementary school. Now as an elementary principal for the Mineral Point Unified School District, Matt enjoys the curriculum, instruction and assessment side of education. You can also connect with Matt on Twitter at @ReadByExample and on his website at mattrenwick.com.

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Discovery Education and the Drug Enforcement Administration Name Madison, CT Teens Grand Prize $10,000 Winners of Operation Prevention Video Challenge PSA Communicating the Dangers of Opioid Misuse

Lauren DeNu, Discovery Education
240-662-5315, Lauren_Denu@discovery.com

Barbara Carreno, Drug Enforcement Administration
202-307-7977, Barbara.L.Carreno@usdoj.gov

-Madison, CT teens also received the People’s Choice Award and earned an exclusive tour of DEA Training in Quantico, Virginia–

Washington, D.C. and Silver Spring, MD (May 24, 2017) – Three Madison, CT high school students have a grand-prize winning video message for their teen peers about how not to let your life get “swallowed up by an opioid addiction.” The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), DEA Educational Foundation and Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, awarded Kyle Citrin, Clay Knibbs, and Carter Soboleski of Daniel Hand High School (Madison Public School District) the $10,000 Operation Prevention Video Challenge grand prize. The students also received the most votes during the People’s Choice award voting period, earning them a trip for an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of DEA training at the DEA’s Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia, for their video entitled “The Cork Board.”

For the first time, the Operation Prevention Video Challenge asked teenagers across the nation to submit 30-60 second public service video announcements to educate their peers about the current opioid epidemic. Kyle, Clay and Carter’s video focused on a powerful message of “being together and having fun” with those you cherish the most — family and friends —  instead of being pulled away by opioids. The PSA warns that opioids “dictate your actions,” and urged: “don’t let your life get swallowed up by an opioid addiction.  Get help.” 

“We must change the culture surrounding the use of dangerous drugs, and that requires all hands-on deck.  The best messengers of change for young adults are their peers.  The fine work created by Kyle, Clay, and Carter carries a powerful message – that opioid abuse hurts more than just the user,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “Congratulations to them; I’m grateful they lent their voice and creativity to this important cause.”

The winning video was chosen by a panel of judges at Discovery Education, the DEA and DEA Educational Foundation. The other winners include:

  • Second Place: Monet Massac of Brooklyn Friends School in Brooklyn, New York will receive $5,000 for the PSA video “The Twins.”
  • Third Place: Nate Trillo of Midlothian Heritage High School (Midlothian

School District) of Midlothian, TX will receive $1,000 for his video “Real Life.”

The scholarships awarded to the first, second and third place winners were provided courtesy of the DEA Educational Foundation.

The videos of the winners can all be viewed at: https://www.operationprevention.com/video-challenge.  The challenge is part of a joint nationwide education initiative titled Operation Prevention that educates students about the science behind addiction and its impact on the brain and body. Available at no cost, the initiative’s resources help promote lifesaving discussions in the home and classroom.

“The top 10 finalists should be very proud and congratulated for their incredible efforts and impressive videos,” said T.J. Salutari, Principal at Daniel Hand High School. “Students taking such a proactive part in communicating the dangers associated with opioid abuse is inspiring. I am especially proud of our students and their teacher as they have positively represented our entire school community.”

"Congratulations to the winners for creating these powerful videos and a big thank you to their schools and their families for supporting this inaugural project,” said Kevin Hartmann, President of the DEA Educational Foundation. "Our hope is that these amazing teenagers will continue to help us spread the important message about the dangers of opioid abuse." 

For more information, visit: https://www.operationprevention.com/

About the Drug Enforcement Administration
The mission of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States and bring to the criminal and civil justice system of the United States, or any other competent jurisdiction, those organizations and principal members of organizations, involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances appearing in or destined for illicit traffic in the United States; and to recommend and support non-enforcement programs aimed at reducing the availability of illicit controlled substances on the domestic and international markets.

About the DEA Educational Foundation
Established in 2001, the DEA Educational Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to preventing drug abuse. The foundation supports the DEA through advocacy, outreach, and educational programs.

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content and professional development for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

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Modern Learning in the Great Outdoors

In Rocky Mountain National Park, middle school students from St. Vrain Valley School District are sharing a trail with a mountain lion, bear cubs, a coyote, deer, and a skunk intent on spraying the area under cover of darkness.

How do the students know all of this? They’re reviewing videos they collected the previous night taken from cameras they mounted on trees. They got some tips about field science from the park rangers, and now they’re gathering wildlife data and providing it to the park themselves. Their counterparts in high school are contributing in the field, too, working with Ocean First Education. They recently watched divers in the Pacific measuring the length of great white sharks using a device they designed and developed themselves.

Across the country, at BioTECH @ Richmond Heights High School in Miami, science teacher Noelle Gerstman is guiding her students as they analyze the DNA of flamingo feathers. Students are working to determine whether flamingos found in the wild are, in fact, wild or are escapees from a local race track that is home to a flock in captivity. Meanwhile, their schoolmates are collaborating with NASA on the Growing Beyond Earth project, germinating leafy greens, kale, and tomatoes to determine which vegetables are the best to grow in microgravity aboard the International Space Station.

Honing Environmental Literacy

These students are lucky, but it shouldn’t take luck to provide amazing educational opportunities like this. Environmental literacy is a critical skill that all educators should help their students develop. It requires authentic, student-driven, hands-on challenges in which every learner can pursue or discover an interest.

The North American Association for Environmental Education defines an environmentally literate person as “someone who, both individually and together with others, makes informed decisions concerning the environment; is willing to act on these decisions to improve the well being of other individuals, societies, and the global environment; and participates in civic life.” The association goes further to define four areas of competency: knowledge, disposition, skills, and behaviors. In other words, it’s not enough to understand the facts. One must care about and interact with the environment in order to be considered environmentally literate.

In a school setting, it takes a focused dedication to create relevant and rigorous opportunities for students so they can build the skills required to be informed and engaged citizens. Some of the best ways to foster engagement include presenting authentic problems in the classroom, encouraging active solution-seeking, and providing a link between the classroom and the community.

Gerstman finds that it doesn’t take much to get students involved. At BioTECH, student awareness and interest drive the inquiry.

“The changes in sea level at Miami Beach just in the last 10 years, they’re evident: they’re raising the streets in Miami Beach,” she said. “So, the evidence of environmental change is really in our face. The students like to watch the Weather Channel, and a couple of them commented, ‘There’s been no snow in Chicago.’”

For students to be able to understand an authentic challenge, they need knowledge; to create a solution, they need skills; to act, they need to care and connect. An authentic challenge offers a cycle of influence: understanding, application, action. Academicians are used to transferring knowledge and skills, but it is more challenging to teach disposition and behavior. In fact, it may be impossible to teach those concepts directly. However, students who can seize on opportunities for real collaboration and connection soon develop in these areas.

No Walls, No Limits

That’s what is happening with St. Vrain Valley School District’s students in Rocky Mountain National Park. Right alongside the students practicing field science is a group of students more interested in documentation. While one group of students affix cameras to trees and another downloads and analyzes the data, yet another group is documenting the whole endeavor on film, while still others are documenting the documentarians.

The benefits are broad: students gain experience with field science, the communication of scientific ideas, the process of documentation, and collaboration with fellow scientists.

“Learning takes on a whole different realm,” said Mike O’Toole, St. Vrain’s science coordinator. “They’re learning about film making and other 21st-century skills that have become so vital.”

The film documenting their work, “Plains to the Park,” was entirely scripted, narrated, filmed, and edited by middle school students. The final version is virtually indistinguishable from a federal park production, including voice-over narration and professional-looking clips of sweeping blue skies and babbling mountain streams.

Meanwhile in Florida, BioTECH’s high school students are listening to scientists and learning about ongoing mysteries at Zoo Miami. They’ve talked to scientists there and learned that, for some animals, reproductive rates are low. Using background knowledge they gained in the classroom about hormones, the students propose looking at the hormone levels of the animals to see if there are any imbalances that may account for the reproductive pattern. This is an opportunity to learn in the field while addressing a real, unsolved, scientific mystery and, potentially, make a valuable contribution to science at the zoo.

Environmental literacy applies across the STEM spectrum, including projects that require technology, engineering, and math skills. For instance, O’Toole has partnered with Ocean First Education to support divers studying great white sharks. The student contribution to the deep-water dive in the Pacific is a laser-based measurement tool that allows the divers to measure the sharks in motion with a high degree of accuracy. O’Toole, who supports the efforts of science teachers across his district, focuses on creating partnerships with organizations like Ocean First Education and NASA to find rich learning opportunities for students.

So, how is this possible in a district or a school that hasn’t been designed for these types of partnerships and programs? After all, they take funding, time, and intense collaboration with the scientific community.

Starting Small, Dreaming  Big

“It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It’s just getting students outside,” he said. “Right now, we’re really focusing on using technology to get students invested in the outdoors.”

In St. Vrain schools, teachers use their schoolyards to begin studying outside. They use a math scavenger hunt in which students are challenged to find examples of math concepts in nature. Elementary school students, each given a camera or tablet, head outside to find something in nature that’s circular or parallel. Or, a teacher might use his or her own interest, such as hiking or gardening, as a jumping-off point and contact a scientist in the community to seek a collaborative opportunity.

Gerstman agrees that you can start locally, with a university partner, for example, but she is convinced that to truly maximize environmental literacy programs, educators need a deep commitment at the federal level in the form of funding. The grant proposal for BioTECH was written by a team of teachers and scientists with the express purpose of funding this biology and botany magnet school. The school has its own analytical chemistry lab, a zoology lab, and a DNA lab and is staffed with veteran teachers, most with advanced degrees in their field.

Even if you’re starting small, with a purposeful use of technology, scientists and students can share and collaborate online. O’Toole regularly uses technology to connect students around the world. He’s invited classrooms in Colorado and Tanzania to connect through a learning expedition at Mount Kilimanjaro, and he shares the excursions online so students everywhere can follow along. During the Discovery Education Virtual Field Trip to Kilimanjaro, students all over the world sported safari gear at school and joined in virtually as the group reached the summit.  Online watch parties, chats, conferences, and social media exchanges are all good ways to expand the impact of environmental projects.

Some contests and challenges are also good for developing environmental literacy and may result in collaborations between students and scientists. Contests with authentic challenges require students to meet all four competency areas: they must learn about the problem, care about it, have or acquire skills to address it, and act.

Discovery Education’s Young Scientist Challenge is an example of this type of challenge. Participating students propose solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, underscoring in the process that humans are affected by and can affect the environment. Finalists have the opportunity to work with scientists from 3M to participate in authentic scientific process and prototyping, including the presentation of results and proposals.

Fostering Citizen Scientists

With all the potential for partnerships and global connection, the most important ingredient in the development of environmental literacy seems to be a dedication to creating opportunities for real scientific learning and impact to occur.

Educators must provide experiences that allow students to develop knowledge and empathy in order to stretch toward a concern for the world and a sense of agency about their part in it. Only then can all the necessary components sync toward environmental literacy.

After all, environmental literacy isn’t a check mark on a mastery list for children or adults. Rather, it is an evolving competency. In our changing world, educators must continue to be involved and informed citizens, preparing the next generation to carry the torch forward.

Jeanette Edelstein is an educator dedicated to making learning more engaging for students of all ages. She has been a classroom teacher, curriculum designer, and program developer. She was a founding teacher and the gifted and talented coordinator at Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts. Her curriculum projects include Hive Alive!, a collection of teaching resources about honey bees, Animal Planet Rescue, a disaster relief and educational vehicle that rescued over 1,000 animals, and CapsinSchool, an elementary curriculum based on the math and science of hockey.

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Navigating Controversial Topics in Middle School Classrooms

Lately it seems as if every major issue in the country is dividing citizens. From the recent presidential election to debates about fake news, immigration, and health care, citizens are split on their positions. While having a divide isn’t unusual, the gulf between those who are pro and con seems wider than ever before.

This is not just a feeling. A Gallup poll from late 2016 proved it: Nearly 80 percent of Americans perceived the country as divided, topping the previous high of 69 percent in 2012. It seems the only thing Americans can agree on is that we don’t agree.

For middle school teachers hoping to introduce sensitive issues to students, this divisiveness can be daunting. And yet, the exercise has never been more important.

“We need to show kids how to talk about controversial things the right way,” says Larry Lhulier, the supervisor of curriculum, instruction, and technology at New Jersey’s Wildwood Crest Memorial School. Teaching students the skills to debate sensitive issues while still respecting others’ opinions is the best way to counteract the current corrosive debate, he adds.

“What we’re trying to do is prepare young people to participate in democracies,” says Diana Hess, the dean of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s School of Education.

Hess visited middle school classrooms and studied their debates to research her 2009 book, Controversy in the Classroom: The Democratic Power of Discussion.

The benefit of having these discussions in middle school is that many children haven’t formed a solid opinion about most subjects, she adds. “I like teaching in classes where there’s a range of views and where people were not set [in their opinions]. It’s the puzzle of trying to figure something out.”

Teacher Tips

Rich Young says a teacher’s first move should be to communicate to parents, students, and the school’s administration any controversial materials chosen for the classroom, such as a movie or book. Explain why the resource is needed, how it will be used, and include class protocols for discussing current events. Young, currently the project director for Teaching American History at the Education Cooperative, was previously the social studies curriculum coordinator in Brookline, Mass.

“You can explore any topic, and if done right, you shouldn’t have any issues,” adds Lhulier. He and others advise teachers to keep their personal opinions out of each debate, but be ready to step in and play devil’s advocate if an entire classroom slants in one direction.

“I have strong views,” Lhulier adds. “I reserve them for home with my wife. The kids didn’t know where I stood on any of the issues we discussed.”

Young points out that classroom debates about the Second Amendment took on different tones when he taught in southern Indiana, where a majority of boys were active hunters, and when he was in Massachusetts, where most students were anti-gun. In both cases he would bring up counter arguments to make sure students had thought through all the issues in this complicated topic.

“Teachers who are really good do a good job of bringing in multiple perspectives,” Hess says. Her studies showed that more and more classrooms are breaking down along “red” and “blue” designations depending on where they are based. “We’re more politically polarized, and students are more likely to live in communities that agree with them.”

Push Past Stereotypes

It’s important to make conversations specific and evidence-based, Lhulier says. In this polarized political atmosphere, students can repeat negative stereotypes, unfairly labeling classmates and impeding classroom debates. Don’t let students equate someone’s conservative beliefs with racism, or someone’s liberal beliefs with not supporting the police, Lhulier adds.

“My experience is kids are really open,” Lhulier says. “A good teacher gets kids to think about their perspective in a nonjudgmental way.”

In Wildwood, the New Jersey shore community includes wealthy hotel owners and the families of people who work in the hotels, Lhulier says, offering a rich, socioeconomic diversity.

“Kids get excited about seeing something in a different way,” he says, adding that he considers it a success when a student ends up saying, “I get it. I see how that person would react in a certain way.”

Teachers have to be ready to rein in conversations, especially when students start to share personal details that shouldn’t be public, he says. “Kids are thinking out loud; they don’t have the filters that adults have.”

How you treat a student’s experiences depends on the student, Lhulier says. One golden rule is to “never make a student be an unwilling spokesperson for a topic. On the other hand, I never silence a child who wants to be a spokesperson for a topic.”

Encourage Simulations

At the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, simulations avoid the problems Lhulier mentions. The Boston institute, which includes a near-exact replica of the Senate floor, tasks students with arguing over bills that have been passed in the U.S. Senate—but with a twist. The institute assigns students to portray various senators. So as students dig into the immigration bill, they may represent a conservative senator from a border state or a liberal senator from the northeast. Since the institute opened in 2015, more than 30,000 students from middle school to college have come through its doors.

“It sets students back from their gut reactions and sets the ground rules,” says Kennedy Institute president Jean MacCormack. The simulations include giving students expert testimony to help inform them to reach a consensus. For instance, in the case of the immigration bill, students are told about H-1B visas that allow workers with special skills to enter the country to work for U.S. companies.

“Coming to a compromise is not an easy thing,” she says. “They have to choose between their own opinions, their party’s opinions, and constituent opinions.” Students who don’t agree with their assigned role frequently ask what would happen if they bucked their party or constituents, MacCormack says. “You may not get reelected.”

While sitting in a U.S. Senate replica adds to the drama of debate, MacCormack says the institute has taken its debates on the road, bringing the simulations to Mississippi and Martha’s Vineyard. While Senator Kennedy was unabashedly Democratic, the institute works with staffers from both Republican and Democratic offices to make sure the simulations are nonpartisan.

“Students can learn a lot from simulations,” Hess adds. But she cautions that teachers should be sensitive to assignments when creating conversations. Giving an undocumented student the role of an anti-immigration senator is a bad idea, she says.

MacCormack says the debate, which frequently starts before students come to the institute, typically lasts for days after they return to school. And that, to her, is the entire point. “Democracy isn’t a spectator sport. You have to get involved.”

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Ahead of Red Nose Day, Comic Relief Inc. Awards Children from Six Schools in Grades 3-8 Grants in National ‘Red Nose Challenge,’ Focused on Putting Ideas Into Action For Children Living In Poverty

Stephen Wakefield, Discovery Education
240-662-5563, Stephen_Wakefield@discovery.com

Two winners will be awarded with a $5,000 Grand Prize to Implement Plan of Action Plus Other Prizes; Special In-School Assembly To be Held On May 18, 2017–

–Runner-Up Schools Receive $2,500 Grants and Prizes

New York, NY (May 18, 2017).  Recognizing that big change starts with small steps, today, Comic Relief Inc. announced the winners for the Red Nose Challenge, as part of its Red Nose Day in School program. Two grand prize winners were chosen for grades 3-5 and 6-8, based on their creative videos explaining how they plan to make a difference for children living in poverty.  They are receiving $5,000 to implement their plan of action or donate to a charitable organization, as well as a video equipment package for the team leader and individual prize packs for each team member. View videos here.

Grand Prize Winners include:

Student Team (William McKnight, Anajiah Edwards, Jermaine Edwards, Branniyah Taylor) from Manatee Charter, Manatee Elementary and Samoset Elementary Schools of the School District of Manatee County in Bradenton, FL

Student Team (Rakshita Gorrepati, Elizabeth Ryan, Ansley Cachuela) from Lakeside Middle School of Forsyth County School District in Cumming, GA

The Red Nose Day in School program is about educating students on the important issue of child poverty, and empowering and inspiring them to make a difference. The program is just one element of the broader Red Nose Day campaign, which launched in the U.S. in 2015 with a mission to end child poverty. The third annual Red Nose Day in America will take place next week, on May 25, 2017, raising awareness and funds to keep children in need safe, healthy and educated – both here in the U.S. and around the world.  A student team in Grades 3-5 from Bradenton, Florida including William McKnight of Manatee Charter, Anajiah Edwards, and Jermaine Edwards of Manatee Elementary School and Branniyah Taylor of Samoset Elementary School and a student team from Lakeview Middle School in Cumming, GA including Rakshita Gorrepati, Elizabeth Ryan, and Ansley Cachuela, best showcased their idea to make a difference for children living in poverty, as well as one statistic or fact on the issue, and why everyone should care. Even though the winners of the Red Nose Challenge are announced, you can still organize your own fundraiser and donate to the cause – your donation will truly make a big difference for children in need. Find out how your school can get involved and access fundraiser toolkits at rednosedayinschool.org

Additionally, Comic Relief Inc. announced second place teams and People’s Choice winners, who were voted on by the general public.

2nd place schools include:

  • Grades 3-5 Student Team, Homeschooled in Bellevue, WA including Frances “Frankie” Arendale and Mary Jane Arendale
  • Grade 6-8 Student Team from Steelville Middle School in Steelville, MO including Dalton Hutson, Abigale Ireland, Emma Kreitner, Margaret Yeomans

People’s Choice winners include:

  • Grade 3-5 Student Team from Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School in Point Pleasant, NJ
  • Including Ryan Acquisto, Lindsey Ludwig, Samuel Hankins, Jordan Davidson
  • Grades 6-8 Student team from Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School in Palo Alto, CA
  • Including: Boston Abrams, Joshua Yang, Noa Shoval, Kyle Ethan Heller

These runners up in grades 3-5 and 6-8 win $2,500 to implement their plan of action or donate to a charitable organization and an iPad for the team leader. People’s Choice Winners in each grade band receive a $250 gift certificate.  All entries were evaluated based on their originality, advocacy, action plan and presentation.

The Challenge included a two-part classroom activity engaging students on the issue of poverty by first viewing videos, and/or researching on their own, and participating in group discussion; and second, by engaging with the concept of empathy using role-playing activities. Students work to understand empathy as the ability to step into the shoes of another person, and specifically what life is like for children living in poverty.

Comic Relief Inc. worked with Discovery Education to deliver the Red Nose Day in School program and the Red Nose Challenge, leveraging their expertise in reaching students and teachers across the U.S.  For more information, please visit: http://www.rednosedayinschool.org/challenge

About Red Nose Day   
Red Nose Day is a fundraising campaign run by the non-profit organization Comic Relief Inc., a registered U.S. 501(c)(3) public charity. Red Nose Day started in the U.K., built on the foundation that the power of entertainment can drive positive change, and has raised over $1 billion globally since the campaign’s founding in 1988. Red Nose Day launched in the U.S. in 2015 with a mission to raise money and awareness to end child poverty and has raised over $60 million to date for the cause. Red Nose Day 2017 will take place on Thursday, May 25. Money raised goes to the Red Nose Day Fund, which supports programs that keep children in need safe, healthy and educated, both in America and abroad. Beneficiaries include the Boys & Girls Clubs of America; charity: water; Children's Health Fund; Feeding America; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; National Council of La Raza; Save the Children; and The Global Fund. Since launching in the U.S., Red Nose Day has received generous support from millions of Americans, hundreds of celebrities and many outstanding partners, including Walgreens, NBC, Mars, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

About Discovery Education
A leader in educational technology, Discovery Education partners with K-12 districts and like-minded partners to strategically support the shift from print to digital learning environments.  Providing the highest quality digital content (digital textbooks) and professional development, Discovery Education is increasing student achievement for over 50M students and 4.5M teachers worldwide. Learn more:  www.discoveryeducation.com.

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Texas ASCD, USAA and Discovery Education Team Up to Launch New Stem and Financial Literacy Education Program Across San Antonio Public Schools

Stephen Wakefield, Discovery Education
240-662-5563, Stephen_Wakefield@discovery.com

San Antonio, TX (May 17, 2017) – Today, Discovery Education, a leading provider of digital content and professional development in K-12 schools; USAA; and the Texas ASCD, an association for teaching, learning and leading, announced a new multi-year investment to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career development and financial literacy in San Antonio-area middle and high schools. Named STEMvest, this innovative education initiative will reach thousands of educators and students in middle and high schools across area public school districts.

Made possible by philanthropic support from USAA, this regional education initiative empowers area educators with the dynamic digital resources and professional development they need to create a culture of STEM teaching and learning in their classrooms. The digital learning environments created by this program will improve the STEM and financial literacy skills of area students and will prepare them for success beyond graduation. The program is offered at no cost to participating school districts.

STEMvest resources available to educators, students and families through this initiative include:

  • STEMinars: Dynamic visual, on-demand online professional development for San Antonio educators that provide a foundational understanding of STEM and highlight program resources.
  • Science Techbook™: An award-winning digital textbook for middle school students in San Antonio that includes hands-on labs, digital explorations, an interactive glossary, and data analysis activities that help teach students to read, write, and think like scientists.
  • Financial Literacy Interactives: Engaging, digital experiences to help teach high school students how to make responsible choices about personal finance. These self-paced activities align to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and are perfect for in-class instruction, self-directed student engagement or at-home learning with the family.
  • STEMCamp: A series of standards-aligned curricula for use as part of summer camps, after-school STEM programs or wherever support is needed. STEMCamp combines hands-on labs, engineering challenges, digital investigations, and more – all designed to immerse kids in the grand challenges of science set forth by the National Academy of Engineering.

Educators at Northside Independent School District’s Anson Jones Middle School will participate in Discovery Education’s STEMFormation model, which provides specialized focus and instruction on STEM education and professional development. A comprehensive, three-year system of professional development, STEMformation helps educators strengthen and sustain a culture of STEM at individual school sites and guides educators as they master STEM instructional strategies. Northside educators will also be empowered to create modern digital learning environments with Discovery Education Streaming Plus™, a comprehensive service of standards-aligned digital resources to supplement instruction across all curricular areas and address multiple learning styles.

“A great STEM experience can really jumpstart a student’s engagement in learning,” said Deborah Rice, K-12 STEM Specialist, in Judson ISD. “With the new digital resources and professional development I’ll be receiving from Discovery Education through the STEMvest program, I’ll have the tools and know-how I need to create a great STEM learning environment and encourage responsible financial decision-making.”

“It’s a powerful combination to deliver STEM and financial programs together,” said Harriet Dominique, USAA senior vice president of corporate responsibility. “Conversations with area administrators and teachers made clear the need for results-driven STEM professional development for teachers and relevant, engaging STEM and financial literacy content for students to help them better prepare for future careers. USAA is thrilled to support this effort for the San Antonio community.”

In addition, the Discovery Education Community will support the educators in STEMvest districts as they transform students’ learning experiences with digital media. A global community of education professionals, the Discovery Education Community connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing, and inspiration.

“Texas ASCD is committed to helping our states’ education leaders evolve their professional practice to meet the changing needs of today’s students,” said Dr. Yolanda Rey, Executive Director of Texas ASCD. “This initiative will provide educators across the San Antonio area with proven digital resources and strategies they can immediately integrate into classroom instruction to support the success of all learners.”  

“Discovery Education is proud to join forces with USAA and Texas ASCD in support of our shared mission to provide San Antonio area students the STEM and financial literacy skills they need to find success in college and career," said Phillip Mikula, Director – Education Partnerships, Discovery Education. “Together, we are delivering to educators the dynamic digital resources and professional development they need to create immersive learning experiences for all students. We look forward to collaborating closely with the talented teams at both TXASCD and USAA on this outstanding education initiative.”

To learn more about STEMvest, please visit www.STEMVestSA.com

About USAA
The USAA family of companies provides insurance, banking, investments, retirement products and advice to 12 million current and former members of the U.S. military and their families. Known for its legendary commitment to its members, USAA is consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee well-being and financial strength. USAA membership is open to all who are serving our nation in the U.S. military or have received a discharge type of Honorable – and their eligible family members. Founded in 1922, USAA is headquartered in San Antonio. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.

About Texas ASCD
Founded in 1947, Texas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Texas ASCD) is a non-profit organization committed to improving teaching and learning for the success of all learners. It has a diverse membership of approximately 2,500 superintendents, principals, teachers, curriculum directors, staff developers, students and professors. Texas ASCD is a state affiliate of International ASCD. In the ever-changing world of education, Texas ASCD remains on the cutting edge of educator needs. What remains unchanged, and as vibrant today as it was in its infancy, is the commitment and dedication to lifelong learning for educators. Texas ASCD has 12 regional affiliates, spanning the state. Regional affiliates, the liaison between Texas ASCD and local schools, concentrate on regional policy issues, and offer professional learning to their members. For more information, please visit: www.txascd.org

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

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Arizona’s Marana Unified School District Supports Ongoing Digital Transition Through New Partnership With Discovery Education

Stephen Wakefield, Discovery Education
240-662-5563, Stephen_Wakefield@discovery.com

–New Digital Textbooks Support the Creation of Modern Science Learning Environments–

Silver Spring, Md. (May 15, 2017) – Arizona’s Marana Unified School District (MUSD) today announced a new partnership with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms. Through this collaboration, MUSD science educators in grades 3-6 are empowered to support the district’s ongoing transition to dynamic digital classrooms with Discovery Education’s digital textbooks.

MUSD’s educators seek to maximize student engagement in collaborative educational settings, utilize current resources, and cultivate a competitive edge for their students by integrating technology and digital content into the school curriculum. The district’s new relationship with Discovery Education provides MUSD’s science educators additional resources with which they will continue these efforts as they support the transition to digital teaching and learning, build a culture of STEM, and create 1:1 learning environments.

Through this new partnership, educators across the school system are integrating the Science Techbook™ digital textbook series into classroom instruction. Discovery Education’s Science Techbooks were developed by a dedicated team of expert science educators with the input of teachers and administrators from around the nation.  The Techbook’s rich, standards-aligned content includes video, audio, text and interactives with hands-on activities, as well as virtual labs that help classroom teachers differentiate instruction and create rich and engaging learning experiences for all students. Techbooks are also a substantially less expensive option per student at nearly half the cost of a traditional textbook, with additional savings derived from a lack of textbook replacement or inventory costs.

The Science Techbook also includes valuable STEM resources. STEM Project Starters encourage students to connect math, technology, and engineering to their understanding of science concepts to produce creative solutions to real world problems. In addition, the STEM In Action resources helps students connect their work to STEM careers, which promotes a clearer understanding of how skills used in school can be applied to jobs “in the real world.”  Embedded formative assessment opportunities that help educators monitor student progress are included in each Techbook, and like all Discovery Education digital textbooks, the Science Techbooks work on any device and can be implemented in any instructional setting. 

Embracing a philosophy of three-dimensional learning, Discovery Education’s Science Techbooks help educators integrate digital resources into their classroom practice.  The Model Lessons within the Science Techbooks reflect the interconnectedness of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI) and Cross-Cutting Concepts (CCC) and illustrate what these mean in practice for educators.

“Marana USD’s talented educators are committed to the personal success of each student,” said Doug Wilson, Superintendent of Marana Unified School District. “Our new partnership with Discovery Education supports the district’s continued digital transition, positions educators to better personalize our learning initiatives, and helps us achieve our goal of inspiring students to learn today and lead tomorrow.”

Additionally, the Discovery Education Community will support MUSD’s educators’ efforts to transform students’ learning experiences with digital media. A global community of education professionals, the Discovery Education Community connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing, and inspiration.

“Discovery Education is proud to support Marana USD’s efforts to maximize student engagement,” said Sarah Scott, Director of Educational Partnerships at Discovery Education. “Together, we are creating immersive digital learning experiences that ignite students’ interest in science while nurturing the skills needed for success beyond graduation.”

For more information about the Discovery Education Techbook series, Discovery Education’s supplemental content services, or other products or services from Discovery Education, visit www.discoveryeducation.com.

 

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com

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