As mentioned before I do enjoy my weekends outside of work. But some weekends work spills into my
weekends and my weekends spill into my work. This was one such weekend. I attended the
Discovery Educator Network Westchester Day of Discovery. Whitney Milhoulides and the DEN Team
put together a wonderful day of professional development for local educators. As if I wasn't
already surrounded by EdTech greatness this week. The keynote on Saturday was Hall Davidson,
Mr. Davidson's sense of humor is infectious. I have had the pleasure of meeting him a few times
through my interactions in the DEN. He asked me before he began if I would laugh in all the
right spots and help him out. That request for support is never needed when Mr. Davidson speaks.
Not only is he elloquent but engaging and dynamic. Again, I watched as the sparks of "oh
really?" and "oh, yes, we need to do this" go off in my head. We have the tools. Let's use
them. Unintentional cognition. We can get students to think positively about their own learning.
To begin to feel ownership of their own knowledge. Talk about differentiated learning at its
Session 2 - Ten Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Video – and Two You Did - Hall Davidson
I love that Hall makes his resources available on the Discovery Education speakers Bureau page.
But the wonderful thing (well one of the wonderful things) about seeing him live is he deviates
from his script and listens to his audience. Each presentation is customized to the needs of the
group. Be it a MAC or PC the playingfield is there to explore. Movie Maker, Jing, Camtasia,
Photobooth, etc. The right tool exists the search is part of the fun. The creation is the
product of the fun experience.
Session 3 - Content Creation with Web 2.0 Tools and Discovery Education -Cindy Lane
Creation seemed to be a theme the last few days. In another informal moment at TLI my neighbor
in the audience and I discussed teaching integrity and responsibility to use web tools properly.
Ms. Lane demonstrated how to use a few such tools. Animoto, Glogster, and Stixy can help our
students create, publish, add meaning to content, and express themselves when available. These
tools have been seen before but it is always good to see new examples of what others have managed
to create. The difference between a pencil and paper (simple tools) and the sketch by Leonardo
of a flying machine is an analogy which can be drawn between the simple tool of these websites
and student and teacher creativity. Wow!
Session 4 - Countdown to Student Engagement: 10 Ways in 10 Minutes - Max Brooks
This summer I was graced to meet Max Brooks just as he was joining the DEN Team. He encourages
collaboration, tells it like it is, and thinks ahead to how it should/could be.
I learned about a feature in Discovery Education Streaming. Did you know there are BCRs? First did you know what BCRs are? I didn't! But now, thanks to Max, I do. BCRs stand for "Brief Constructed Responses". Discovery offers many assets and elements behind your login screen. Apparently there are BCRs all ready for us to implement with students. At school we have been discussing how students need assistance with replying to questions and using evidence from the text. Again, Discovery hold a tool to help our students achieve.
Session 5 - Sharing Discovery Education with Your Students -Max Brooks
During the Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute this July, I learned about the possibility
of having individual student accounts on the network. Teachers will be able to differentiate
learning once this is implemented. I worked this Fall with a teacher to create student accounts
in Discovery Education Streaming. What a wealth of curriculum discovery awaits! Permission
slips need to be approved and signed before this project can move forward. But now after
watching/listening to Max demonstrate the simplicity of the Classroom Management portal inside
Discovery Education, I see how easy it really can be. The teacher I am working with will
definitely be able to handle managing her own class after a little initial support is provided.
Thanks, Max, for preparing me for this next phase in student engagement about to happen at our
Phew did all this really just happen in only 2 days! Technology moves at the speed of light.
Finally NY State is coming on board. They are beginning to work with Discovery Education to
create a customized Tech Book for NY State students. I can't wait. The question remains, are we
ready to grab the comet and share it across the room, down the hall, across down, and around the
globe? As someone on Friday said, "I have drunk the Kool-aid, and it is GOOD!" I hope to continue
drinking the proverbial Kool-aid of various flavors...