EASTCONN's Day of Discovery

May 29, 2009
Presented by Jen Dorman

Jane Cook's Notes:

Jen introduced herself and described her background as a former high school Social Studies teacher. She reviewed the agenda and talked about what participants would learn about throughout the day. Her presentation is available to us online. She briefly highlighted a couple of Discovery Education initiatives:
  • Discovery Education's Media Share - This is Discovery Education's version of You Tube for educators. Go to: http://www.discoveryeducation.com/products/mediashare/ for more information.
  • STAR Discovery Educators - STAR Discovery Educators have to complete an online application and complete at least one event with at least three people for at least 15 minutes. To maintain STAR Educator status, they must report two events per year. As benefits, you receive upload status to Discovery Media Share and receive a free blog space as well as other freebies and discounts for technology products. There are over 5600 around STAR Educators around the country; 2 are international. Jen encouraged everyone to apply to become a STAR Discovery Educator. For more information go to: http://community.discoveryeducation.com/star/index.html.

Jen's Presentation

Digital Natives - Digital Natives are young people who are born into technology and have no fear of it; they never read instructions or direction. Their lack of fear encourages them to play with technology all the time.
Digital Immigrant - Digital Immigrants are not quite as young people who were not born into technology and, no matter how technologically proficient they are, will never be native to technology.
Digital Refugees - Digital Refugees are Digital Immigrants who are resistant to using technology.
Snapshot of Children & Media
  • Our students (ages 8-18) are using the equivalent to a full time job (approximately 6 and 1/2 hours a day) exposed to media.
  • YouTube is one of the fastest growing Web sites in the world
  • 96% of students engage in social networking
  • If MySpace were a country, it would be the 7th largest country in the world - larger than Germany, France and the United Kingdom (Facebook is close to surpassing MySpace in number of members)
  • 57% of teenagers (about 2 million kids) online create content of value to them
Discovery Education brings the type of media that kids are engaging with outside of school into the classroom. Fifty percent of schools worldwide use Discovery content which means approximately 35 million students are getting this content in their classroom.

Discovery broadcasts in thirty languages. Vietnamese is the fastest growing language being requested so Discovery is in the process of having their nearly 100,000 videos dubbed in Vietnamese.

Teachers are the driving force behind Discovery Education. The content from the Discovery Network moves almost simultaneously from the
Discovery Channel into Discovery's United Streaming video library. Discovery Education is the #1 producer of non-fiction content in the world. The Connecticut State Department of Education has purchased a 4-year license to Discovery's Middle School Science videos that are free of charge to all Connecticut's middle schools this year and for the next 3 years.

The Discovery Educator Network (DEN) was born in 2005 in inspire teachers to collaborate and build community. It is the largest educator network around the country. They are committed to providing free services to teachers, including webinars, virtual PD and face-to-face professional development like today's Day of Discovery at EASTCONN.

Discovery Streaming

Jen demonstrated the newly relaunched Discovery Streaming Web site. It includes keyword searches using Boolean logic. You can filter for specific types of content. The advanced search allows you to filter by subject area, grade level and publisher. There is a simple bookmarking tool that allows you to bookmark a video once you've found it. This saves you from having to go search for it ever again - the link to it will always remain in your "My Content" folder within your member login.

All of the content is downloadable because teachers need to guarantee that they have access to it even if the network is down. Jen recommends that you always download a video that you will be using and run it from your computer rather than over the Internet. These are large media files so they suggest that you archive the downloaded videos onto an external hard drive.

The content is also licensed for students to use and "mash up" to use when creating their own presentations. They should always cite the source of the original video. Citation information is stored on the page where you launch the video. If it's a derivative product that they or we, as teachers, are reposting "mashed up" videos on the Internet, you can only post the video files on a password-protected Web site, e.g., a private Wiki or a Moodle course that requires you to be a member to access. They are working on close captioning their videos.

On July 2, 2009, Discovery Streaming is releasing an upgrade with a variety of new features. From their experience, Windows Media loads a little faster than Quicktime if you are streaming this over the Internet from their server in Chicago. One of the new features available in July will be using Flash to play the videos which should be much faster.

Curriculum Resources in the Discovery Streaming Teacher Center
Calendar - The calendar contains links to chunks of content related to specific days in history.
Thematic Focus - This includes a featured focus unit for the month as well as archived units that you can search.
Discovery Education Atlas - Move your mouse over the atlas of the world and click when you find an area of the world that is of interest. They are working on putting access to this atlas in the student login along with download capabilities. This will probably not be ready for the July 2nd relaunch.

Discovery Science

Jen demonstrated Discovery Science. It has similar search functions as Discovery Streaming. Discovery Science was built with the student in mind. In Science there are a variety of media types, including:
  • Articles
  • Exploration
  • Full Videos
  • Images
  • Interactive videos
  • Science tools
  • Virtual labs
  • Integrated Science simulation
  • Reading passage
  • Science sleuths
Within Discovery Science, there are three major categories of resources:
  1. Physical Science
  2. Life Science
  3. Earth and Space Science
Each category has a variety of inquiry projects. Each has a student version and a teacher's guide. Each begins with an inquiry problem which gets the students thinking like scientists. Each project includes an online topic assessment that you can use as a formative pre-assessment to diagnose what the students know about the topic prior to teaching and/or as a post-assessment to determine what students have learned.

Discovery Science Teacher Center Tools

Go to http://science.discoveryeducation.com/sitenew/teacherCenter/index.cfm) to find a variety of resources for teachers including the following tools:

Process Skills Library in DE Science (http://science.discoveryeducation.com/sitenew/teacherCenter/processSkillsLibrary.cfm)
The DE Science Process Skills Library consists of 3 categories of resources:
  1. Virtual Labs
  2. Science Sleuths
  3. Myth Busters

Classroom Manager in DE Science (http://tools.discoveryeducation.com/classroom/index.cfm?productCode=DSC)
This feature allows you to register students into a class. There are two ways to register students:
1. Create Class & add student from school roster - Contact Christine Shih at Discovery Education for information on creating the CSV file to e-mail to Discovery so they can upload all of your students.
2. Student Self-Registration Code (4AD1-B7D9) - This allows students to create their own user accounts using a passcode. Teachers can create student accounts manually this way but it is much more time consuming than uploading a CSV file with usernames and passwords.
Jen recommends using the upload feature rather than having students register themselves. This allows you to control the usernames and passwords. Once you've created a class, you can create assignments for your students.

Assessment Manager in DE Science (http://tools.discoveryeducation.com/assessment/index.cfm)
This feature allows you to create assessments that are aligned with your state's standards. These assessments include only selected response items. When you create an assessment, first you choose which state Science standard/s you want to assess. Then you are given a databank of pre-made questions and you select the questions that you want to include on your assessment. You can randomize the order so that students can take the assessment in a computer lab and they won't be looking at the same question at the same time. Students get immediate feedback once they have completed the assessment and you can prescribe immediate remediation for students which will go into their My Assignments folder. You can customize what remediation materials students will receive. You can see usage by users so you can tell whether a student attempted to use the remediation materials though you can't get data on what they actually did during their remediation session.

Discovery Education Media Share

Media Share (http://www.discoveryeducation.com/products/mediashare/) is DEN's answer to YouTube. Regular DEN users can search and view media. DEN STAR Educators can also upload resources to Media Share. They also allow the content to be embedded. Media Share can be a solution for the problem of blocked sites in districts.

Multimedia Presentations That Pop!

Jen demonstrated ways to kick PowerPoint "up a notch" by embedding media onto slides. Go to Jen's blog for specific instructions for how to do this. You can do this in a variety of ways:
  1. Hyperlinking - Download a video clip from Discovery Streaming or Discovery Science using the medium file size (this compresses the size of the file though it slightly degrades the quality). Hyperlink the video to an image and copy the citation for the video clip from the page on Discovery Education where you found the the video and paste it onto your slide. You can do the same thing with an audio file. You can hyperlink to a Web site's URL, too, but you have to then depend on the Internet being fast enough when you want to show the
  2. Embedding - Embedding is preferable to hyperlinking because it doesn't require another application to play the media clip. To do this, you need to insert Movies and Sounds. This allows you to create a text box with other information so that you can have visual reinforcement on the slide. Also, there's no lag time for the media to start.
  3. Really Embed - Really embedding is embedding the Windows Media Player onto the PowerPoint slide and telling the media player what video clip you want to play. The advantage is that you get the controls so you can Pause, Fast Forward, etc. any video that you're playing. This is a Windows-based solution because you can't play Windows Media Player on a Mac and this doesn't work with Quicktime. .

Syncing Audio with PowerPoint
My Plick (http://www.myplick.com/) is a tool that allows you to upload your PowerPoint or PDF document and an audio file and sync them together. Once you upload your files, then you set some preferences and click on Sync. You choose how you want the slides to transition with the audio file. This is quick and easy; it takes only as long as it takes for you to upload your files and play the audio file. Each MyPlick has its own URL and it has its own embeddable code.
Allow Commenting to Presentations
VoiceThreads (http://voicethread.com/) is a "collaborative multi-media slideshow that holds images, documents, and video and allows users to navigate among media and leave voice, text and video comments". Go to http://mansfield20.wikispaces.com/VoiceThreads for instructions for embedding Voice Threads in a Wikispace.
Embedding Web Sites Using LiveWeb (http://skp.mvps.org/liveweb.htm)
LiveWeb allows you to insert Web pages into a PowerPoint and refresh the page real-time during your presentation.
Widgetized Presentations
There are a variety of free online applications that allow you to upload presentations for online hosting and embedding into Web sites, Wikis, blogs and DE streaminig Builders. Jen recommended the following free Web sites but also cautioned people to be aware that there may be unacceptable content on these sites since they are not just limited to use in education:
Learning from the Funnies
GoAnimate (http://goanimate.com/) allows you to create a movie using background images, audio, etc. The tools are free and you don't need to know Flash to create your own animations and animated comic strips. You can embed these into a blog or Wiki or a PowerPoint presentation.
Xtranormal (http://www.xtranormal.com/) is a Web 2.0 tool for creating animations. According to their Web site, if you can type, you can make movies. Jen's husband is teaching a Senior Honors Sociology course and he's having his students create their research projects using Xtranormal.
Collaborative Geo-Learning
Google Maps
(http://maps.google.com/) allows you to work collaboratively on a map. Students need to be 13 and older and need their own Google login to use this tool. They must log into Google Maps and then click on My Maps. Students can then work to collaboratively add placemarks with embedded URLs and video to maps of places that they are researching.

Discovery Education Contact Information

Contact Matt Monjan for more information about the Discovery Educator Network and to learn about becoming a Star Discovery Educator:
Matt Monjan
Account Manager, Discovery Educator Network (for New England region)
Discovery Education
Phone: (240) 662-6731
Toll free: (800) 323-9084, ext. 6731

Contact Adam Dolan for detailed Discovery Education product information, server solutions, free trials and school or district pricing:
Adam W. Dolan
Sales Manager - Northeast
Discovery Education
Phone: (240) 662-6786
Toll free: (800) 323-9084, ext. 6786

Survey for Day of Discovery Training

Go to: http://sn.im/desurvey to give feedback on today's training. Once you complete this survey, you'll receive an e-mail which includes links to Jen's presentation and other resources.