Leaders at Brunswick City Schools in Ohio have embarked on a plan to create authentic digital classrooms.
To accelerate this process, the school district has launched a wide-ranging, seven-year partnership with Discovery Education, a major provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms. The partnership was announced October 26.
Through this collaboration, all K-12 classrooms across the district will have access to Discovery Education Streaming Plus, a comprehensive digital service supplementing instruction in all K-12 curricular areas. The service features a searchable Streaming Plus app designed for both teachers and students.
Additionally, Brunswick City educators in grades K-12 will integrate Discovery Education’s Science Techbook into its instruction program, while middle-school educators will begin integrating Discovery Education’s Social Studies Techbook into teaching and learning.
As part of the partnership, educators from Brunswick City’s 11 schools will participate in Discovery’s Digital Leader Corps, a multi-year professional development initiative that will help teachers and leaders drive the district’s transition to digital learning.
Another piece of the partnership portfolio is Discovery Education Community (DEC), a global organization of education professionals that connects members across school systems around the world through social media, virtual conferences and in-person events. The purpose is to foster extensive networking, idea sharing and inspiration among educators.
Michael Mayell, superintendent of Brunswick City Schools, said that partnership with Discovery Education will help propel the district toward its vision of total digital learning.
“Brunswick City Schools’ digital transition is dedicated to more deeply engaging our students in learning and providing them the opportunities to develop the skills they need to be successful in the Information Age,” he said. Discovery Education’s “dynamic digital resources and comprehensive professional development will help us transform teaching and learning district-wide,” he added.
Discovery Education officials say the company offers “a breadth and depth of digital media content” that is aligned to state standards, can be matched with custom curricula and supports classroom instruction with platform-agnostic technology.
The company’s interactive digital techbooks give students opportunities “to soar beyond the traditional textbook,” according to Discovery officials. For their part, Brunswick City educators describe the techbooks as “breakthrough digital textbooks that are aligned to rigorous standards, support a comprehensive curriculum and are updated regularly at no cost.”
The series of techbooks utilizes an inquiry-based format built on the 5E learning model in which students construct new ideas on top of their old ideas through five phases: engage, explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate.
The digital content cultivates student engagement and personal instruction, according to Discovery officials. The Science Techbook, for example, helps teach students to read, write and think like scientists through hands-on labs, digital explorations, an interactive glossary, and data-analysis processes. The Social Studies Techbook emphasizes informational text literacy, analytical writing and problem-solving skills that students will apply in the classroom and in their lives beyond school.
The searchable Streaming Plus app is designed for both teachers and students. Teacher resources include lesson plans, instructional strategies, podcasts, videos and other features, while students can access images, primary-source documents, oral interviews, videos and more.
Discovery’s Digital Leader Corps will support teachers as they implement these new digital resources, Brunswick City officials said. It will develop a network of teacher-leaders prepared to design, deploy and share successful and innovative teaching strategies across the district. In online learning labs teachers can bring to life new teaching approaches and practice their skills in a classroom setting before sharing their successes with colleagues. The program also provides teachers with customized consultation, including coaching and feedback from Discovery Education experts.
“We look forward to supporting [Brunswick City Schools] and to providing all teachers and students with the digital tools and resources they need to create the real-world learning experiences we know engage today’s learners,” said Kelly Burleson, manager of education partnerships at Discovery Education.