Monday, November 30, 2009

Discovery Education

Yesterday I decided to put together an assignment for my students that would enable them to become completely independent learners. How did I do it you ask? (Ok even if you didn't ask I am still going to tell you!) I decided to dive into our school's subscription of Discovery Education (formerly known as United Streaming). I spent about three hours clicking on various buttons and really taking in the options that are available for teachers. It was pretty easy to set up a "classroom" by giving my students usernames and passwords for individual access to the site. I also created an assignment in the assignment builder area. I am amazed at the possibilities for using this feature with the kids to create online classes for any subject area. It is a matter of choosing what media I want the kids to view, websites to access, and providing instructions for the kids to follow. Voila...instant lessons the kids can access independently to take control of their learning. I created a google doc for my students to fill out with answers to questions that went along with the two videos on plant classification. Little did I know, there is actually a quiz builder that I could have used right in the site. I will be sure to try that for the next online assignment. I asked the kids whether or not they liked this format and they all assured me that watching a video and answering questions on a virtual "worksheet" was much more fun than the traditional science book lesson. I sort of figured that is what they would say....

I hope the kids will take a look around the Discovery Education site in the next couple of days. I know I will be thinking of more and more ways to utilize this site for differentiation as well as alternative forms of assessing students!

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