Discovery Education has a lot of great resources for educators, many free (over 30). They also have fee-based services such as DE Streaming with thousands of videos, audio files, images, lesson plans, and much more.
One of their other resources that I have been using lately is the Discovery Education Science Techbook.
The Discovery Education Science Techbook is more than a digital textbook. "It’s a different way of thinking. Thinking outside the box, perhaps. Or more appropriately, thinking outside the book." "The Techbook not only provides awesome content aligned to each state’s standards (there are currently Science Techbooks available for most grades K-8 in 30 states across the U.S.), but includes a model lesson for teachers to use with every concept, assessment questions for each standard, a teacher’s guide, and DVDs for when the Internet is not available. Resources such as the virtual labs, reading passages, video segments, science sleuths, explorations, and interactive glossary, etc., are packaged together to follow the five E model of instruction. Teachers have found an easier and creative way to build lessons using technology resources and content, as well as differentiating their classroom."
It is not just a PDF or other media file with links. It is an entire ecosystem of lesson resources for educators to use in their classroom. It's not free, but neither are print textbooks or iBooks, and the DE Science TechBooks are ready, aligned to standards, and in use in thousands of classrooms around the country.
The DE Science Techbooks feature
- Lively, interactive resources that capture the attention of students
- Custom, in-person professional development builds capacity to ensure effective implementation
- Cost-effective and efficient
- Organized around the teacher-friendly 5E Instructional Model and integrates the nature of science and inquiry into every phase of learning
- Designed around big ideas and essential questions
- Customized to your state standards
- Student resources for ALL learning styles
- Key teacher resources
- Up-to-date content
- Real-time feedback
From Discovery Education's press release:
Unlike traditional textbooks, Discovery Education Science Techbook uses an inquiry-based approach to learning, bringing key science concepts to life for both English and Spanish-speaking students. Other interactive elements available only from Discovery Education include an interactive glossary, videos and photos, and clips from Discovery Channel's award-winning series such as PLANET EARTH, LIFE and MYTHBUSTERS.
Using a real-time assessment component that measures students' progress and recommends individualized resources, the Science Techbook has the ability to address individual student's learning styles and prescribe resources targeted to their performance.
The Science Techbook is dynamic and updated in real time, providing teachers the opportunity to incorporate up-to-date scientific issues into their curriculum and students the chance to interact with experts on the front lines. Most recently the Science Techbook has featured such events as the tornados that occurred across the southeast U.S. and the tornado and tsunami in Japan. Finally, Discovery Education Science Techbook is a substantially less expensive option per student than textbooks, with additional savings derived from a lack of textbook replacement or inventory costs.
Some of Discovery Education's content, including the TechBooks, is Flash Based (for now) but you can access all of it on an iPad using iSwifter.
Here's a nice ToonDoo-inspired take on the differences between classrooms that are driven by books (digital or otherwise) and those that are driven by inquiry-based instruction from Lance Rougeux at Discovery Education.