Connecticut schools moving toward digital learning

More than ten years ago, Groton Public Schools (GPS) Groton, Conn., started to make the move away from traditional textbook-based teaching and began incorporating various technology components and online resources across subject matters. With the district's implementation of interactive whiteboards, administrators decided to to integrate digital media-based learning service into their instruction.

GPS turned to digital content from Discovery Education to encourage exploration, stimulate critical thinking, and ultimately, transition to a dynamic digital curriculum. Discovery Education streaming offers more than 125,000 digital learning objects, including videos, interactives, images, and articles, that are aligned to state standards and assessments, and searchable by keyword, content area and grade level.

"The most important aspect of Discovery Education streaming is the breadth and depth of vetted resources available through one searchable tool," said Dr. Monica Franzone, director of K-12 science for GPS. "Instead of searching the Internet for resources and videos that may or may not be appropriate for classroom use, teachers can use one tool and trust they are finding the best content available.

Initially, Discovery Education streaming was offered to select educators throughout the district in an effort to build enthusiastic and expert users who could, in turn, show their colleagues how to integrate the service into their daily lessons. "As soon as other teachers saw the possibilities Discovery Education streaming offers, they were hooked," Franzone continued. GPS then made the online service available to all elementary and middle school teachers as well as media specialists throughout the district.

For the 2009-2010 school year, GPS continued to expand Discovery Education streaming to the entire district, while also incorporating Discovery Education Science, an online instructional service for elementary and middle schools. Tied to state science standards, the service provides core content through multiple learning modalities.

Organized around an inquiry-based framework, Discovery Education Science covers physical, earth and space, and life sciences.

"These digital resources from Discovery Education allow students to experience a world they never could have in the past," Franzone said. "They can touch space with NASA, listen to the sounds of a jungle in India - these resources allow teachers to bring interesting content to their students through an easy-to-use tool. The service offers unparalleled resources, such as clips from MYTHBUSTERS. Showing a video clip of a science experiment that could not be replicated in the classroom excites students and shows how their lessons relate to the real world."

GPS offers a blend of digital resources and textbook-based curriculum, and is working to move to a dynamic multimedia curriculum in the future."Our key focus is to connect classroom learning with how students live outside of the school, making each lesson more relevant and engaging. We have a strong commitment to using online resources, and using the excellent resources from Discovery Education brings our district one step closer to our goal."