Digital content replaces textbooks in pilot program

When Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) administrators recently turned their attention to social studies education, they concluded that a better means of engaging and holding students' interest was needed. Textbooks alone weren't enough to keep today's digital generation, raised in a dynamic visual environment, focused on learning. Thanks to the administrators' commitment to improvement, IPS educators and students are now accessing streaming video, images and other digital media in the classroom.

This innovative pilot program in 12 district schools, in which dynamic digital content replaces traditional textbooks as the core instructional material, features digital media, curriculum alignment services, professional development, and hardware from Discovery Education. Included are more than 5,000 videos and 41,000 digital video clips aligned to state standards and searchable by keyword, content area and grade level.

"Across the country, school systems are learning that textbooks are not the way to go, but that technology is the way to go," said Gene White, superintendent of IPS. "To date, we are very pleased with this pilot. The powerful resources from Discovery Education have brought alive our social studies curriculum in a new way, and we look forward to tracking the results of this effort."

In addition to providing content, Discovery Education's Curriculum Alignment team analyzed district pacing guides, determined the best digital assets, including video chapters, images, articles, audio, writing prompts, games, and interactives for each standard, and embedded those assets directly into the pacing guides. IPS educators can engage students with a variety of learning styles and interests through both primary and secondary sources and archival footage.

The pilot program also includes access to Discovery Education MediaShare, a Web-based content sharing system that facilitates teacher collaboration through uploading, sharing, managing, and distributing user-created or licensed content, as well as Discovery Media Servers. Discovery Media Servers allow teachers to access content from Discovery Education locally, preserving external Internet bandwidth.

"Staff development is an essential part of moving teachers to the next level of instructional delivery," said Willie Giles, IPS deputy superintendent. "It is critical that our educators know how best to utilize technology in the classroom, and we know the quality professional development provided by Discovery Education staff, combined with the new digital content and educational technologies, will take instruction and academic achievement to the next level."