Texas’ Burkburnett Independent School District today announced it is expanding access to Discovery Education’s digital content for all students in the coming school year. The school system is also embarking on a new comprehensive professional development program supporting teachers as they integrate the district’s digital transition into their instruction.
This coming school year the district is providing all students and teachers iPads. This effort is guided by a group of district stakeholders called Voices Effectively Collaborating on Technology and Teaching with Ongoing Reflection (VECTTOR). Comprising teachers, administrators, technology department staff, parents, students and community members, VECTTOR aims to ensure the latest digital tools and resources are being effectively implemented across the district.
Students district-wide will have access to Discovery Education Streaming Plus, a digital library of over 150,000 learning objects aligned to state and national standards. Students in grades 7 and 8 are currently using the Discovery Education Science Techbook™ series, which includes video, digital simulations and explorations, virtual and hands-on labs, and an interactive glossary with animations and audio and video.
In addition, Burkburnett ISD educators are now participating in Discovery Education’s recently launched Digital Leader Corps. A new multi-year professional development program, Digital Leader Corps is designed to support a network of teacher-leaders prepared to implement innovative teaching strategies that can be shared with their peers. Four teacher-leaders and a principal at each of the district’s five campuses are engaging in this professional learning model.
Featuring a combination of professional learning, pedagogy and tools, Digital Leader Corps offers participating educators strategies for integrating educational technologies and digital media into classroom instruction. A new feature included in the model is educator created, student-centered Learning Labs. In these labs, teachers bring to life new teaching strategies, and practice and adapt their skills in a classroom setting before sharing their successes with their colleagues. The Digital Leader Corps program provides teachers with on-going modeling, coaching and feedback from Discovery Education advisors in the pre-planning, stakeholder communications and implementation phases.
“At Burkburnett ISD our goal is to help all students succeed at each grade level and graduate from high school well equipped for the next stage of their educational journey,” said Danny Taylor, superintendent, Burkburnett ISD. “To achieve this goal, students need access to engaging, high quality digital content and educators need sustained, job-embedded professional development that helps them maximize new educational technologies.”
The Discovery Educator Network (DEN) will also continue supporting Burkburnett ISD educators in their efforts to teach with digital media. A global community of education professionals, the DEN connects members across school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events.