For the past two years, I've been working with Discovery Education as an ambassador/DENStar for my school district.
We've adapted their Launch into Teaching assessments to measure students' academic growth, but we focus more on the tools on their website. From video streaming and board building (similar to glogster) to online tech books and virtual labs, Discovery has a lot of tech tools available for teachers. They also have a plethora of audio clips and images as well as suggested lesson plans, which come in very handy!
They also have the Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute (DENSI) each summer. Last year, I attended in Burlington, Vermont and had an amazing time. Once again, I was the sole representative for my state so I was a little overwhelmed at first but by the end of the week, felt right at home.
I was placed in a dorm with 3 other ladies, 2 who were veterans and another newbie from California.
DENSI was a mix of key note speakers, hands-on sessions and break-out sessions. I set up twitter for the first time at DENSI after learning about how this social media tool could be used for professional development and teacher networking. I tried my hand at geo-caching and well, I'm not very great at it (yet?). We learned about sustainable farming and I milked a goat for the first time.
(That was an interesting experience to say the least.)
We played with different apps and talked about classroom application. We learned about chromebooks and I learned all sorts of things my new GS4 could do! We learned more about video streaming and using Skype in the classroom.
Besides being a techy's dream, it was a wonderful opportunity to meet other teachers from around the United States and Canada. Here is the list of attendees and their prospective websites.
I think what I enjoyed best was the time to sit in small groups and talk about best teaching practices. One teacher was struggling with his math block, so we talked for over an hour about restructuring it for effectiveness. Since I want to be an academic coach, it was a great, unexpected opportunity for professional growth.
Snapshots from the week are here in dropbox.
PLUS I got a sneak peek of Shark Week! I LOVE Shark Week...and my new beverage holder!
I loved DENSI 2013 and would highly recommend the professional development.
I can't wait for Discovery to release their applications for DENSI 2014! As soon as they do, I'll post the link :)