In the News
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Sparking Curiosity in Education
*Op-ed written by Commissioner Frank Edelblut of the New Hampshire Department of Education and Karen M. Beerer, senior vice president of teaching and learning with Discovery Education.
In 2021, the New Hampshire Department of Education partnered with Discovery Education, one of the world’s leading edtech companies. Through this collaboration, we have provided teachers and students across the state with a vast collection of high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, intuitive quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources.
These resources – at no cost to them – are facilitating incredible modern learning experiences, whether you are in a New Hampshire classroom or learning in a Home Education program, to the world beyond the proverbial schoolyard.
Discovery Education is taking New Hampshire children on virtual tours of Washington, D.C., which happens to be one of the most popular Discovery Education activities accessed in the Granite State, alongside an animal behavior video complete with a modern animal cam.
Whether it is participating in a virtual field trip to Manitoba to learn about polar bears, creating an online store by writing code from scratch, or engaging in a conversation with the NBA to see how math comes to life through the game of basketball, Discovery Education is sparking curiosity and igniting wonder.
To date, educators across the state have used nearly 500,000 Discovery Education interactives, activities, videos and more to unlock potential and engage students in their learning. When we review usage from last year compared to this year, the number of teachers incorporating these resources into their classroom (5,194) has grown by 77 percent, while the number of students introduced to the platform (23,290) has increased by 82 percent.
However, usage is only part of the story. Educators across the state report that their new digital resources are driving deeper student engagement in instruction and creating a passion to study and explore current events. The Merrimack School District is taking full advantage of the digital learning platform and has the highest number of teachers and students using Discovery Education content. “These digital learning tools empower educators to create dynamic, immersive lessons that provide students the opportunity to see how what they are learning in the classroom connects to the outside world,” said Jessica Gott, a library media specialist at Merrimack High School and a frequent user of Discovery Education. “These resources have been game changers.”
A key to this initiative’s success has been our efforts to teach educators how to use these innovative resources. Since July of 2022, there have been 47 professional learning sessions offered throughout New Hampshire that have provided educators with in-depth training on how to use Discovery Education tools in the classroom. They are also exposing teachers to a new suite of instructional strategies that will serve our students well now and in the future.
While Discovery Education is planning a special one-year celebration event this month in New Hampshire, it is our hope that more educators will be inspired to use its unique content and also participate in its professional learning geared to augment and improve student engagement.
Studying fossils, exploring the digestive system, or participating in the Young Scientist Challenge are a few of the ways that Discovery Education is helping students statewide understand real world concepts and become effective learners. These digital resources and instructional materials, which are being used daily by New Hampshire educators, have become incredibly valuable to the state’s educational system by connecting youth to today and preparing them for tomorrow.
The New Hampshire Department of Education has put into place several initiatives that will not only recover lost learning from the pandemic, but drive and accelerate improved academic achievement and innovation statewide. Offering unlimited Discovery Education content to teachers and students is providing them another tool to assist their students.