On Wednesday, Oak Ridge Schools announced a new collaboration with Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, to create authentic digital learning environments in classrooms district-wide. Through a six-year partnership, Discovery Education will support Oak Ridge Schools’ plan to implement a 1:1 learning initiative with engaging digital content and sustained, customized professional development.
This new partnership also supports Superintendent Bruce Borchers’ recently announced plan to transform Oak Ridge Schools into the premier preK-12 STEM school district in the nation. The district’s goal is to become a leader in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education through continuation and expansion of Oak Ridge’s already well-regarded educational opportunities for students along with additional enhancements to technology infrastructure, professional development, and access to devices, which will place dynamic digital content in the hands of each student.
As part of this new collaboration, all K-12 classrooms will have access to Discovery Education Streaming Plus. Discovery Education Streaming Plus features more than 155,000 dynamic digital learning objects that support all subject areas and learning styles, including videos, skill builders, games, audio files, images, writing prompts, and encyclopedia articles. It also includes hundreds of model lessons and instructional exemplars.
In addition, Oak Ridge students in grades K-8 will use the Discovery Education Science TechbookTM and middle school students will utilize the Discovery Education Social Studies TechbookTM. Discovery Education digital textbooks create learning environments that promote collaboration, creativity, and participatory learning. The series delivers individualized resources and engages students in learning concepts through rich digital assets, including virtual labs, video clips, an interactive glossary, and more.
Oak Ridge Schools is also providing its educators robust, customized professional development from Discovery Education experts who will guide them through the process of integrating Streaming Plus and Techbooks into classroom instruction. Fifty teachers will join a STEM cohort that will receive 10 days of customized professional development and coaching from Discovery Education each year.￼￼
“Oak Ridge Schools’ goal is to become the premier STEM school district in the country, and this new collaboration with Discovery Education will help us meet this goal,” Borchers said. “We are looking forward to working with Discovery Education’s expert team to create the authentic digital learning environments that will provide students the critical skills they will need to be successful not only in STEM, but in any field of their choosing.”
This initiative commences at a STEM Leadership Retreat for Oak Ridge educators, administrators, and community members scheduled for later this month. During this retreat, the Oak Ridge School Board, superintendent and senior staff, teachers and local STEM leaders will examine STEM data for their region, experience STEM teaching and learning, and begin to create the STEM definition and vision for their district.
In addition, the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) will support Oak Ridge Schools’ educators in their efforts to transform students’ learning experiences 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, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing, and inspiration.
“Discovery Education is proud to be a part of Oak Ridge Schools’ STEM and digital transition initiatives,” said Rob Warren, regional director, Discovery Education. “The efforts of Dr. Borchers and his team illustrate the school system’s deep commitment to preparing their students for college, careers and citizenship, and we look forward to working with them to support the success of each learner.”