Discovery Education streaming includes an interactive atlas.

Image courtesy Discovery Education streaming

Discovery Education streaming Basics

As its name suggests, Discovery Education streaming has lots of streaming video clips at its core. By the end of 2008, it will have 5,000 full-length videos and 50,000 clips in its basic package [source: Discovery Education streaming]. Discovery Education streaming Plus builds on this collection with a slightly wider selection. It will include 8,700 full-length videos and 87,000 clips by the end of 2008 [source: Discovery Education streaming Plus]. Some of these videos come from Discovery Channel. Other contributors include Scholastic, the BBC, PBS and NASA. All in all, the basic package has content from more than 150 educational producers. With Discovery Education streaming plus, the number goes up to more than 170. A curriculum development team reviews the content to make sure it is accurate, appropriate, high-quality and representative of diversity.

Teachers can search for the videos they need using keywords, grade levels and other search parameters.

Image courtesy Discovery Education streaming

The basic package also includes image and audio libraries, an interactive atlas, and encyclopedia articles. There are also addon video libraries, such as a langu­age pack that includes video clips in more than 30 languages. Everything is for educational use only, including in home schools.

If you're a teacher who suddenly has tens of thousands of video clips at your disposal, you may wonder, "What do I do with all this?" Fortunately, these videos don't exist in a vacuum. The clips are aligned to K-12 national and state curriculum standards. Many are organized according to themes, and teachers can search for relevant clips by keyword, subject, grade level and curriculum standard. There are also search options for closed-captioned videos and videos in Spanish. In addition, Discovery Education streaming provides a library of lesson plans and suggestions for incorporating the videos into all areas of study.

­There's also more than just video in the Discovery Education streaming package. Some of the other tools include:

  • Quiz builders: Teachers can create multiple-choice quizzes, which students fill out using a computer. The quizzes are graded automatically, and teachers can view the results, including which answers the students chose.
  • Writing prompts: As with the quizzes, teachers create the prompts and students complete the assignments using a computer. There's also a library of prompts for a variety of writing styles, from expository to narrative.
  • Editable videos: Teachers can use video editing software to customize certain clips.
  • Professional Development: Discovery Education offers a wide array of complimentary professional development options that allow educators to learn more about integrating technology into the classroom.
  • Discovery Educator Network: A Discovery Education streaming subscription includes an invitation for all educators to join to the Discovery Educator Network (DEN). The DEN currently includes more than 88,000 members nationwide, providing professional development to more than a half a million educators.

In addition, teachers get access to tools to keep things organized, such as a calendar, a grade book and an assignment builder.

­Of course, connecting to all this requires a wired classroom. We'll look at what kind of tech it takes to use Discovery Education streaming in the next section.