Online educational content can vary widely in quality for both information covered and production value. The budget alone will not guarantee success in all categories. A dedicated and qualified team is essential. When the pandemic took full swing by March, Discovery Education hit the ground running. By summer, their number of sessions and users had increased dramatically with an 80% increase in logins and the addition of 15,000 new schools. Now, with the new school year, they are becoming a go-to resource for both students and teachers.
Three main areas of content have spiked for them since the pandemic – including instructional inspiration for educators, virtual experiences, and not surprisingly viruses and outbreaks. As Scott Kinney, Discovery Education president for K-12 education explains; “Since the jump to distance learning, we’ve seen three channels consistently place among the most popular. First, our Viruses and Outbreaks Channel. This channel offers not only science-based content that explains how viruses and outbreaks like Coronavirus work, but also gives educators important social and emotional learning resources designed to help teachers support their students during this difficult time.”
He continues, “In addition, we’ve seen our virtual experience channels skyrocket in popularity. These channels include Virtual Field Trips, content from partner museums and the Travel Channel, podcasts and audio books designed to transport students from their homes to places they might not otherwise have the opportunity to visit.
Finally, we’ve seen our Instructional Inspiration Channel become very popular with educators and pairs our high-quality content with research-based instructional strategies, providing teachers with ready-made, engaging lessons that can be used in any teaching environment. When we looked back on the data and saw these channels pop, it made complete sense to us and really provides a snapshot into what is important to teachers at this moment.”
It is clear that distance learning has put a strain on teachers and why teachers are seeking inspiration and resources. This is something of which all online content providers should be aware. If you are building online content for students it is important to also equip the teachers. Either inspirational or instructional, carving out a space to help teachers will improve the overall impact of your content.
“When COVID emerged as a threat to the United States back in March, we saw tens of thousands of educators reach out to us to firm-up their skills so that they could meet the challenge of remote instruction. They learned new teaching strategies, created elaborate in-home set-ups from which they could provide instruction, and found ways to overcome students’ lack of devices and internet connectivity, all because they are teachers and teachers never quit on their students,” shares Mr. Kinney.
This is a testament to the teachers in our country and the exceptional work they do. As part of the effort in helping equip students, Discovery Education has made a push since last spring to focus on equity. There is a looming increase in the student gap and this makes conversations about equity in education essential for finding solutions.
Mr. Kinney explains where he sees Discovery Education’s role in the equity dilemma: “To help achieve this goal, we launched Equity Talks, a live webinar series featuring our nation’s top educational leaders discussing how we can cultivate equity and excellence. This has been a powerful series of events that has attracted thousands of participants from across the world and generated many new ideas for improving equity in our nation’s classrooms. “
Recently, he added, “We just launched the next series of Equity Talks, and I encourage your readers to register for the upcoming season and read the white paper summarizing the findings from our first season of Equity Talks.” More information, registration information, and the white paper can be found here.
As we move through this uncertain year, one thing we can be sure of is that Discovery Education is going to continue to provide valuable resources for K-12 students, parents, and teachers.