What is Discovery Education? Tips & Tricks

Discovery Education offers thousands of videos, interactive lessons, and virtual field trips. Discovery Education is an ed-tech platform with a large library of videos, virtual field trips, lesson plans, and other interactive teaching resources ranging from STEM to English to history.

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Discovery Education, inspired by and previously owned by Discovery, Inc., reaches an estimated 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide in over 100 countries and territories. Lance Rougeux, Discovery Education’s Senior Vice President of Curriculum, Instruction, and Student Engagement, discusses the Discovery Education platform and its most popular features.

What is Discovery Education?

Discovery Education is a multimedia platform that provides a wide range of video content, lesson plans, quiz-generating features, and other standards-aligned educational tools, such as virtual labs and interactive simulations, to educators and students.

According to Rougeux, Discovery Education began as an educational video streaming service, but based on teacher feedback over the last 20 years, the platform has expanded far beyond that.

Every year, he would host hundreds of professional development events and would always hear the same story from educators in the field. “Teachers would say things like, ‘I love that video, I love that piece of media. ‘What else can I do with it besides press play?'” Rougeux explains. “So we quickly began to evolve, thanks in large part to our teacher community.”

As a result of this evolution, Discovery Education offers more lesson plans and activities that can be used in conjunction with or in place of the videos, as well as more profound immersive experiences that allow students and educators to create and tailor content to their specific needs.

Of course, video is still a big part of Discovery Education, with thousands of full-length videos and short clips. Discovery Education and various partners collaborated to create this content, including NASA, the NBA, MLB, and others.

Discovery Education also includes over 100 field trips and thousands of instructional activities that allow educators to embed quiz questions and surveys within the video or select from pre-made video and quiz templates.

How Does Discovery Education Work?

Teachers can create a personalized landing page on Discovery Education. Educators can use this page to search for content organized by subject activity type, grade level, and other criteria. They’ll also get personalized recommendations based on previous content they’ve used.

Educators can also subscribe to channels like “news and current events,” “virtual field trips,” and “cells,” which provide a landing page for curated content organized by grade level.

Once you’ve found the content you want, Discovery Education will tailor it to each instructor’s specific requirements. According to Rougeux, the ability to customize was built into the system based on user feedback.”‘Could you package it up for me in the form of a lesson, activity, or assignment that I can edit?”

Rougeux claims that educators used to inquire. “‘I still want to be able to edit. I still want to contribute my artistry, but if you can get me 80 percent of the way there, that’s a huge value add.”

Aside from video, Discovery Education offers several tools that have grown in popularity since the pandemic began. Virtual Choice Boards are one such tool that allows students to explore topics at their own pace using interactive slides with short videos and multiple options to explore a topic.

A Daily Fix It, a variation on this feature that has become one of the platform’s most popular offerings, shows students a flawed sentence and allows them to move the words around to correct it. Rougeux claims that this gives teachers a fun 10-minute activity with their students daily.

Interactives are another type of offering that includes virtual labs and other interactive simulations. Rougeux claims that it is the most assigned content on the platform.

The quiz function, which allows teachers to select from pre-made quizzes and polls and embed their own questions or polls within video content, is also one of the platform’s most popular new features.

How Much Does Discovery Education Cost?

Discovery Education’s list price is $4,000 per building, which includes access for all staff and students who require it. However, the fee varies depending on the size of the state contract, etc.

Discovery Education can be purchased with ESSER funds, and the platform has created an ESSER spending guide for school officials (opens in a new tab).

Discovery Education Best Tips and Tricks

Interactive Differentiation Tools

Many of Discovery’s interactive tools can be assigned to students individually to help them catch up or go deeper on a topic. According to Rougeux, many educators assign virtual school trips to students who complete other class assignments early.

In class, use choice boards altogether.

Choice Boards can be used by students individually, but Rougeux claims that many educators find it a fun activity to do as a class. As each child votes on which option to investigate next, student engagement can increase.

Monthly Calendars from Discovery Education Can Assist in Activity Selection

Each month, Discovery Education creates an activity calendar divided by grade level. These activities are based on data gathered on the types of lessons educators seek at various times of the year. For example, there was a recently suggested lesson on energy transfer because it is a topic frequently covered in classes around this time.

“It’s also serving up content based on current events, holidays, and celebrations,” Rougeux says.

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