Posted: Monday, July 20, 2015

Greenville County Schools and Discovery Education kicked off the district’s new and comprehensive professional development initiative, Digital Leader Corps, with teams of four teachers from ten schools. Discovery Education’s Digital Leader Corps is a professional development program that builds and nurtures a network of teacher-leaders to design and implement successful and innovative teaching strategies that will be used as a digital curriculum integration model for fellow educators.

Featuring a unique combination of professional development, pedagogy and tools, Digital Leader Corps helps educators learn to integrate educational technologies and digital media into classroom instruction. A new innovation included in the model is educator created, student-centered Learning Labs. The program provides teachers with continuous customized consultation throughout the process with ongoing modeling, coaching and feedback from Discovery Education expert team in the pre-planning, stakeholder communications and implementation phases.

Kelly Nalley, instructional coach at Bell’s Crossing Elementary, is excited about putting the program to work in her school. “We have a leadership team that’s going through the training as well as four classroom teachers. The leadership team will be responsible for offering support and serving as facilitators as teachers create digital learning labs in their classrooms. I’m learning right along with the teachers so I can see what they’re doing and be engaged in what they’re doing as well,” she said.

Nalley believes teachers and students alike will embrace the new way of teaching and learning. “I think this program creates pedagogy for teachers where they can create student-centered work by having teams at various stations. It becomes more practical and easier because you’ve got different technological tools that you can put into the hands of students with guided instruction and give them the creativity to come up with their own solutions. It puts learning into the hands of the students,” she added.

Following the opening presentation from Discovery Education’s professional development expert Dr. Johnna Weller, attendees explored various facets of the new initiative including the Learning Labs, the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) Model, which helps educators infuse technology into teaching and learning, and new additional best practices for leveraging current and emerging technologies to create modern digital environments that enhance academic achievement.

For more information about the GCS Digital Leader Corps initiative, contact Tim Cushman, Coordinator of Instructional Technology for Greenville County Schools.

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