Educators Become Digital Leaders
Nearly 500 educators were on hand as Greenville County Schools and Discovery Education launched Digital Leader Corps, a new professional development program that helps educators learn how to create dynamic digital learning environments for students. Last year, 40 GCS teachers at 10 schools were chosen to participate in the pilot program.
“Discovery Education is providing three years of professional development for our teachers,” said Jeff McCoy, GCS Interim Associate Superintendent. “These educators will become digital leaders in their schools and will train other teachers on how to incorporate technology in their classrooms.”
Kathy Beck, a seventh grade social studies teacher at Mauldin Middle and a participant in the pilot program, shared how Digital Leader Corps helped build her classroom teaching techniques to integrate digital learning. “I learned so much from being on a team with teachers from other schools,” she said. “Our meetings became learning communities. I was learning from teachers outside my subject area and school. Every time we had a meeting I came away inspired to do something more.”
The implementation of the Digital Leader Corps coincides well with the district’s launch of a one-to-one personalized learning initiative, where every student in grades three through twelve will receive a Chromebook for use in the classroom and at home. The rollout of Chromebooks will continue over a three-year period.
Guided by Discovery Education experts, GCS teachers gained valuable information on how to incorporate new ways to use digital content to maximize student engagement and improve academic achievement.
Since 2002, all K-12 classrooms have had access to engaging digital content through Discovery Education Streaming Plus, a digital service supplementing instruction across all K-12 curricular areas. Last year, ten GCS schools piloted Discovery Education’s Digital Leader Corps Beginning in August, 77 additional schools will implement the Digital Leader Corps model, providing 330 new teacher leaders and 150 administrators with nearly 2,800 days of professional development over the next three years.
This expanded partnership supports the 2015-2020 Greenville County Schools’ Technology Plan, which calls for the development of ongoing and sustained professional development programs for all educators. Over the next several years, GCS will utilize current and emerging technologies to create learner-centered instructional environments that enhance academic achievement while growing and sustaining teachers’ capacity to effectively integrate technology into instruction.
Discovery Education’s Digital Leader Corps helps school systems develop a network of teacher-leaders prepared to design and implement successful and innovative teaching strategies to be shared with their peers. Featuring a unique combination of professional learning, pedagogy and tools, Digital Leader Corps offers participating educators proven approaches to integrating educational technologies and digital media into classroom instruction. These approaches are then practiced in educator created, student-centered Learning Labs where teachers practice and adapt their new skills in a classroom setting before sharing their successes broadly with their colleagues. The Digital Leader Corps program provides teachers with continuous customized, job-embedded consultation throughout the process with ongoing modeling, coaching and feedback from Discovery Education experts.
The Discovery Educator Network (DEN) will continue to support GCS’ 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.
For more information about the Digital Leader Corps, Discovery Education Streaming Plus, or other services and resources from Discovery Education, visit www.discoveryeducation.com.