Connecticut District Transitions to Digital Curriculum

Groton Public Schools is working to replace traditional textbooks with high-quality online resources.

by Converge Staff / May 28, 2010 0
Image courtesy of Discovery Education Discovery Education

Groton Public Schools (GPS) in Groton, Conn., is turning to digital content to engage students across the curriculum. Instead of depending solely on static textbooks, GPS educators are using digital resources from Discovery Education streaming and Discovery Education Science as instructional materials to encourage exploration and stimulate critical thinking and ultimately to transition to a dynamic digital curriculum.

More than 10 years ago, GPS started to move away from traditional textbook-based teaching and began incorporating various technology components and online resources across subject matters. Supporting the district's implementation of interactive whiteboards, administrators chose to integrate Discovery Education streaming, the digital media-based learning service scientifically shown to increase academic achievement, into their instruction.

"Discovery Education streaming is an invaluable tool in making the classroom an exciting and relevant environment for our students," said Dr. Monica Franzone, director of K-12 science for GPS. "The most important aspect of Discovery Education streaming is the breadth and depth of vetted resources available through one searchable tool. Instead of searching the Internet for resources and videos that may or may not be appropriate for classroom use, teachers can use one tool and trust they are finding the best content available."

Initially, this education streaming tool was offered to specific educators throughout the district in an effort to build enthusiastic and expert users who could, in turn, show their colleagues how to integrate this service into their daily lessons. "As soon as other teachers saw the possibilities Discovery Education streaming offers, they were hooked," Franzone continued. GPS then made the online service available to all elementary and middle school teachers, as well as media specialists throughout the district.

For the 2009-2010 school year, GPS continued to roll-out this online streaming tool to the entire district, while also incorporating Discovery Education Science, an online instructional service for elementary and middle schools. Tied to state science standards, the service provides core content through multiple learning modalities. Coupled with a real-time assessment component that measures students' progress, Discovery Education Science recommends individualized resources that reinforce classroom instruction.

"Learning is traditionally confined to within the four walls of the classroom. These digital resources from Discovery Education allow students to experience a world they never could have in the past," Franzone said. "They can touch space with NASA, listen to the sounds of a jungle in India — these resources allow teachers to bring interesting content to their students through an easy-to-use tool. The service offers unparalleled resources, such as clips from MYTHBUSTERS. Showing a video clip of a science experiment that could not be replicated in the classroom excites students and shows how their lessons relate to the real world."

GPS offers a blend of digital resources and textbook-based curriculum, and is working to move to a dynamic multimedia curriculum in the future. "Our key focus is to connect classroom learning with how students live outside of the school, making each lesson more relevant and engaging. We have a strong commitment to using online resources, and using the excellent resources from Discovery Education brings our district one step closer to our goal."