The school system recently joined forces with Discovery Education for the 2013-2014 school year in an effort to bring its multimedia platform to teachers and students throughout the county.
“Discovery Education is excited to partner with Talladega County Schools in our joint mission to support the success of each learner and prepare students for their future,” Discovery Education Vice President Andy Schaefer said. “This partnership vividly illustrates Talladega County Schools’ commitment to transforming teaching and learning with high quality content that inspires and engages today’s students and prepares them for life beyond the classroom.”
The schools now use Discovery Education Streaming Plus, a resource that features more than 155,000 dynamic digital learning objects that support all subject areas and learning styles, including videos, skill builders, games, audio files, images, writing prompts and encyclopedia articles, to enhance education in the classroom.
“At Talladega County Schools, our vision is to provide an engaging, rigorous curriculum empowering all students to be college and career ready,” said Suzanne Lacey, superintendent of Talladega County Schools. “Though our partnership with Discovery Education, our teachers enjoy access to high quality digital content that, when integrated into classroom instruction, creates the digital learning environments that support the development of the skills needed for success in our global society.”
Emeka Barclay, who teaches British literature, American literature and AP U.S. History at B.B. Comer Memorial High School, raved about the capabilities the partnership brings.
“In Discovery Ed, I can either project something for the entire class to view, or I can send them different videos (as a resource) to help them understand the lessons,” Barclay said. “I like the fact that Discovery Ed’s content is aligned with the state objectives. It also is helpful for students who aren’t visual learners because you’re able to get the transcripts from their videos.”
Both Comer High and B.B. Comer Memorial Elementary School students joined the countywide one-to-one student-to-computer initiative spearheaded by Lacey and board members in late August.
Barclay noted the MacBooks the students received have been a welcome addition to the classroom.
“The students have been very responsible with the (MacBooks),” Barclay said. “I’ve yet to have a kid who didn’t come to class with theirs not working, and I’ve never had a student who was off-task.”
As the landscape of education continues to evolve and more innovations are added to educators’ toolboxes, Comer High Principal Judson Warlick welcomed these new resources and the positives each brings.
“Discovery Education is such a wonderful resource and it’s a free online resource for the teachers,” Warlick said. “As they’re creating the strategic lessons, now they have the wonderful video clips they can get from Discovery Education to use as a resource in the classroom. We’re not limited as to the technology anymore because every teacher has instant access in their classrooms. It’s a wonderful tool.”
Warlick credited the county board of education’s efforts for its technology initiatives enabling virtually endless possibilities for the students.
“From the time that I started teaching — this is my 21st year in this system if you count my teaching experience — to compare then to now is like night and day,” Warlick said. “I would say back then, technology was the exception and not the rule. What we’re trying to do with our students at (Comer High) now, technology is the rule now. We’re trying to integrate the technology along with the learning, whereas in the past, the technology kind of supplemented the learning, if we even had the technology at all. The focus now is completely different.”
Gracie Wade, a junior at Comer High, welcomed the technological advances brought by Discovery Education and the use of the MacBooks.
“It’s unexplainable just how much easier (schoolwork) is, even though we’re given harder work,” Wade said. “It helps us become more college-ready.
“In our AP U.S. History class, we do a lot more note-taking because we have an opportunity to reach a college credit for the class,” Wade added. “It really pushes us because we’re not learning about the sugar-coated version of history (with Discovery Education). It’s what happened and not so biased compared to the textbooks.”