Posts Tagged ‘Arne Duncan’

Discovery Education to Host Second Future@Now on February 26

February 21, 2014 | by akowalczyk

Future@NowOn Wednesday, Discovery Education will host Future@Now: Roadmap to the Digital Transition from 9am-5:30pm at Discovery’s headquarters here in Silver Spring.

Streaming live to a worldwide audience, this second annual event will focus on one of the most critical issues in education today – implementing effective, district-level digital transitions that prepare students for citizenship, college and careers.

At this year’s event, attendees will hear from a variety of education leaders about creating actionable roadmaps for transforming teaching and learning through educational technology, dynamic digital content, and job-embedded, sustained professional development. Speakers this year offering valuable insight include Sujean Lee, Vice President of Philanthropy at Chobani and Commander Brent Phillips, Director of Marketing & Outreach for the U.S. Navy Recruiting Command. The conference also will welcome educational leaders U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Congressman George Miller, sponsor of the Transforming Education through Technology Act to help lead the dialogue. Additionally, Superintendent of Schools Alberto Carvalho of Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance of Baltimore County Public Schools; Chancellor Kaya Henderson of District of Columbia Public Schools; and Superintendent of Schools/CEO Chris Kennedy of West Vancouver School District, Canada, will share their perspectives on the digital transitions they are leading in their school systems.

Panel discussions throughout the day will share with participants strategies they can implement as districts to create their own roadmaps for digital transitions.  Discussion topics will include how students are affected by the digital transition, how to plan for the transition, how to implement change and how to fully integrate digital resources into the classroom.

Wednesday’s conference will culminate with a virtual field trip, hosted by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, to a digital classroom in Washington, DC, as part of Discovery Education and the White House’s “Of the People” webinar series. “Of the People” offers middle and high school students unique access to White House professionals, experts and personalities in a series of 30-minute virtual events broadcast live from the White House and open to all classrooms nationwide.

For more information on Future@Now: Roadmap to the Digital Transition or to register, please visit And, throughout the day, join the conversation on Twitter using #FutureNow.

Removing Barriers to Digital Learning in the Classroom

March 30, 2012 | by aharris

Today’s guest post on Discovery Blog is from Bill Goodwyn, President of Global Distribution and CEO of Discovery Education at Discovery Communications.

Bill Goodwyn


On February 1, 2012, Digital Learning Day, Secretary Duncan and Chairman Genachowski challenged the country to complete the conversion from print textbooks to interactive digital learning within five years.

Yesterday, Secretary Duncan and Chairman Genachowski took the courageous next step of assembling the CEOs from the top 15 educational technology companies in the United States to talk about how to make that challenge a reality in classrooms across America.

At Discovery Education, we talk to many districts across the country every week – urban and suburban, small and large, those with traditional classrooms and those with digital classrooms – and through those conversations, we consistently hear that a few formidable barriers still exist for districts looking to deploy digital learning tools successfully.

While the education community is intimately familiar with these barriers, it’s important for the non-educational community to understand the obstacles so that every man, woman and child in our country can advocate for the changes that our schools need in order to propel this digital learning initiative forward.

Also, while there are certainly many complex and nuanced issues related to creating transformation in schools, the core truths can be boiled down in terms that are as simplistic as “four things my grandmother would have said.”

1. “Just because you give a dog a hammer, it doesn’t make him a carpenter.” Translation: Interactive tools without thoughtful integration into classrooms rarely lead to improved instruction…or elevated achievement.

2. “If you can’t afford a Hyundai, you definitely can’t afford a Cadillac.” Translation: Schools were suffering economic challenges when buying hard textbooks, and to raise the price point for digital textbooks will just throw our public educational system into further economic malaise.

3. “You can’t give a man shoelaces if he only owns slip-on shoes.” Translation: If we are committed to getting digital learning into the hands of students and teachers, we need to ensure that we are providing them with tools that work on the devices that they have access to.

4. “20th century laws can’t work for 21st century people.” Translation: While instructional materials funding was critical for providing equitable access to textbooks when it was instituted, the current wording and rules around these funds are preventing dollars from being used to provide students with equitable access to 21st century content. More flexibility is needed in funding policies in order for our students to benefit from content that provides up-to-date knowledge and information.

I applaud Secretary Duncan and Chairman Genachowski for being committed to moving these issues forward, and marshaling both public and private support to set into motion the critical elements that schools need in order to create successful, engaging, 21st century learning environments to prepare our children for the workforce of the future.

Technology & Education: From ‘Digital Corners’ to ‘Digital Classrooms’

February 2, 2012 | by aharris

Today’s guest post on Discovery Blog is from Bill Goodwyn, President of Global Distribution and CEO of Discovery Education at Discovery Communications.

Bill Goodywn


One of my colleagues told me that recent data suggests that generations are now measured in six-year increments. This means that your 16-year-old could conceivably belong to one “generation” and your 10-year-old to another…all based on the fact that new technology is introduced so rapidly that it fundamentally changes everything from their childhood games to their career prospects.

This has never been more clear to me as a core truth than when I visited the Mooresville, North Carolina Graded School District, where Superintendent Mark Edwards launched an ambitious digital conversion effort.  I saw empowered students using rich media to teach each other about the Civil War. 14-year-olds shared their understanding of the quadratic equation and its impact on their everyday lives.

I saw a truly “digital classroom.”

My, how the definition of a “digital classroom” can change in one “six-year generation.”

When my 14-year-old was in 3rd grade six years ago, a “digital classroom” was one that had a single computer loaded with Reader Rabbit and placed in the back corner so that it didn’t “interfere” with core instruction. A digital classroom in 2006 was often not a digital classroom at all, but a digital “corner.”

Fast forward to January 2012 and Apple’s recent announcement that it is entering the educational textbook market with the launch of iBooks Author, a free digital publishing tools that allows anyone to easily publish a digital textbook, and the launch of iBooks2, a new digital bookstore that allows for integration of multimedia objects into robust digital textbooks.

At Discovery Education, we were excited to hear that Apple was positively disrupting the educational landscape in a way that only a company as seismic and influential as Apple can. As my team and I listened to the announcement, however, we anticipated the conversations that would be on top of the minds of teachers and administrators:

In spite of the ongoing discussion about whether Apple’s digital textbook will be the definitive game changer for education, however, we have had one clear revelation: we believe it’s an important start.

And so do FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Chairman Genachowski and Secretary Duncan announced yesterday that they are deploying the “Digital Textbook Playbook”: a plan to accelerate the K-12 transition to digital textbooks and drive national adoption of digital textbooks in the next five years.

This momentum for the accelerated adoption of digital textbooks is clearly a force in the right direction. In the past year, digital textbooks have accounted for less than 5% of textbook sales. That means that America is still flush with digital “corners” in lieu of digital “classrooms.” The first step in converting these digital corners into digital classrooms is to deploy digital devices.

Remember when MP3 devices had a similarly low adoption rate? Enter the iPod. The revolutionary part about the Apple iPod being introduced into the MP3 market is that it didn’t just change the device that people had in their pockets – it changed the way that people fundamentally interacted with music. The iPod was the musical device that became a catalyst for changing the musical culture.

My hope is that the proliferation of digital textbooks – Apple or otherwise – in classrooms throughout America will have the same desired effect: the educational device will become a catalyst for changing the educational culture.

Discovery Education LogoThrough our partnerships with school districts across the country, it has become clear to us that there is not a proverbial silver bullet for educational transformation. Digital textbooks are one component of the solution. The only effective approach that actually delivers measurable outcomes to student achievement is a complex and interwoven tapestry of many touchpoints in the classroom. At Discovery Education, we have seen that one of the most critical touchpoints in accelerating student achievement is support for educators in integrating digital tools into their classrooms to enhance their lesson plans, teaching methodologies, student assessment strategies and development of individualized learning paths for students.

Until we help schools to deploy digital solutions that help to fundamentally revolutionize how teachers teach, assess, and personalize learning to each student’s needs, we will continue to see schools with modernized versions of a “digital corner” with a fraction of a classroom being digitized, rather than digital tools elevating every component of teaching and learning – from the moment teachers walk into the classrooms to the moment their kids leave for the day…moment by moment, lesson by lesson, interaction by interaction.

Yes, digital textbooks are certainly a start, but if we are truly interested in transformation, we have to take that start and carry it to the finish line. We need to ensure that the device gets the support that it needs to transform the culture. At the end of the day, we know that it will only be the pairing of digital tools with real support for educators that will impact student achievement.

One of my favorite quotes is from the renowned coach John Wooden: “Don’t ever mistake activity for achievement.”

Every day at Discovery Education, we live Wooden’s motto.

Our goal is not to “deploy a digital techbook” or “perform professional development.” These activities, without corresponding impacts to student achievement, are meaningless to that classroom and to the overall plight of U.S. education.

Instead, as we deploy our digital techbooks and work with teachers on how to use them to effectively enhance teaching and learning, we strive to make an impact on achievement.

When we partner our professional educators with the educational professionals who touch kids every day – whether in Florida or Indiana or Hawaii – we strive to make an impact on achievement. When we listen to the challenges that school districts face in education every day, and we partner with them to engage the disengaged and empower the engaged, we strive to make an impact on achievement. And when we see student achievement soar because our solutions have helped teachers to effectively integrate technology into their classrooms, we know that we haven’t just been mired in activity.  Together, we have achieved.

Teachers and parents, tell us what you think about Apple’s impact on education. What other initiatives have made an impact on your kids’ or students’ classrooms?