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Posted February 12, 2013

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High School Students, Teachers Share a Day of Discovery

Duos created Discovery Education lesson plans after day-long training session.

Members of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council invited teachers to join them for a little professional development on Tuesday, learning the ins and outs of the Discovery Education program recently implemented by APS.

Pairs of one student and one teacher from each of the district’s 17 traditional high schools and schools of choice spent the day doing research and learning how to make classroom lessons more interactive. Even the research was interactive, as the Discovery Ed trainers sent them on a digital treasure hunt for information.

“(Discovery) is like a one-stop shop for video clips, pictures and text. There’s so much out there,” Camille Gonzales said. Gonzales teaches English and AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) classes at Manzano High School.

Discovery uses interactive “techbooks” that can be updated in real time, providing more complete content than traditional textbooks. The interactive lessons are designed to better engage students in their learning. Over the next few years, students at all levels in science, social studies and health classes will transition to the techbooks, which are more cost effective than textbooks, coming in at about half the price.

“This changes school completely because this is hands-on,” said Hayne Arismendi, a student and SuperSAC member from Manzano. “This makes it easier to concentrate in class.”

Students and teachers alike expressed their amazement at the wealth of information available to them. Students have their own accounts, so they can log into the system on their own to review class material. By the end of the session, they created their own lesson plans using Discovery.

“We learn without even knowing we’re learning,” Arismendi said. “I will definitely use this myself.”

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