NEW ROCHELLE, NY — Jeannine Shields, Instructional Technology Facilitator in the City School District of New Rochelle, recently joined over 100 fellow educators from around the world for the 2016 DEN Summer Institute (DENSI), an immersive, week-long professional development experience. A global community of education professionals supported by Discovery Education – the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) that 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. The six-day professional learning experience was held July 17-22 at Loyola University in Chicago, IL.
“It was an honor to be selected to attend the Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute, affectionately referred to as DENSI2016, again this year. I thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with DEN stars, about 150 global educators. It is wonderful to have either fostered previous friendships or develop new connections with teachers from across the US, Canada, UK, Antigua, Sweden, and Egypt,” said Ms. Shields.
During DENSI2016, Ms. Shields attended several workshops hosted by Discovery Education team members and presenters from the amazing community of DEN stars. She participated in focus groups with Discovery Education and their partners including Lockheed Martin and American Heart Association/ NFL Play 60 Challenge and others. She experienced several fascinating educational tools including virtual reality, green screens, coding and computational thinking, “BreakoutEDU” – solving challenges to literally unlock puzzles that involve collaboration and critical thinking to be successful as a team, a new digital scavenger hunt app called “Goose Chase”, “Bloxels” – a recently launched hands-on platform for digital storytelling through video game creation, and “Osmo” – interactive learning games where tangibles connect to ipad technologies.
Daily, the attendees explored another Discovery Education Spotlight on Strategies or SOS. These are teaching strategies that can enhance classroom practices. The SOS were created by members of the Discovery Educator Network with a passion to generate the work. So they are based on true classroom successes and best practices. Depending on teacher interest, SOS can be further impactful by using digital learning tools such as Discovery Education Streaming, which our district thankfully provides to teachers.
“Perhaps my favorite part of the professional development aspects of the conference was working with a small group of colleagues on the leadership council. Our project was developing suggestions for a future framework to possibly support STEM Virtual Fieldtrips. Discovery periodically provides amazing virtual field trip experiences during the school year. Similar to the SOS, these support resources will provide a jumping off point for teachers to bring engaging classroom activities to their instruction,” explained Ms. Shields. She continued by saying, “Participating in #DENSI2016 has refocused my view on the joy for engaged, connected, creative instructional practice. I look forward to bringing that joy back to the school district with me this fall. I look forward to spreading the joy throughout my school building and creating new joyful moments. Being connected to this group of outstanding global educators fuels me throughout the school year. This enables me to bring fresh, new ideas to the staff with whom I collaborate within our district.”
Participation in the DEN Summer Institute is open to educators recognized by Discovery Education.
“Jeannine’s selection for DENSI demonstrates her outstanding leadership and commitment to using the latest technologies and innovative teaching strategies and techniques to improve student achievement,” said Lance Rougeux, vice president of learning communities and innovation for Discovery Education. “Her participation in DENSI 2016 will help increase student engagement across the City School District of New Rochelle, and support her district’s effort to prepare all learners with the critical skills they need to succeed beyond the classroom.”