Digital textbooks get a boost with new offerings

The lessons embedded throughout the Techbooks offer teaching strategies for different types of instruction, such as whole-group, small-group, or one-to-one.

Based on the feedback from districts that have implemented Discovery’s Techbook for K-8 science over the past school year, the company has integrated a number of enhancements.

“The Core Interactive Text path through the program is especially interesting,” said Campbell. “Our framework recognizes that coupling informational text with multi-modal content on the same topic, at varying reading levels, provides an unparalleled experience for 21st-century learners. As students are reading, interacting, listening, viewing, and analyzing content, they’re practicing skills that are critical for success in tomorrow’s workforce. We’ve also added more highlighting and note-taking tools, deeper Spanish-language content, and additional resource types promoting higher-order thinking skills.”

“Since School Town of Munster began using Discovery Education Techbooks, students’ problem solving and critical thinking skills have really improved,” said Maureen Stafford, director of program instruction and assessment for School Town of Munster, in a press release. “According to results from a national standardized achievement test, more than 45 percent of grade 8 students are now scoring in the top percentile in science. The opportunity to learn with multimedia tools raises the bar for all students as these resources reach all learning styles.”

Discovery Education also provides on-site and ongoing staff development to help teachers integrate the resources into their instruction, the company says.

The High School Science Techbooks feature interactive glossaries, explorations, informational text, and hands-on and virtual labs for addressing the following subjects:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Physics

The Middle School Social Studies Techbooks feature multimedia reference libraries; interactive maps, explorations, and activities; primary source documents; informational text; and model lessons for every concept. They include the following subjects:

  • United States History
  • World History
  • World Geography and Cultures

“Two simple words: Techbook or textbook? My students always answer Techbook,” said Jodie Hardenbrook, science lead at Odyssey Academy in Minnesota. “The Techbook gives me resources that are standards-based and visual. Even my struggling kids can get the major ideas that they can’t get looking at a book. When we are competing with Facebook and the internet and cable, it is even harder to motivate students and get them excited. Discovery makes adding some excitement to the classroom easy.”

According to Campbell, Discovery Education expects to release other subjects and grades levels of Techbooks in the future—some that could even incorporate student content creation rather than content consumption, broader tools for collaboration and sharing, and a broader application of non-traditional assessments and methods for scoring and tracking these enhancements.

Meris Stansbury

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