Discovery Education Acquires Mystery Science

Discovery Education—the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms—today announced the acquisition of the popular K-5 science and STEM curriculum Mystery Science. Created in San Francisco, California, Mystery Science is used in more than 50% of United States’ elementary schools each month. Terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition of the Mystery Science curriculum supports Discovery Education’s ongoing effort to keep students and teachers connected to curiosity. Mystery Science will complement Discovery Education’s other successful digital services supporting science education, which include Discovery Education Experience, the Science Techbook series, and STEM Connect.

“The extraordinary team developing and delivering Mystery Science to students across the country share Discovery Education’s dedication to helping students understand and make sense of the natural world around them,” said Discovery Education President of K-12 Education, Scott Kinney.  “Like educators and students nationwide, we deeply admire Mystery Science, and we look forward to adding it to our existing suite of award-winning digital resources currently supporting instruction in classrooms everywhere.  Together, we are better positioned to deepen our impact by providing all learners endless opportunities to investigate real-world problems, uncover understanding, inspire innovation and pursue unlimited possibilities.”

Mystery Science features ready-to-teach multimedia science and STEM lessons for K-5 students. Each lesson begins by posing a question commonly asked by young students, which is followed by a series of brief videos and prompts used to guide class discussion. The lesson concludes with an activity incorporating basic supplies commonly found in a classroom or at home.

Mystery Science lessons cover a wide range of questions children wonder about, including Where do rivers flow? Could a volcano pop up where you live? Why do the stars come out at night? and How far can a whisper travel?

“Mystery Science was created to help educators turn the conventional approach of answering children’s questions on its head,” said Doug Peltz, Co-Founder of Mystery Science. “Keith Schacht and I wanted to unlock student curiosity by helping students explore the world around them through a unique inquiry method. Our core goal, also shared by Discovery Education, is to help as many educators as possible nurture students’ natural curiosity through the Mystery Science resources, and we look forward to expanding our impact together.”

“Mystery Science has always been dedicated to helping children stay curious,” said Keith Schacht, Mystery Science Co-Founder. “We’re incredibly excited by the opportunity to reach even more children in classrooms with Discovery Education.”

K&L Gates LLP served as counsel to Discovery Education in connection with the transaction, and Fenwick & West LLP served as counsel to Mystery Science.

Mystery Science is Discovery Education’s latest acquisition. In August of 2019, Discovery Education announced the purchase of Inspyro and in July of 2020, Discovery Education acquired Spiral.

For more information about Discovery Education’s digital resources and professional learning services, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Twitter and LinkedIn.


About Discovery Education 

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms. Through its award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia resources, and the largest professional learning network of its kind, Discovery Education is transforming teaching and learning, creating immersive STEM experiences, and improving academic achievement around the globe. Discovery Education currently serves approximately 4.5 million educators and 45 million students worldwide, and its resources are accessed in over 140 countries and territories. Inspired by the global media company Discovery, Inc., Discovery Education partners with districts, states, and like-minded organizations to empower teachers with customized solutions that support the success of all learners. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

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3 ways to bring equity to STEM education

STEM education is essential even if students don't pursue STEM careers--here are some strategies to make it more accessible and equitable for all students

Progress for the STEM education movement must continue to improve, especially for students in underrepresented communities hard hit by COVID-19. We know that STEM-related education holds opportunities for students, but STEM learning must become more evenly distributed.

It’s imperative that we address barriers to STEM education now so that students won’t suffer later. Here are three ways we can bring equity to STEM education.

1. Prioritize educator support

Educators, like their students, are constantly learning. If we want to support every student, we must first ensure that teachers are equipped to do so. Every educator should have access to tools and support to grow.

Related content: 3 ways to teach STEM in a blended environment

Engage in key topics, like STEM and interdisciplinary learning, with the all new professional development eLearning series delivering teaching strategies that focus on student-centered approaches to learning, with the goal of connecting all students – especially those from underrepresented populations – to success in school and beyond.

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Three critical steps to online learning success

With an air of uncertainty hanging over the current school year, this three-step process will help teachers and students achieve success in the online learning environment

COVID-19 has shown us that online learning is beneficial in many ways. We know schools face many difficult decisions that may change throughout the semester and school year. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air as teachers and administrators adjust to this “new normal” and strive to maintain nurturing, engaging learning environments.

Nonprofit online provider VHS Learning has developed a three-step plan that allows teachers to seamlessly deliver curriculum under any circumstances. With the curriculum and structure in place, teachers can carry over the same organizational processes week-by-week, no matter how many pivots and changes are made as the year progresses.

Related content: A data-driven look at COVID learning loss

Here are three steps that schools can use to ensure a high degree of online learning success:

1. Find the right online learning platform. Don’t just settle for what’s put in front of you. With our online provider, schools and students in middle and high school can choose from over 220 unique courses that include core & elective requirements, make-up credits, and 24 Advanced Placement® (AP®) courses.

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Startups in Los Angeles are helping remote learning

While the global pandemic has disrupted almost every industry, some businesses are experiencing accelerated growth during the crisis, according to the LA Business Journal.

The education technology sector, which has a significant footprint in Los Angeles, is among the categories seeing sizable gains.

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High School Students Dive into Media Production

Media production with help from digital resources and AJA Gear

For the last few decades, U.S. school curriculum has centered on college preparation, but in recent years, parents, teachers and administrators have begun advocating for the inclusion of more professional skills-based training. Their vision is quickly becoming reality as more high schools invest in the technology and instructional staff to support more career-minded education, ranging from 3D animation to masonry, robotics and more. According to Texas-based AV Systems Integrator Digital Resources, one such field that’s drawn interest from the education community is news production and live event AV.

Year on year, the company continues to see new clients requesting sophisticated on-campus studio builds that incorporate real-world media production equipment from companies like AJA Video Systems. Schools then harness the facility and equipment to train students on how to deliver daily news casts from start to finish, with students serving as the production crew, news anchor team, director/technical director and floor director. In addition to learning the tools and roles of the trade, they’re taught how to write story scripts; achieve the right voice quality, diction and timing; performance and pacing techniques; and more.

Prosper Rock Hill High School in Frisco, TX is one of the many high schools embracing this methodology, and with help from Digital Resources, recently built a cutting-edge TV studio that its students use to produce and broadcast a live daily news show campus-wide. Similarly, Northwest Independent School District (ISD) in Fort Worth, TX, is using its Creative Media Production Academy, built by Digital Resources, to train students in 3D animation, live event production, broadcast, and more. Some students from the program have gained such valuable experience that they’ve gone on to land positions assisting proAV management for collegiate athletics and professional sports productions post-graduation. With educational outfits like Prosper Rock and Northwest ISD continuing to demonstrate the value that early media production training can provide, Digital Resources expects more districts and campuses to follow in their footsteps.

Digital Resources takes a carefully curated approach to each project, selecting each piece of gear through the design and build process to ensure it meets the school’s needs. “Whether a student plans to go to college or enter the workforce after high school, there’s value in getting on-the-job experience, and there’s no better way to learn the tools of the trade than in a real-world setting,” shared Tim Bock, director of marketing and sales, Digital Resources. “We’re helping schools bring that broadcast studio experience to the classroom, including all the standard production equipment, and AJA gear is always a part of our designs. It’s a staple in most modern studio environments, easy for students to learn quickly, and highly affordable, which is ideal for schools with tight budgets.”

A number of factors influence each of Digital Resource’s designs, including space, budget, instructor knowledge level, existing architecture and infrastructure. Although each setup varies, all studio blueprints feature a range of cameras, lighting, teleprompters, and custom set designs. A majority of the equipment is housed in an on-campus control room outfitted with Gigabit Ethernet and Fiber. There students can monitor every part of the production from graphics to credits and switching. As most schools currently produce and deliver in 1080p, Digital Resources incorporates two AJA Ki Pro Ultra 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD recording devices into each facility plan – one for master recording and playback and another for ISO recording. An AJA HELO H.264 streaming and recording device is also standard for streaming content to the school’s website and social platforms like Facebook Live, while an AJA KUMO 1616 router is included for routing signals in and around the studio without any degradation.

Bock concluded, “Flexible, reliable, and plug-and-play gear is our go-to, which is why we continue to use Ki Pro Ultra. Schools love that they can create, record and deliver HD, 2K and 4K out of the box, and that post-show, they have instant edit-ready files to pass off to students training in post with tools like Avid, Adobe Premiere, or Final Cut Pro X. Likewise, HELO packs a ton of functionality into a small box, plus it provides a simple backup recording for archival simultaneously to its live stream, and KUMO is ideal for testing and measuring signals. Our AJA gear solves a host of challenges in the production pipeline, so that schools and students have less to worry about and can devote more focus to making fun, creative content.”

About AJA
Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high quality, cost effective products to the professional broadcast, video and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

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VuWall Introduces Multi-Video Wall Control and AV Distribution

VuWall pioneers a disruptive hybrid technology that bridges AV, IT and IP systems now embedded in VuWall's entire ecosystem of products

VuWall, a technology leader in video wall control systems and unified visualization solutions, today announced the introduction of their new VuTrex™ technology, the first of its kind to bridge AV, IT and IP systems to manage and control any visual content across any type of display or video wall. VuTrex is now embedded in each component of the VuWall ecosystem of products. Its unique hybrid and standards-based approach enables seamless interoperability between all devices.

VuTrex is the architecture and methodology that is at the core of every software component in the VuWall ecosystem, bringing efficiency to the entire video wall management workflow. VuTrex is responsible for the ecosystem’s interoperability, expandability and simple configuration, without the need for programming.

“Video walls are becoming present in all work spaces, and they are now an integral part of most AV installations. Our customers face many challenges when it comes to handling AV and IT content, and big data,” said Paul Vander Plaetse, CEO of VuWall. “After several years of intense development, we are proud to bring a unique and disruptive technology to the market that will overcome those challenges and help integrators reduce integration time, reduce project risk and future-proof their end users’ investment.”

Next week’s release of TRx 3.0, VuWall’s Centralized Management Platform, will be the first-to-market offering of a single software platform that can distribute AV-over-IP content and provide advanced video wall management and control. Its redesigned architecture, powered by VuTrex technology, can manage multiple sources in any source format and easily route them to single displays or multiple video walls, without any programming.

VuTrex is also embedded in VuWall’s hardware components, including its flagship VuScape video wall controller and the VuStream series of encoders and decoders, giving customers a turnkey interoperable ecosystem for all their visualization needs.

To learn more about VuTrex, visit https://vuwall.com/products/vutrex/.

About VuWall
VuWall, a global technology leader in video wall control systems and unified visualization solutions, has pioneered a new disruptive hybrid technology, VuTrex™, that bridges AV, IT and IP systems to seamlessly manage and control visual content throughout organizations. VuWall delivers a state-of-the-art ecosystem of video wall controllers, encoders, and decoders — all managed by their unique TRx Centralized Management Platform, eliminating the complexity of traditional video wall control and signal distribution over IP, without any programming. VuWall is recognized for its innovative solutions that increase productivity and enhance visualization experiences in control rooms and corporate work spaces. The VuWall ecosystem, powered by VuTrex technology, sets a new industry benchmark in ease of use and deployment for the most effective distribution of any source to any type of display in professional and mission-critical applications. Its award-winning solutions power more than 2,000 video walls in some of the world’s most prestigious Fortune 500 companies in more than 45 countries. VuWall is headquartered in Montreal, Canada, with European offices in Tübingen, Germany. www.vuwall.com

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BetterLesson and Adobe release 300+ strategies for creativity, student engagement

Instructional expertise meets creativity software to provide educators with actionable ideas

As educators across the country work tirelessly to provide engaging lessons in new and ever-changing environments, there are still understandable concerns about low student engagement, low teacher morale, and a lack of professional development to meet teacher and students’ needs.

To support educators with student-centered learning, BetterLesson and Adobe have teamed up to create 325 free instructional strategies that build creativity, collaboration, and communication skills using products in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. The strategies span middle school to higher education contexts, across a variety of subjects including math, science, social studies, and literacy.

Each strategy was created by an experienced educator, selected and supported by BetterLesson through their “Master Teacher Project” model. Thirty-three educators from across the United States (and two from abroad) met in Professional Learning Communities and received targeted feedback on their strategies from veteran instructional coaches.

“We’re excited about what these powerful instructional strategies can unlock for students,” said BetterLesson COO Erin Osborn. “Creative Cloud offers fresh, concrete avenues for drawing students’ fuller selves into their learning experiences; enabling more creative and authentic ways to make learning visible. And that engagement matters more than ever with remote learning. We’re thrilled to collaborate with Adobe to bring this trove of resources to teachers and students right now.”

Sample strategies include Design a Resume for a Historical Figure with Adobe InDesignClose Reading Through Poetry with Adobe AcrobatMapping the Character Archetype with Adobe Spark Post, and STEM Explained to Anyone with Adobe Premiere Rush. Most strategies contain videos, and all feature guidance for teachers and students, links to supporting resources, and student assessment rubrics. Many schools have purchased, or have free access, to Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Spark, and Creative Cloud. Acrobat Reader is free for all, and Adobe Spark is free for all schools, educators, and students and can be deployed at the school or individual class level.

As educators adjust to distance learning, hybrid learning, or modified in-classroom environments, it’s crucial that we support them to design high-level projects that build crucial skills, leverage technology, and motivate students to love learning.

For more information click here.

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The gender gap persists in computer science education

A multiyear study shows increasing interest in computer science education, though retention of minorities and female students remains a challenge

K-12 educators and parents still hold computer science education in high esteem and believe it is a core component of students’ future success, according to the latest research from Gallup and Google.

While parents in every demographic believe computer science is important for their own child to learn, Black parents and guardians in particular (78 percent) agree that learning computer science is important or very important for their children.

Related content: 6 strategies to engage girls in computer science

Sixty-two percent of parents and guardians say it’s likely their child will need computer science knowledge for a future career–consistent with findings from previous Google and Gallup studies on this topic.

Educators believe computer science education plays an important role in students’ futures–superintendents (75 percent), principals (73 percent), and public school teachers (66 percent) say offering computer science is just as important as offering core curricular subjects.

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Strategies to meet the needs of deaf learners

One-size-fits-all education doesn’t apply when it comes to deaf learners--here's how to consider their background and past experiences when forming an educational plan

At the beginning of each school year, teachers often take the time to get to know their students—their favorite subjects, their goals, their families, etc. With hard-of-hearing and deaf learners, though, many educators stop and let that one characteristic define the student and the student-teacher relationship.

But in the edWebinar “Deaf Learners: Designing Practice to Support Their Learner Variability, Culture, and Families,” sponsored by Digital Promise, the presenters explained why educators need to dig deeper and understand all of the factors influencing the student’s motivation and interest in learning.

First, in order to develop an education plan for hard-of-hearing and deaf learners, teachers must learn about the student’s language background. Without understanding the student’s foundation, the teacher won’t be able to develop appropriate lessons.

Related content: 8 learning apps for students with special needs

Potential survey questions include:

● Were they born with any level of hearing? What’s their exposure to auditory language?
● At what age did the student start using sign language, if at all? Does anyone sign at home?
● How many languages are used at home? For instance, some families speak Spanish, English, and American Sign Language (ASL).
● What’s the student’s exposure to phonology, both auditory and visual?

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Renaissance Launches Major Updates to Star Spanish Assessments

The new release promotes greater equity and the first-ever authentic K–12 learning progression for Spanish

Renaissance, the global leader in pre-K–12 education technology, has enhanced Star Spanish, its assessment platform for students who speak, or are learning to speak, Spanish, with new reports and the first authentic K–12 learning progression for Spanish available in the country.

Star Assessments are available in both English and Spanish in order to give educators insight into the abilities, skills, and progress of emergent bilinguals, dual-language learners, and immersion students.

“We’re so excited to be able to offer educators the tools they need to uncover student understanding and track learning progress for students who speak Spanish,” said Doris Chávez-Linville, Director of English Learner Innovations at Renaissance. “Educators are experts at removing barriers, and we’re thrilled to help them take an asset-based approach to bilingualism, where the focus is on what students know and can do, and how educators can build on this.”

La progresión de la lectura de Renaissance, the new learning progression, is neither a translation nor a trans adaptation, but an empirically validated, standards-agnostic tool that offers a true reflection of Spanish reading and identifies what students know and what they are ready to learn next.

Renaissance also released a learning progression aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in Spanish and plans to release versions for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) en Español and the California CCSS en Español next month. In addition, Renaissance is releasing Focus Skills for Spanish.

Star Spanish offers new reports, which educators can choose to generate in either English or Spanish. Student growth percentiles are available in Growth Reports, Consolidated Assessment Proficiency Reports, and My Created Reports for Star Early Literacy Spanish for students in grades K–3, and Star Reading Spanish and Star Math Spanish for students in grades 1–8. Progress-monitoring for students in need of intervention is also now available in Star Spanish.

For more information, visit www.renaissance.com.

About Renaissance
As a global leader in assessment, reading, and math solutions for pre-K–12 schools and districts, Renaissance is committed to providing educators with insights and resources to accelerate growth and help all students build a strong foundation for success. Renaissance solutions are used in over one-third of US schools and in more than 100 countries worldwide. The Renaissance portfolio includes Star Assessments, for reliable, accurate insights into K–12 student learning; myIGDIs, for accurate assessment of early learning; myON, to increase students’ access to high-quality reading materials; Accelerated Reader, to support independent reading practice; Freckle, for teacher-led differentiated instruction; and Schoolzilla, to give educators actionable insights into trends in student attendance and achievement. For more information, visit www.renaissance.com.

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