Computers and education are set to come together at Jackson Hole Middle School.
Teton County School District No. 1 announced earlier this month that it hired Discovery Education to create digital curricula for middle school classrooms. Discovery Education bills itself as “the global leader in standards-based digital curriculum resources for K–12 classrooms worldwide.”
The company creates digital “techbooks” that incorporate real-world examples for students and strategies for educators that help them implement the curricula.
District Information Coordinator Charlotte Reynolds said district teachers likely looked at several options before settling on Discovery Education.
“Whenever we choose any resource, we have teachers evaluate it,” she said. “They generally try at least a couple to evaluate the various offerings.”
The need for new curricula arose because the state of Wyoming instated new science and social studies learning standards that the school district has two more years to meet, Reynolds said. The Discovery Education curricula will be one piece the district uses to help students meet expectations.
“We’re aligning to the standards and prioritizing them so we can meet the requirements,” she said.
Discovery Education is a subscription service, so the district will pay an annual fee of $6,327 for each subject area. Using a subscription service means the district can continually look at Discovery Education’s curricula to see if they aid learners.
“Every year we evaluate the resources we are using to say, ‘Are these the best available to help our students meet the standards?’” Reynolds said.
The change in standards is meant to better prepare students by increasing their required skills and knowledge. As standards increase, curricula that are not only different but also more challenging are necessary.
“As the state puts out these new standards,” Reynolds said, “the rigor and expectations of students’ learning keeps getting higher. And that’s a good thing.”