Horry County Schools expands partnership with Discovery Education to support personalized digital learning initiative

Monday, February 3, 2014

Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content for K-12 classrooms, announced today an expansion of its partnership with Horry County Schools (HCS), South Carolina’s third largest school system and a member of Digital Promise’s League of Innovative Schools. Through this expansion, Discovery Education will support Horry County Schools’ new Personalized Digital Learning (PDL) initiative with engaging digital content and sustained, customized professional development.

Horry County Schools’ PDL initiative supports the district’s vision of being a premier, world-class school system in which every student acquires an excellent education and where schools are welcoming centers organized around high-quality teaching and learning. The district’s PDL initiative supports that vision by providing students individual pathways for learning and by enhancing each teacher’s ability to create customized student learning plans that are more engaging.

At the beginning of this school year, Horry County Schools launched the new 1:1 effort as part of the PDL initiative, distributing iPads to students in all of the district’s 11 middle schools. The program will expand to include all students in grades 3-12 over the next three years. To further support the district’s PDL initiative, HCS is now providing students in grades 6-8 access to the Discovery Education Science Techbook digital textbook, a fully interactive program with state-of-the-art lesson plans that can be used on any computer, laptop, or tablet. Since 2004, Horry County Schools has utilized both Discovery Education Streaming and Discovery Education’s professional development services to transform teaching and learning.

HCS is supporting its PDL initiative with job-embedded and ongoing professional development for both school leaders and teachers. This professional development focuses on integrating educational technologies into classroom instruction and developing school-wide practices and strategies to meet a variety of educational challenges. Discovery Education’s team of professional development experts are contributing to the professional development component of the PDL initiative by providing professional learning opportunities that concentrate on how to use digital content in HCS classrooms to differentiate and personalize learning.

“Personalized learning is the key to increasing student engagement and allows us to maximize the value each student receives by tailoring the learning based on a student’s needs, interests, and ability,” said Dr. Cindy Elsberry, superintendent of Horry County Schools. “Through the thoughtful implementation of our Personalized Digital Learning initiative, the Horry County School District is creating the authentic digital learning environments today’s students need for college, career and citizenship readiness.”

Discovery Education Science Techbook is built upon the 5E model of instruction, a non-linear curriculum pathway that promotes inquiry-based learning, enhances literacy and thinking skills, and improves student achievement through interactive digital lessons that bring science to life. The Techbook series is revolutionizing instruction by supporting multiple learning styles through interactive content that specifically appeals to digital learners and real-time updates that allow teachers to incorporate current events and cutting-edge thinking into their curricula.

In addition, Discovery Education Techbook digital textbooks offer built-in assessments that measure students’ progress and support individualized classroom instruction. Aligned to individual state standards as well as the Common Core State Standards, the Techbook series creates learning environments that promote collaboration, creativity, and participatory learning.

Discovery Education Science Techbook is cloud-based and works on any platform: iPads, tablets, mobile devices, laptops, and desktops. In addition, the model lessons embedded throughout the Techbook series provide teaching strategies for different classroom configurations, whether whole group, small group, or 1-to-1. Techbook digital textbooks are also a substantially less expensive option per student than a traditional textbook, with additional savings derived from a lack of textbook replacement or inventory costs.

“We are thrilled to support Horry County Schools’ Personalized Digital Learning initiative,” said Discovery Education director Rob Warren. “The PDL initiative illustrates Horry County Schools’ continuing commitment to providing a premier education to their students, and we look forward to continuing to support their efforts in the future.”

In addition, the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) will continue to support HCS educators in their efforts to transform students’ learning experiences with digital media. A global community of education professionals, the DEN 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.

For more information about the Discovery Education Techbook series or other services and resources from Discovery Education, visit www.discoveryeducation.com/techbook.

About Discovery Education

Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content that supports the implementation of Common Core, professional development, assessment tools, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Available in over half of all U.S. schools, community colleges and in 50 countries around the world, Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that accelerate academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.