At Discovery, K-12 education’s lessons for community colleges

MOOCs were deemed less than ideal for community colleges.

Silver Spring, MD — In a room on the first floor of Discovery Communications, 50 community college leaders stomped their feet and shook their seats and tables.

In front of them, Discovery Education’s senior director of global learning initiatives, Hall Davidson, moved his lectern back and forth. An iPad sat in front of him displaying an app that works like a seismograph. A line began registering the vibrations with sharp jumps and dips.

“We’re actually moving the bar,” Davidson said over the rumble. “And that’s what we want to do in education.”

Dozens of community college administrators convened July 22 to learn and talk about ways technology and media can improve engagement and retention with what Discovery Education called “the digital student.”

As the organization has primarily worked with K-12 education — it’s the largest provider of digital content to those students — many of the strategies discussed are seen in some form in elementary and secondary schools.

Walter Bumphus, the president and CEO of the American Association of Community Colleges, which partnered with Discovery to present the event, said it’s important to look at and take cues from what K-12 is doing successfully, and vice versa.

“It’s critical to listen to each other,” Bumphus said. “We’re partners.”

The types of technology discussed at the event included digital textbooks, online polling services, and a variety of simple-to-use tablet and smart phone apps, including many that use augmented reality.

Discovery Education’s senior vice president Scott Kinney noted that a major discrepancy exists between how people learn and how educators teach.  To illustrate this, he polled the presidents in the room, asking them to select the method most of their instructors primarily use to teach students.

See Page 2 for details on what Congressman Rubén Hinojosa had to say about online education.

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