The S.C. Department of Education has purchased digital learning resources from Charlotte-based digital textbook and education resources company Discovery Education to support teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The department purchased four Learning Management Systems, a Learning Object Repository and a suite of digital learning resources, according to a news release.
Funding for the programs, totaling more than $15.3 million during a three-year period, is being provided through federal pandemic relief.
“The purchase of these three platforms and the seamless ability for every South Carolina teacher to access them and incorporate high quality content into their classroom instruction can be a game changer for our state,” S.C. Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said in the release. “COVID-19 has presented enormous challenges to teaching and learning but this digital platform will help level the K-12 education playing field this school year and beyond.”
A Learning Management System is a software framework through which education content is delivered and managed. Students and educators are assigned licenses to access content and complete assignments. The education department presented four platform options: Canvas, Schoology, Blackboard, and Google Classroom, with student and staff licenses fully funded by the state for the next three years.
A Learning Object Repository serves as a digital library of educational content, including Bill Nye: The Science Guy episodes and National Geographic documentaries, that can be shared through the learning management system. The education department chose SAFARI Montage, with access for every teacher paid for through 2023.
“The South Carolina Department of Education is providing every school district with a state Learning Object Repository chock full of high-quality digital educational video resources to support teachers, students and parents at home and in school during these challenging educational times,” Andrew Schlessinger, CEO and co-founder of SAFARI Montage, said. “This will go a long way to supporting educational equity throughout South Carolina by providing all public school students with easy access to the outstanding digital content they need for meaningful remote learning. All school districts will be able to customize the LOR for their own district to make sure many of their procured course digital resources are also accessible in one place.”
All S.C. students and teachers will also receive access to Discovery Education Experience, a collection of high-quality content, professional learning resources and digital lessons.
“Discovery Education is honored to be selected by the South Carolina Department of Education to support the education of K-12 students statewide,” said Anna Strassner, Discovery Education senior manager of education partnerships. “With our headquarters in nearby Charlotte, many of us at Discovery Education call South Carolina home and send our children to the state’s excellent schools. We look forward to working in our own community to bring our powerful, engaging digital resources to teachers and students statewide.”