Company: Discovery Education (Discovery Communications, LLC), One Discovery Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910, 800-323-9084; Website: discoveryeducation.com/administrators/curricular-resources/science-techbook.
Price: Discovery Education Techbooks are licensed for 6 years per student and cost $38 per elementary student and $40 per middle school student. Social studies techbooks will be $48 when beta testing is completed. These are a much less expensive option than traditional textbooks, with additional savings from a lack of textbook replacement or inventory costs.
Audience: Science techbooks have been developed for K–12 students, with social studies topics available for middle school. Math is in the works.
Format: Discovery Education Techbooks are cloud-based and platform-agnostic. They work with nearly any digital tool, including iPads, tablets, mobile devices, laptops, or desktops. They are excellent when used with whiteboards for group or whole-class presentations. Techbook content is everything from video to ebooks with most types of digital information included and presented with several innovative approaches.
System Requirements: Since Techbooks are an online product with lots of visuals, better computers with faster internet speeds are needed. Both system requirements and the internet speed of specific computers can be checked online at the Discovery Education site by clicking Requirements” at the bottom of its webpage.
Description: Discovery Education Techbooks are a complete text solution that addresses each state’s Core Standards (currently available in 36 states), with a simple-to-use system that helps teachers transition to digital resources while substantially lowering district costs. This primary instructional resource provides dynamic, interactive resources that support the 5E model of instruction (engage, explore, explain, extend, and evaluate) with a variety of digital resources.
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|Ease of Use:||A|
Installation: Installation is a matter of ensuring equipment is correct, arranging subscriptions and access, and beginning. Installation Rating: A
Content/Features: If your schools are making or have already made the digital shift, the Techbooks are an excellent means of facilitating or continuing the process.
They are a cloud-based subscription de veloped to take the place of hard-copy textbooks using the inquiry-based 5E instructional model.
Techbooks are composed of more than 40 elements that include activities, animations, ebooks, images, interactive videos, quizzes, interactive modules, simulations, various tools, videos and virtual labs, and assessments. It also includes activities called “5-Minute Preps,” “Fun-damental,” and “Science Sleuths.” The K–2 version has additional activities developed specifically for that age group.
Discovery Education Techbooks are an outstanding tool for fueling or continuing the digital shift that every school needs to accomplish to take full advantage of student fascination with technology. They are a logical, well-designed approach that can save schools money in the cost of purchasing hard copy texts and can be a better resource as well. Content/Features Rating: A
Ease of Use: Techbooks are intuitive and will present few problems for experienced computer users. However, they are complicated. Teachers need to spend some time showing students how to use various components and may need to take advantage of Discovery Education’s extensive training resources. Ease of Use Rating: A
Product Support: Support is excellent, with online help, available phone and email support, and lots of training options. Product Support Rating: A
Recommendation: Everything Discovery Education does is excellent, and its Techbooks are no exception. These digital shift resources should be used in every school with enough technology to take full advantage of them. In fact, the money saved not purchasing hard copy texts could help fund the purchase of more hardware. Highly Recommended.
Reviewer: Charles Doe (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a 39-year teacher, including 10 years as elementary media specialist in Hastings Area Schools in Michigan. For the past 15 years, he has written articles and reviews for Internet@Schools.