In a shocking move that I think will seriously hurt the cause of technology integration and the promotion of digital literacy across the United States, Discovery Education last week informed about 100 regional field managers in the Discovery Education Network that they were being terminated as employees, and had 4 weeks of severance pay. This blog post on the official DEN blog gives more details, and many responses in the 80+ comments are heated and passionate.
My first contact with DEN was in March 2005 when I attended SITE and FETC in Orlando and participated in a local DEN meet-up with Will Richardson, Dean Shareski, Tim Wilson, Steve Dembo, and others. My thought at that time was: What a GREAT model the Discovery Education folks have come up with for DEN, to promote conversations and learning among in-service K-12 teachers. I thought at the time that DEN meet-ups and the digital DEN network provided an ideal chance for larger numbers of K-12 teachers to learn from each other and teach each other about digital education in the 21st century.
I am very sad to learn that Discovery Education has made this decision to fire so many (almost all apparently) of their DEN field managers. This comment posted to the DEN blog by Sonja Phillips reflects the importance of maintaining RELATIONSHIPS and people-to-people connections as we seek to promote the cause of engaged digital learning in schools:
By removing our field managers you have essentially unplugged the DEN. Our field managers made this network what it is today. They brought in the human factor as a contact person who was always there to guide you and help you on your journey. They empowered us to be better teachers and continue learning and applying new things. They were motivating and inspired us to reach higher. Karen Seddon and Danielle Abernethy went above and beyond and I will definitely miss working with them. To me, they were the face of Discovery and it won’t be the same without them. I feel like you have just taken my best friends away and I’m lost without them. This is truly a time of mourning for all DEN members.
Online learning and blended learning can be great, but we should not underestimate the value provided by human technology bridges– something I wrote about on the ITM blog a few weeks ago, and a role I think the DEN field managers filled quite well by most accounts.
This is an unfortunate decision also because of its timing, just before the Christmas holidays. All is not lost, but this is a major setback. 🙁 Best wishes for the DEN field managers now job hunting right before Christmas…..
For more on this, check out Eric Langhorst’s post and the thoughts of commenters on his blog. Eric also linked to an article about this in the Washington Post, titled “Discovery Cuts 84 Education Group Jobs.”
If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, subscribe to Wes' free newsletter. Check out Wes' video tutorial library, "Playing with Media." Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on wesfryer.com/after.
On this day..
- 10 Things I Learned Visiting Egypt - 2017
- An Invitation: Share #BobTaughtMe - 2015
- Results of Grade 4-5 Interactive Writing School Survey (Oct 2014) - 2014
- Introduce Students to Coding with Hopscotch for iPad - 2013
- Basic, Intermediate and Advanced MinecraftEDU Challenges - 2013
- Milk Carton Recycling and Composting in Maine - 2010
- Adding a Flickr Contact on Apple TV - 2010
- Professional Portfolio and Resume Ideas - 2010
- Share the gift of Doodle this holiday season - for FREE! - 2008
- Movie trailers for books - Too bad they are not cross-platform compatible or published to permit feedback - 2008