Discovery Education Streaming on the iPad

Ok, we've given a lot of love to Discovery Education Streaming (DES) this month, and rightfully so, perhaps. DES has a lot going for it, including a large collection of embeddable and downloadable video clips, a simple protocol for searching and organizing your content, and a feature rich quiz and assignment builder that links to students stored in your domain. This allows for numerous opportunities for individual learning, though a computer with an Internet connection is required. Would an iPad be a more convenient option? DES thinks so, especially with its newest web application.

Bye bye netbooks, hello iPads in the classroom?

On my home wireless network, I was up and running on DES' iPad site within seconds, and shortly after login, I streamed a video without delay. I loved how my school account was recognized, so no new credentials are needed for our teachers or students. I also appreciated a nice layout and design with the videos searchable by content area and sorted between full clips and video segments. I would assume that 1:1 iPad classrooms likely have wireless, so connection and streaming should be solid depending only on the environment. I experienced no slowdown on my home network. There is plenty of content available at your fingertips with over 30,000 results showing up in search. Planet Earth is prominently displayed, and I found several Mythbusters episodes and other popular Discovery Channel favorites. It is easy to imagine students getting immersed in video resources, browsing for enrichment, or supplementing for mastery. 

Oh yeah, there's no flash on the iPad.
Wait a second, where did my content go?

Unfortunately, as I've been writing a lot about all that DES offers, I'm now quick to realize what's obviously missing from this mobile version. First, there's over 80,000 videos available on the full site. Compared to 30,000 on the mobile site, selections have been reduced by over 50%. Hopefully, more of the older resources have been left behind. There's no opportunity to access your "My Content" from the full site, nor any easy way to store a bookmark or favorite a video. In fact, there's no possibility for a student to interact with classmates or the teacher as the quiz and assignment builder tools or absent. Since the accounts are all the same, I have to believe that it will be foreseeable for some of this to happen in the future, but I can also imagine and appreciate the labor that was spent making this mobile site possible. To that, I say DES on the iPad is a great addition to the short but growing list of reasons why Apple's tablet may eventually become a fixture in the classroom.  

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