wasting bandwidth since 1999

Testing Trumps Teaching Everytime

Our district subscribes to Discovery Education Streaming, an excellent collection of video and other resources for instruction at just about any level and for almost any topic.

We’ve made it available to teachers for a couple of years now and most of them love the materials and use the service constantly.

However, our IT department this week sent out a message asking that our middle and high schools not use the site from now until June 13th.

Because for the next month those students will be taking the state standardized tests (the SOL’s in our local vernacular) online and, when you have limited bandwidth, it must be reserved for high priority activities.

And nothing gets a higher priority in American education than testing.

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5 Comments

  1. We have Discovery Streaming (every teacher in Arizona has access to it), and have had the same problem. We aren’t actually ever suppose to stream from it at any time. It’s the same reason I’ve been told that YouTube is blocked. Our network just can’t support streaming.

    I hope that in IT’s email they gave directions on how to download the DS content (at least at home), and how to play it from the local machine or removable media instead of just streaming it. Your teachers would probably see better results with the site that way anyways.

  2. We block all Internet traffic during testing.

    Losing streaming video doesn’t sound so bad in comparison.

  3. Tim

    Some of our high schools place additional limits on use of the network during testing hours but I haven’t heard of any who block all traffic. Must be frustrating for tech savvy teachers who want to continue teaching.

  4. What if they download the program before or after school? At my campus most if not all the teachers download the programs when they write their lesson plans for the week. That way even if there is a problem with the network they can still show the video they were planning on.

  5. Ack! Wish I’d seen this post sooner! Cindy Lane just forwarded it to me. In case you didn’t know, I work for Discovery Education and we’ve got a whole bunch of options to help get around issues like that. Everything from flagging videos to be hosted locally so that they don’t put a strain on the network, to specifiying which videos you want and having them save to your desktop overnight. You can also specify specific hours during which streaming is disabled, just in case testing isn’t going on the entire day. It’s not my area of expertise, but there are definitely a few other options.

    I know it’s too late, but if you want me to put you in touch with someone who is really an expert on finding creative solutions to these sort of issues, just let me know! And yes, that goes for anybody else as well.

    Sorry this comes too late to help this year!

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