End of Year Update from Kids Discover

by KIDS DISCOVER

Every year when the middle of June rolls around, it seems we lift our heads up a bit in astonishment that the school year is almost over. Some of you are finished for the year already. Some of you are riding out the busiest and most chaotic week of the year. But despite the challenging days, moments, and events we all experience throughout the entire school year, one constant generally prevails: every year seems to go by faster than the one before it. I hope this has been a rewarding school year for you thus far, and that you’re excited for some much needed and well-earned recovery time this summer.

Since March, the entire team here at Kids Discover has been laser-focused on improving the Kids Discover Online experience. Despite the overwhelming amount of positive feedback we’ve received over the last couple of years since launching our online platform, a lot of opportunities have emerged to improve the experience for both educators and students.

This doesn’t just mean adding new features to the platform (which I’ll get to in a minute). It means paying close and special attention to the ways in which Kids Discover Online is used in (and out) of the classroom. Often times, making subtle, and rather simple tweaks to the platform’s layout and design yield big improvements. We believe that a great user experience is one that’s simple, straightforward, and easy-to-use. Whether you use Kids Discover Online with your students daily, or you choose to register for an account this coming Fall for the first time, we want your experience to be a positive one.

So over the next several months, be on the lookout for subtle changes and improvements to Classroom, Assessments, Search by Standards, and Discover Mode. And for our fast-growing groups of Chromebook and tablet users, you’ll see improvements to Kids Discover Online’s layout.

Subtle changes to Kids Discover Online’s Classroom tools (shown here) will improve navigation and ease-of-use.

Subtle changes to Kids Discover Online’s Classroom tools (shown here) will improve navigation and ease-of-use.

In addition to these smaller improvements, I wanted to take the time to share some exciting new features and content we’ve been working on, and will be rolling out over the next 6 months.

First up (and at the top of the list), we recently updated our Privacy Policy. Kids Discover makes an effort to keep the amount of data we collect on our users to a minimum. We also make strong efforts to protect and secure the data we do collect. We encourage our users to read our full privacy policy, along with a summary of highlights, here.

Next up, we’re working on releasing read-aloud functionality for Kids Discover Online. This will enable students to highlight a text passage, and prompt the selected text to be read out loud by the platform. This has been one of the most highly requested enhancements to Kids Discover Online since we launched the platform, and we are so excited to be getting close to rolling it out.

Also, we’ve got a whole bunch of new Units that are launching in time for back-to-school, including Climate, Shelter, Vikings, Marco Polo, The Gold Rush, Byzantine Empires, and Hawaii, just to name a few. All with 3 Lexile Reading Levels, and enhanced with video, and animated diagrams. Look for the first batch to release in time for August 1, with additional new Units releasing throughout the Fall months.

This article on Climate and Vegetation, from our upcoming Unit on Climate, helps explain why more rain falls on the western sides of California’s coastal mountain ranges than on the eastern sides.

This article on Climate and Vegetation, from our upcoming Unit on Climate, helps explain why more rain falls on the western sides of California’s coastal mountain ranges than on the eastern sides.

Additionally, look for improvements to the student experience within Kids Discover Online. We’re exploring ways that will enable students the ability to create their own custom reading lists and folders of content. With so many students using Kids Discover Online for research and Project-Based Learning, we’re working hard to improve their ability to use KDO independently.

Finally, on a personal note, we get a lot of requests to see photos of Bowie. If you haven’t heard of him before, he’s Kids Discover’s Director of Quality Assurance, and my beloved Mini-Goldendoodle.

Bowie, Kids Discover’s Director of Quality Assurance, takes a break at Kids Discover’s offices in New York.

Bowie, Kids Discover’s Director of Quality Assurance, takes a break at Kids Discover’s offices in New York.

Bowie is gearing up for a busy August, when he’ll be balancing a surge in back-to-school user activity, and his new responsibilities as an older brother, as my wife Emma and I anticipate the birth of our first child. Emma has been feeling great, and we couldn’t be more thrilled for parenthood. If you have any parenting tips, tricks, or well wishes, feel free to send me an email here.

From the entire team here at Kids Discover, thanks again for another great school year. We hope you have a wonderful summer!

Best,

Ted Levine

President & CEO