Digital Learning Day | News
Digital Learning Day Activities To Take Place Nationwide Feb. 6
More than 20,000 teachers and 4 million students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia will take part in the second annual Digital Learning Day, which takes place Feb. 6.
Digital Learning Day is a national campaign to promote digital literacy and spotlight successful instructional technology practices in the classroom. The event is organized by the Alliance for Excellent Education with support from fifty national core partners.
The main event is a Digital Town Hall, which will profile teachers, students, schools, and districts that are implementing innovative and successful digital learning strategies. The Digital Town Hall will broadcast live from the Newseum in Washington, DC and will be available through an online simulcast. Participants will include Secretary Arne Duncan from the United States Department of Education; Representative George Miller (D-CA), senior democratic member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce; U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President Todd Park; Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia; as well as teachers, students, and administrators from around the country.
Before the Digital Town Hall, more than 100 teachers from the Washington, DC area will participate in hands-on teaching and learning sessions at the Newseum. The sessions will cover approaches to digital learning and provide examples of interactive digital learning content and instructional strategies.
Educators and students across the country will also be holding their own local Digital Learning Day events, including:
- Students at Brookfield High School in Brookville, CT will demonstrate iPad apps and other digital technologies to parents and members of the community to showcase the school's 1:1 iPad program;
- Eighth-grade science students at Kearney Jr. High School in Kearney, MO will learn how to describe the workings of a computer to their grandparents, and they will also use the Web site futureme.org to send their future selves messages describing what they did for Digital Learning Day;
- Students at Spalding University in Louisville, KY will participate in "Flip the University," an event where students show faculty and staff their favorite apps and teach them how to use them;
- Stillwater Area Public Schools in Stillwater, MN will be hosting both face-to-face and virtual events to share K-12 projects and discuss professional development in technology integration for teachers;
- The National Center for Literacy Education in Urbana, IL will hold a special Digital Learning Day edition of its Guided Tour of the Literacy in Learning Exchange, which will highlight how the Exchange provides digital learning opportunities and resources for educators;
- Fourth-grade students at Mountain View Elementary School in Virginia are creating video commercials that showcase examples of technology in use at the school, and the commercials will air on the local morning news show leading up to Digital Learning Day;
- Ranson IB in North Carolina will offer parents tours of digital learning classroom activities and will host guest speakers about the state of digital learning today across the world;
- Parents of students in an after-school program at McKinna Elementary School in Oxnard, CA will be invited to a demonstration of how their children are using Scratch to make video games; and
- Beitel Elementary School in Laramie, WY is hosting a Family Tech Time event to demonstrate educational technology and provide advice about device security and staying safe online.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools had the largest number of teachers participating in last year's Digital Learning Day. This year, the district has created the Miami Dade Challenge, an official challenge to other large school districts to see which one can get the most teachers signed up to participate in Digital Learning Day. Districts that have taken up the challenge include Baltimore County and Prince George's County, both in Maryland, Chicago Public Schools, and Charlotte Mecklenberg Schools.
PBS LearningMedia conducted a national survey of preK-12 teachers on the impact of technology in the classroom. Three-quarters of teachers surveyed said that technology enables them to reinforce and expand on content, motivate students to learn, and respond to a variety of learning styles. More than two-thirds of teachers expressed a desire for more technology in the classroom, with that number growing to 75 percent in low-income schools. PBS LearningMedia is a free, media-on-demand service for classrooms featuring more than 20,000 digital assets from organizations such as The National Archives, NASA, and numerous PBS programs.
In support of Digital Learning Day, Google has offered some suggestions of ways teachers can incorporate technology in their classrooms using free apps from Google:
- For students working on long-term research projects, teachers can ask them to write their drafts in a Google document and share it with the teacher at different points before the final due date, so the teacher can provide feedback throughout the process;
- Students can use Google Maps in history, geography, or social studies classes to study places of interest by switching between map, satellite, terrain, and StreetView modes; and
- Teachers can access hundreds of thousands of videos on YouTube EDU from partners such as the Smithsonian, TED, Steve Spangler Science, and Numberphile for use in the classroom.
Further information about Digital Learning Day can be found at digitallearningday.org.
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at email@example.com.