How to Celebrate Digital Learning Day
Leverage technology to boost student engagement and achievement.
By Andrea Ferrero
As February 6th approaches, thousands of teachers across the country are readying to celebrate Digital Learning Day. The event, which grew from an initiative to promote the integration of technology to support learning, is the culmination of a year-long campaign championed by the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Exploring Digital Learning
Digital learning can take many forms, from the use of a computer for research to an app that transports students through the solar system and back. Navigating the world of technology to find the best offerings for classroom implementation can seem a daunting task. The Digital Leaning Day website looks to simplify this by providing a range of resources that demystify the digital landscape:
- From Theory to Practice: It’s fun to pop a quiz into an interactive presentation, but moving from just utilizing technology to fully integrating it as a medium for achieving higher-order thinking is a big step. Examining proven instructional practices is a great way to assess the implementation of digital tools and hone in on instructional goals.
- Digital Learning in Action: Whether your just beginning to implement technology tools, or you’ve been enjoying the EdTech scene for years, successful models of technology integration in schools is sure to provide ideas for the future.
- Finding Just the Right Tool: Provided by the founders of Digital Learning Day, subject-specific toolkits share a range of resources and strategies for fostering digital learning in all environments.
The Benefits of Digital Learning
When technology is successfully integrated to support learning objectives, the benefits are endless. The following list explores some of these benefits, but also serves as a list of the characteristics of a strong digital learning program:
- New tools and gadgets boost pupils’ interest in content while supporting the development of crucial academic skills.
- Educators are able to personalize learning activities to support students’ individual learning needs.
- Online resources provide a myriad of ways to assess student’s learning and target specific improvement aims.
- Innovative approaches to learner-centered instruction are only a click away.
- The enormous diversity of resources and tools available provide multiple access points to high quality content that meet high standards for rigor and relevance.
- Pupils are able to deepen knowledge and draw connections with content through highly adaptive activity offerings.
- Formative assessment tools support teachers and students in reflecting and engaging in the learning process.
Ways to Get Involved
Getting involved in Digital Learning Day can be a great way to increase awareness to the benefits of digital learning and technology in the classroom. There are numerous ways to get it on the fun:
- Join the online community celebration on the Digital Learning Day site.
- Join a local or national Education Technology organization, such as the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
- Give pupils, parents, and fellow teachers the chance to reflect on the role of technology in learning. This can make a great topic for discussions, assemblies, and creative projects.
- View examples of digital learning in action and share some of your own online.
- Invite community members to discuss the use of technology in careers.
- Celebrate and honor pupils for digital learning successes.
Supporting Students Becoming Digital Citizens
The buzz of technology surrounds us all every day. As our access to technology grows, so to do the opportunities and risks these new tools provide. This reality creates a need for learners to gain an awareness and appreciation for the tools and online resources available. To support the development of this awareness, resources are offered on the topic of digital citizenship.
Digital Citizenship and Creative Content Curriculum Sponsored by Microsoft
All the wonderful tools for developing content to share online raise new questions regarding creative content and the rights associated with it. This expansive unit explores this topic in depth. After taking a pre-assessment and delving into a case study, “Battle of the Bands”, learners progress though a rich range of activities that serve to help them define intellectual property and creative content. With a strong comprehension of these terms, they begin to explore the rights of citizens in the digital world.
Easy access to online content brings to light new quandaries around intellectual property rights and the ethics of digital citizenship. This hearty unit tackles the topic of copyright law with a range of activities exploring legal rights in the creative process, the value of creative content, fair use, and more. Through an eye-opening exploration of choices we all face daily in the digital world, learners gain an appreciation for the content and rights of a digital citizen.
Digital citizens have a voice that can be sounded to protect creative works and the rights associated with them. Working towards the goal of developing a public service announcement for their peers on the topic of creative rights, pupils participate in a myriad of engaging activities. From a mock courtroom, to drafting letters asking for permission to use content, all sides of creative content rights are touched upon. The included assessments and step-by-step projects equip teachers and students alike with the tools to become well-informed change makers in the digital world.