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Digital Learning Day Lessons in Action on The Hunger Games & Inquiry-Based Research Projects

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Posted:
January 31, 2013 05:33 pm

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Calling all Educators!

To help educators celebrate Digital Learning Day, the Alliance for Excellent Education is pleased to offer Digital Learning: Lessons in Action, which incorporate multiple strategies with digital learning, such as collaboration, personalized learning, project-based learning, flipped classrooms, virtual access to experts, and simulations.

We encourage you try one of these lessons and blog about it as we lead up to Digital Learning Day. Join the tens of thousands of educators who will tailor these lessons for use in their classrooms on Digital Learning Day and beyond.

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Afternoon announcements: Digital learning grows education markets

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Posted:
January 30, 2013 07:01 pm

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In order to combat the national high school dropout race, the U.S. needs to consider some policy changes. Among the changes proposed in a new paper from the National Education Policy Center at the School of Education, University of Colorado-Boulder is implementing responsible accountability systems tied to dropout rates and considering factors in and out of school that impact high school completion. Education Daily

A New Mexico bill allowed high school students in one year to receive a “reprieve” from a rigorous graduation exam. The state’s graduation rate went up this year, in large part because the exam wasn’t required. Santa Fe New Mexican

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Lessons in action: Student book reviews blogging, visual book reports, and SAT comic strips

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January 30, 2013 05:15 pm

Calling all Educators!

To help educators celebrate Digital Learning Day, the Alliance for Excellent Education is pleased to offer Digital Learning: Lessons in Action, which incorporate multiple strategies with digital learning, such as collaboration, personalized learning, project-based learning, flipped classrooms, virtual access to experts, and simulations.

We encourage you try one of these lessons and blog about it as we lead up to Digital Learning Day. Join the tens of thousands of educators who will tailor these lessons for use in their classrooms on Digital Learning Day and beyond. Try a lesson now!

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Flipped Classrooms: The realization of 21st century digital learning?

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Posted:
January 30, 2013 05:04 pm

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The following guest blog post comes from Caroline McCullen, the Director of Education Initiatives at SAS Institute.

So here we are. After years of talking about how to prepare students for success in the 21st century, we are now more than a decade in. But we still struggle with the same old challenges in education: “How can we effectively integrate technology into the classroom?” and “How can we provide all teachers with quality digital resources?”

A more relevant concern might be, “Why do we still have classrooms in which students rarely use digital resources?” or “Why are we surprised that students lack motivation when many schools still use old modes of communication, adhere to policies that limit or prohibit access to Internet resources and use printed materials that are outdated before they ever leave the publisher?”  More importantly, where are resources and assistance for schools wishing to address these issues and move toward 21st century learning?

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Digital Learning Series

Afternoon announcements: Magic as education tool

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January 29, 2013 09:21 pm

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This “Pep Talk” video from “Kid President” has gotten over 1,000,000 views – talk about going viral! Have you seen it? It’s a must watch. “We’ve got work to do – we can cry about it, or we can dance about it.” YouTube

Magic isn’t just for entertainment anymore – it’s for education. Kevin Spencer, a magician, is bringing magic to students – particularly those in physical rehabilitation. News Herald

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Valerie Greenhill: Three technology uses for teachers

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Posted:
January 29, 2013 04:17 pm

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The following guest post comes from Valerie Greenhill, Chief Learning Officer at EdLeader21.

As we celebrate Digital Learning Day, I’m impressed at how far we have come as education technology advocates in the last 15 years. We’ve long blown past the “technology is a silver bullet” mindset; most of us now focus on the (tougher, but more compelling) issue of how technology can best support each student’s ability to learn and succeed.

My personal story reflects this evolution. When I started out in ed tech in 1996, I thought technology itself would be the driver of necessary changes in education. Students would pursue individual, self-paced instruction, unbounded by time and place. They would become more engaged, self-directed, critical thinkers. Teachers’ creative instincts would be unleashed. It would all be terrific.

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Digital Learning Series, Gear: Curriculum & Instruction, Gear: Data & Assessment, Gear: Teaching & Professional Learning

Lessons in action: Powerful blog comments and jigsaw plot development

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Posted:
January 29, 2013 02:58 pm

Calling all Educators!

To help educators celebrate Digital Learning Day, the Alliance for Excellent Education is pleased to offer Digital Learning: Lessons in Action, which incorporate multiple strategies with digital learning, such as collaboration, personalized learning, project-based learning, flipped classrooms, virtual access to experts, and simulations.

We encourage you try one of these lessons and blog about it as we lead up to Digital Learning Day. Join the tens of thousands of educators who will tailor these lessons for use in their classrooms on Digital Learning Day and beyond. Try a lesson now!

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Afternoon announcements: Seattle teachers boycott over standardized test

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Posted:
January 28, 2013 09:37 pm

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In an effort to ensure students are ready for college and a career, Fairfax County is offering a program to educate eighth graders in money management. The Junior Achievement financial literacy exercise is offered at Finance Park. Washington Post

Teachers in Seattle are boycotting over Washington state’s mandated standardized tests. The protest is spreading and gaining support across the country, including from unions. Washington Post

The wording in a new Department of Education guidance on disability rights has some confused and questioning the intent. Did the Education Department really invent a right to wheelchair basketball? Politics K-12

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Community partnerships key to successful digital learning transitions

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Posted:
January 28, 2013 07:43 pm

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Huntsville, Alabama is one of an increasing number of cities that has embraced a transition to digital learning in one or more of their school districts. Some of these transitions across the nation appear seamless and show effortless improvement in academic achievement. Others are bumpier. What makes a successful transition?

Michael Robbins, a Huntsville native and senior advisor for nonprofit partnerships at the Department of Education, believes the foundation of a successful transition to digital learning is community and family partnerships. In a new blog post for Homeroom, the Department of Education’s blog, he outlines the four key areas of collaboration between community organizations, including faith-based organizations, and school districts: expanding access and digital literacy; bridging between schools, families, and communities; service and volunteering in education; and creating new avenues for anytime-anywhere learning.

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Digital Learning Series, Gear: Academic Supports, Gear: Use of Time
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How Oregon is Using Technology and Digital Learning to Reach Its Education Goals

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Posted:
January 28, 2013 04:11 pm

Bob Wise Headshot_1_2 - Welcome to the alliance

Oregon’s leaders have set ambitious goals for 2025: Ensure that 40 percent of Oregonians earn a bachelor’s degree or higher; 40 percent earn an associate’s degree or postsecondary credential; and the remaining 20 percent earn a high school diploma or its equivalent.

At a recent event at Portland’s Multnomah County Library, I saw firsthand how Oregon’s educators were adopting new approaches to student learning—including greater use of technology—to meet those goals. They aren’t simply trading textbooks for netbooks; instead, they’re thinking deeply about how to integrate technology into their instruction to ensure student learning is more engaged, rigorous, and relevant.

For example, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is developing a cutting-edge, specialized digital learning lab specifically for middle and high school students. In partnership with the Multnomah County Library, the OMSI will serve as a testing ground for the best ways to use digital media and state-of-the-art technology tools to improve student learning. Students in Forest Grove School District are using digital tools to write, blog, use online simulations, and design and create objects using a 3-D printer. And on February 6, Oregon will join forty-nine other states, the District of Columbia, and more than 20,000 teachers for Digital Learning Day, a national effort to promote digital learning and spotlight successful instructional technology practice in the classroom.

In my travels to schools across the country, experiences like these are helping students stay engaged in their learning and graduate better prepared for college and a career. That means Oregon’s work to incorporate technology into classrooms isn’t just an investment in new gadgets, it’s an investment in the state’s future. Consider the Portland metro area; if Portland were to cut its high school dropout rate in half, those new high school graduates would likely create 350 new jobs, inject $55 million to the local economy, and add $3.7 million to the state’s coffers in tax revenue. And that’s for just one class of dropouts. Given those numbers, it’s clear that the best economic stimulus is a diploma.

The next twenty-four months are a critical time for Oregon’s policymakers as they contend with constrained budgets and implement more rigorous education standards. Each school and school district must carefully examine its school improvement plans, technology plans, and federal e-rate applications and coordinate them with their specific goals for student learning. The objective is not about the having the latest technology; it’s about improving learning by implementing reliable, common-sense solutions that support teachers and empower students.

The nation has a moral and economic imperative to change the way teachers teach and students learn to ensure that every child graduates from high school with the skills necessary to succeed in college and today’s highly competitive job market. It’s time to stop asking students to “power down” when they enter the classroom and instead ask them to “power up” so that technology can join with quality teaching to improve student outcomes and drive the nation’s economy today and in the future.

Bob Wise is president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia.

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