With less than one month until the second annual national Digital Learning Day on February 6, the Alliance for Excellent Education released initial details of the organization’s national effort to promote digital learning and spotlight successful instructional technology practice in the classroom.
To date, forty-six states and the District of Columbia, and nearly 18,000 teachers have already signed up to participate in digital learning activities throughout the day and beyond. (States participating in Digital Learning Day appear in green in the map to the right.)
“Digital Learning Day is less than one month away, but the number of teachers who have signed up to participate is already ahead of last year’s final tally—showing evidence of the increasing enthusiasm and momentum around digital learning,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia.
Digital Learning Day is a national campaign focused on improving teaching and learning by effectively using technology that began in 2011. In addition to the national Digital Town Hall—the centerpiece of Digital Learning Day—this year’s activities will offer multiple learning and professional development opportunities that will support teachers, introduce innovative digital learning strategies, and provide interactive lesson plans that will be used across the country.
“Digital Learning Day emphasizes empowerment,” said Wise. “Providing the technological tools to empower teachers creates a more collaborative, supportive, and transparent school culture. Quality teaching joined with effective technology can empower students to be life-long learners and producers of content and information by ensuring that they are ready for college and a career. And, finally, planning effectively for the inevitable shift to digital content and blended learning empowers education and political leaders to make decisions that put students first and support teachers.”
To celebrate Digital Learning Day, states and school districts are planning numerous activities to promote the use of digital learning, including highlighting promising practices within and among states, showcasing student work through digital learning, and conducting lesson plan contests for teachers.
In Washington, DC, the Alliance has planned a day full of events to celebrate Digital Learning Day on February 6, 2013. In the morning, more than 100 educators from Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC will gather to observe lesson plans and demonstrations of interactive digital learning content and instructional strategies that utilize digital learning in the classroom. Geared toward educators and others wanting to know more about specific approaches to digital learning, these hands-on teaching and learning sessions will be led by expert teachers from across the country and will be posted online for use by teachers nationwide. Areas of focus for these instructional lessons include
- digital content areas for math, science, civics/social studies, and English language arts;
- problem-based learning;
- flipping the classroom—using time more efficiently by having students watch videos of lectures as homework and freeing up classroom time for more individualized, robust, and engaging instruction;
- mobile learning and online tools to support blended and face-to-face instruction; and
- new trends in assessment, including digital portfolios and instant feedback using ongoing, informal “quizzes” to improve each student’s cognition.
In the afternoon, the Alliance will hold a Digital Town Hall from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (ET), which will focus on how great teaching combined with effective technology makes a positive impact on improving America’s schools, particularly those that serve high-risk and high-poverty populations. Teachers, students, schools, and districts that will be profiled for implementing digital learning in innovative and successful ways, include
- Dysart Unified School District (Surprise, AZ and El Mirage, AZ);
- Quakertown Community School District (Quakertown, PA); and
- Cajon Valley Union School District (El Cajon, CA).
Last year, more than 40,000 people watched this digital event live and more than 3,500 educators participated in the live chat to share resources and best practices. Individuals interested in watching the live simulcast of the Digital Town Hall can register athttp://digitallearningday.eventbrite.com/.
To learn more about Digital Learning Day, or to see ideas about how students, parents, administrators, and others can participate, visit http://www.DigitalLearningDay.org.