On Wednesday, February 17, thousands of teachers and millions of students celebrated the fifth annual Digital Learning Day (DLDay) during more than 2,300 events across the nation. Created by the Alliance for Excellent Education in 2012, DLDay highlights great teaching and demonstrates how technology can improve student outcomes.
This year’s DLDay had a special focus on digital equity, exploring how the digital divide is impacting communities and what national and local leaders, educators, and students are doing to minimize it.
“Teaching strategies that use technology to strengthen student learning (collectively known as digital learning) have become integral instructional practices in many schools,” wrote Alliance for Excellent Education President Bob Wise in an op-ed on Medium. “Yet a significant portion of the school-age population cannot access online learning tools after school hours. So this year’s DLDay emphasizes the need for greater digital equity and expanding digital learning opportunities for students, both inside and outside of school.”
From its Washington, DC studio, the Alliance held six short webcasts on access, leadership, teacher preparation, college and career readiness, instructional quality, and the road ahead. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel discussed the importance of student access to broadband internet within the home and the FCC’s plans to modernize the Lifeline program. Zac Chase, a ConnectED fellow of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology provided an overview of the National Education Technology Plan, which, he said, “sets the vision for what education technology can be.” Darryl Adams, superintendent of Coachella Valley Unified School District in California, connected via Skype from a Wi-Fi–equipped school bus that the school district parks in neighborhoods with low-income families to provide students with internet access. Adams expressed his desire to do whatever it takes to get students connected, saying, “We’ll do whatever it takes to educate. We’ll put a router on a pigeon and fly it around the neighborhood if we have to.”
|Archived video from each of the Alliance’s DLDay sessions is available “on
demand” by clicking the links below:· Connecting Students Beyond School
The Alliance also announced the winners of its Excellence and Innovation in Secondary Schools awards during DLDay. Cleveland’s MC2 STEM High School, Indiana’s Warsaw Community Schools, and California’s Santa Ana Unified School District were honored for successfully transforming the learning experience and improving outcomes for traditionally underserved secondary students. Additionally, forty-four school district teams were honored for completing steps 1-3 of the Future Ready Dashboard, a free interactive planning tool that provides ongoing support to district and leadership teams who take the Future Ready Schools Pledge.
“Ensuring that every student is prepared for success in college, a career, and life is the ultimate goal that digital equity should serve,” Wise writes. “But the work for digital and educational equity does not end on Digital Learning Day. DLDay is just the beginning. Creating a system where all students, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities requires the collective effort of policymakers, civil rights advocates, community activists, educators, and parents. The Alliance invites everyone to participate in the digital equity discussion and more importantly, to work together toward greater digital equity not just today but every day.”
Visit http://www.twitter.com/officialDLDay for a collection of the Alliance’s favorite DLDay photos, videos, and messages from educators nationwide.