|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2012
One Week Away: 10,000 Teachers and 1.5 Million Students Participating in National Awareness Campaign Highlighting Technology’s Role in School Reform and Strengthening Instructional Practices
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Alliance for Excellent Education announced that thirty-nine states, 10,000 teachers, and 1.5 million students have signed up in support of the first-ever national Digital Learning Day on Wednesday, February 1, 2012. Digital Learning Day is a national awareness campaign designed to celebrate innovative teachers and highlight instructional practices that strengthen teaching and personalize learning for all students.
“Digital Learning Day isn’t about technology for technology’s sake—it’s about recognizing the great potential that effective technology combined with powerful teaching and rigorous content has to transform the world of learning,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “Through the internet, students are more connected to the outside world today than during any other time in history, yet they are frequently asked to ‘power down’ when they go to school. Digital Learning Day is about ‘powering up’ to help students use their interest in technology and social networking as new ways to learn.”
A key event for Digital Learning Day is the virtual National Town Hall, featuring a roundtable discussion with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, and will be webcast live from Washington, DC. Via Skype, the National Town Hall will also feature teachers, students, and leaders from Englewood Schools (CO); Mooresville Graded School District (NC); Klein Independent School District (TX); and New Tech West High School (OH).
Currently, the following states are signed up to participate in Digital Learning Day on February 1: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Washington, DC has also signed up to participate. (For contact information for the person leading the efforts in your state, visit http://www.digitallearningday.org/events/state-events#Hosting.)
“The use of technology has made nearly everything in modern life more efficient, accessible, richer, and faster,” Wise said. “It is hard to imagine modern life without the rapid innovations that have boosted productivity, created jobs, and changed daily life, yet education remains largely untouched by the power of technology in the classroom and particularly in teaching and learning. These states have truly embraced the idea of digital learning and are planning exciting celebrations of their own to highlight how effective applications of technology in education can improve student outcomes.”
Digital Learning Day celebrations are being developed and will be conducted within participating states, districts, and schools. Examples of activities include a proclamation from the state governor, a showcase of student work through digital learning, lesson plan contests for teachers, announcements of digital learning projects, and highlights of promising practices within and among states. To determine what your state is doing, visit http://www.digitallearningday.org/events/state-events#Hosting.
“The urgency of providing a quality education means every child has access to the engaging experience that comes with powerful teaching and rigorous content available through digital learning,” Wise said. “The teachers are here, the technology is everywhere, and the students are ready and able. Now it’s time to put it all together.”
The Digital Learning Day website has a wealth of resources, such as sample lesson plans for teachers who want to participate in Digital Learning Day but are not sure how. Specifically, it includes Teacher Toolkits with sample lesson plans and “Awesome Ideas,” which show what other teachers are doing and provides templates that teachers can customize for their classrooms.
In total, Digital Learning Day boasts support from
• twenty-five core partners made up of national membership organizations, and a broad array of stakeholder groups, including principals, school board, content area specialists, and instructional technology professionals;
• thirty-nine states that are planning their own statewide celebrations;
• twenty-six instructional technology experts who are hard at work developing toolkits and resources to support educators at all the state, district, school, and classroom levels; and
• nationally known companies, such as Intel Corporation, Google, SMART Technologies, and USA Today.
All are welcome to participate in this celebration of innovation by signing up at http://www.digitallearningday.org.
Additionally, individuals can register to watch and participate in the live National Town Hall at http://digitallearningday.eventbrite.com/.