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Birthdays, Anniversaries, and Digital learning Day

By: Mary Ann Wolf, PhD

 Editor’s Note: Our guest blogger today is Mary Ann Wolf. She is the CEO for Wolf Ed and a digital learning consultant for the Alliance for Excellent Education.

Birthdays and anniversaries provide us with a chance or even an excuse to pause and appreciate people in our lives.  Unfortunately, few opportunities exist, especially beyond the school community, to recognize and take note of the excellent work and dedication of millions of educators and administrators across our country.  In a time when news about education often points to the failings of the system and the students who are not meeting the goals and standards, Digital Learning Day, on February 6, 2013, provides an opportunity to pause and consider the extraordinary efforts of educators, the bold choices and visions of administrators, and the exciting creations and growth of our students. 

 While this may seem to ignore the demands on education or the need for our schools and districts to ensure that students are prepared to compete in the global economy, Digital Learning Day, hosted by the Alliance for Excellent Education with over 40 Core Partners like the Learning First Alliance, is actually quite the opposite.  Digital Learning Day recognizes the districts, schools, and educators who are already moving the ball forward and stepping beyond the status quo.  The districts, schools, and educators celebrated on Digital Learning Day put students first in designing instructional opportunities and recognize the opportunities that digital learning and technologies provide to expand learning options and possibilities. 

 Digital Learning Day will highlight teachers, librarians, and administrators who are making a difference for students every day.  Last year, we shared with you the stories of Mooresville Graded School District (NC), Klein ISD (TX), Englewood Schools (CO), and West Tech High School in Cleveland Public Schools (OH).  This year, we will bring the stories of four more districts that are showing exciting gains for students with digital learning through innovative visions, thoughtful planning and implementation, and reflective practice during the Digital Town Hall Meeting.   

Building upon the popularity for the teacher toolkits that offer practical ideas for integrating technology into instruction, we recruited several master educators to create interactive lesson plans to be used on and beyond Digital Learning Day, called Digital Learning Lessons in Action. Each lesson includes a three-minute video introduction of the lesson by the teacher or librarian and a detailed lesson plan with tips, links, and digital learning recommendations and options for elementary, middle, and high school.  These lessons can be used with any technology and do not have any minimum specifications.  They support the Common Core State Standards or College and Career Ready Standards and range in topics from the Hunger Games to Astronomy to using social media effectively with students.  The following provide you with a quick look at a few of these lesson plans:

 

  • Digital DNA - Students determine what their digital footprint looks like and discover tools that will help the student maintain the appropriate digital footprint in the future.

 

Video Introduction Lesson Plan Supplemental Materials

 

  • Newton's Laws - Students apply Newton’s Laws to new situations using digital tools.

 

Video Introduction Lesson Plan

 

  • Successful Student Book Review Blogging - In order to promote independent reading and scaffold the language arts curriculum, students write and post book recommendations on their school-based book review blogs.

 

Video Introduction Lesson Plan

 At the Alliance we often say that Digital Learning Day is much more than a day.  However, like with birthdays and anniversaries, setting aside one day to celebrate educators and administrators across the country that are making bold choices for student-centered, personalized learning can only help all of us in meeting our goals for our students and our country.   We encourage you, along with the Alliance for Excellent Education, the Learning First Alliance, and all 50 states, to set aside February 6, 2013 and sign-up to celebrate digital learning and what is possible for students.


I think there is a great need

I think there is a great need for timesaving materials for teachers to use, such as the Annenberg videos showing the use of math in the real world or the wonderful Salman Khan math videos or Pizzaz puzzles, Nasco posters, and many others. Students don't benefit from having overworked and sleep-deprived teachers. I also think that it's very nice for teachers to benefit financially from publishing and sharing their good ideas with other teachers and their classes. Some of your lessons might be original, but sometimes you should research the ideas of others.
Let's cut back on testing and spend more on materials.

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