Digital Learning Day Every Day

Filed Under (Collaboration) by Jeannine on 08-02-2012

 

Digital Learning Day Every Day. They spoke about #DLD2012 needed to be more than a 1 day event. It was meant to be a day of awareness for continuing to explore Digital Learning opportunities. The day after Digital Learning Day I had a teacher visit me to discuss a possible Skype use at our school.

The week after Digital Learning Day I had a wonderful opportunity to participate and provide technical support to a project at school. A teacher approached me regarding connecting to their father via Skype. Their father had served in the military and had been friends with several Tuskegee Airmen. He discussed his life in the military post-desegregation. And he relayed stories of friends who had to deal with the issues of life pre-desegregation. What an eye opener for our students! He challenged them to put themselves in the place of the Tuskegee Airmen.

To imagine what it must have been like to be hailed as amazingly efficient in one breath (previously 25 or so soldiers were being lost per mission. Under the protection of the Tuskegee Airmen all soldiers were returning from a mission). And then treated as second class citizens and not allowed to eat in the same mess hall as their colleagues they just protected because their skin-tone was different. Students were on the edge of their seats listening to this man’s experiences.

During our Skype session we had a few technical difficulties. The same day there was a popular NY event going on simultaneously. Bandwidth was not able to allow both activities. Unfortunately, the Skype connection was the loser in the bandwidth war.

There is a saying, “Out of the mouths of babes.” A child piped up with “Can’t we just call him?” This lit the proverbial lightbulb over my head. I suggested to the teacher that if we plugged my speakers from my laptop into their cellphone we would be able to hear with increased speaker phone capabilities. Cell phone to Landline provided a much cleaner connection to listen to this fascinating gentleman.

Speaker and Cell Phone - Our Go to Solution

The classroom is equipped with an assistive technology device that amplifies sound for a child that needs this modification. Yet another child had the bright idea to add the receiver for this device by my speakers. Suddenly his wise words were broadcast twice as loudly throughout the room. I love their ingenuity!

Overall this assignment wound up being simply magical. Sometimes in our quest to explore Digital Learning we forget the simplicity of a wonderful conversation. I marvel at how lower tech solutions saved the day. I believe this provided an experience that both expanded our students’ knowledge and was a day they will never forget.

The teacher had been using several resources including Discovery Education materials to bring meaning to students regarding the Tuskegee Airmen. But this man’s genuine, heart-felt experiences will have created real meaning on the hearts of our students.

Digital Learning Day Dawns on the Horizon

Filed Under (Collaboration, Suggestions) by Jeannine on 31-01-2012

Grateful to my friends that comprise my PLN. One of those kind souls several weeks ago posted information about Digital Learning Day.

Digital Learning Day logo

http://digitiallearningday.org

What is Digital Learning Day? According to their website, http:///digitiallearningday.org, “Digital Learning Day is a nationwide celebration of innovative teaching and learning through digital media and technology that engages students and provides them with a rich, personalized educational experience. On Digital Learning Day, a majority of states, hundreds of school districts, thousands of teachers, and nearly 2 million students will encourage the innovative use of technology by trying something new, showcasing success, kicking off project-based learning, or focusing on how digital tools can help improve student outcomes.”

 

I am so thrilled to work in the school that I do. Several teachers integrate technology in their teaching every day. Several use technology every day. Is there a difference? Most definitely. Some teachers merely find time to allow students to explore technology independently in a free form method. This is great. We learn from safe exploration. But some teachers go further. Some in my building understand that technology is not a separate subject area. They see that technology is a tool for teaching. One teacher presents daily notes for students to copy. One teacher shows videos from brainpop that coincide with her instruction. Another teacher has students participate in an online simulation of what they are discussing in class.

 

Yesterday, I had the privilege of working with a class that will be piloting individualized Discovery Education accounts. I can’t wait to have this up and running. The teacher and I are working together with a strategic plan. As with all good pilots it involves some trial and error before publicizing to our students. Yesterday, students were introduced to their accounts so that they have necessary skills to access their customized learning plans of video instruction.

 

Tomorrow is Digital Learning Day. I look forward to seeing what projects teachers will be involved in with their students tomorrow. I spent this evening gathering some healthy breakfast selections for staff for tomorrow. They deserve a thank you for all they do. They make my job a wonderful experience. How can you celebrate Digital Learning Day if you haven’t powered up with a good breakfast?! So I have a few healthy choices for us to power up! Thank you, fit42 friends for changing my eating habits!

 

This week I put together a starter list of tools from A to Z that teachers might use in their classroom. It’s funny how some tools because we use them every day aren’t thought of as Digital Learning. But yes, starfall.com, brainpop.com, ffame.com are digital learning tools. If you would like to see my resource please click here, DigitalLearningToolsAtoZShields.

 

Tomorrow will mark the launch of our building’s Technology Advisory Board. In previous years, our building had a technology committee. This was a great group of teachers that came together to discuss the use of technology in our building, weigh the pros and cons of new technologies, and share information with our colleagues regarding technology use. After a recent workshop, I am ready to revisit this concept. Thankfully my principal is behind this idea. We reached out to our grade level chairs to see if anyone was interested in volunteering. Luckily someone was interested from every grade level. I believe we have compiled a nice team of tech enthusiasts if not tech leaders. Some have expressed trepedation about participating. But yet they also express an interest in learning. Nothing better than celebrating Digital Learning Day with these staff members. We will be using an online communication platform that I have been beta testing. *Fingers crossed* it should provide 24/7 access to resources. Additionally teachers will have the ability to share ideas whenever they choose versus waiting for committee meetings. It is wonderful to dwell on how technology has changed since our last building technology committee met. I look forward to working with this advisory board during the remainder of the school year.