Jan 31

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.

Sep 28

As I struggle myself with trying to help a teacher begin to use Discovery Education with their students, I find myself learning quite a bit as well.  I am so comfortable with logging in and navigating through Discovery Education resources on a frequent basis.  However, we are piloting offering Discovery Education Streaming accounts to some students.  This way a teacher may individualize instruction for them.  Many of the learning theories suggest that students develop at various paces with various interests.  So this project excites me.  We have the potential to make quite a difference in the lives of these students.  And if all goes well hopefully we can broaden our scope soon after.

But as I am assisting this teacher, I find myself realizing many things:

  • Wow, I enjoy being in the professional development arena more than I ever thought I would.
  • Teachers work very hard to reach each child in their care.  The good ones go above and beyond to find what will help each find success. (I am lucky to be working with one such “good one”.)
  • The import structure was easy once the customer service team assisted.  They rock by the way!  Reach out to them if you are struggling.  So very knowledgeable.
  • There are so many great resources on a single topic inside Discovery Education.
  • The teacher view is definitely improved but I need to develop cheat sheets that work for us.
  • We all learn something new on a good day.  I have been having many good days this week with this project.
Are you using Discovery Education Streaming with individual student accounts? If so I would love to hear how you are implementing them in your classrooms.  Have you learned from any oops moments? Have you enjoyed a specific success of a student? The power of the DEN is learning from each other.  I would love to learn from those that are ahead of me on this learning curve.