Digital Learning Day 2018

Why do we still have a Digital Learning Day? This year, Digital Learning Day 2018 will fall on February 22, 2018. Since 2012, Digital Learning Day has been a platform to highlight great practices and advancements made by students and teachers in the use of technology for teaching and learning.

 

There are truly astonishing things students can accomplish with technology that were not possible even a few years ago. The proliferation of mostly affordable devices has put an entire universe of information and learning resources into the hands of our students and teachers. The walls of the classroom have been dissolved as technology allows students to connect with and learn with others around the globe. Students are innovating, writing, creating, and publishing work for audiences outside of their own community. They are taking learning into their own hands and going online to find out things they want to know and be able to do. Teachers are guiding students to deeper and more relevant learning every single day–much of it increasingly aided by technology.

 

For some reason, however, K-12 education continues to be one of the only industries where we continue to question the value that technology can bring to the system outcome. We worry about screen time limits and technology addiction. School boards and policy makers continue to demand evidence of direct financial benefit correlation between the technology investment and student achievement outcomes. Teachers get frustrated trying to manage distractions afforded by digital devices which somehow seem worse than those provided by the note passing, window gazing, whispering and daydreaming indulged in by earlier generations.

 

These are all valid questions and concerns. We should also note there is significant research and solutions for addressing them. So instead of getting caught up in the reasons why not, we need to remember that technology is already here. There are very few jobs that pay a living wage that can now be done without some form of technology in the process. Our students will leave our K-12 system, enter postsecondary institutions and work for organizations where they are expected to be efficient users of technology tools, know how to learn, and be discerning users of information.

 

At TIES, every day is centered around helping teachers, administrators, school office staff, and school communities succeed in learning, growth, and doing their jobs well–with the aid of technology–for the benefit of every student. The school experience for our students should also be focused on the tremendous benefits technology can provide when it is combined with knowledgeable teachers who have been provided with professional development and support. Every day is digital learning day.

Back to School: Managing Your 1 to 1

Summer is fading into fall and your classroom is calling you. It is time to get organized for another great school year. Whether this is your first year or the continuation of a 1 to 1 program rolled out years ago, here are five tips for managing your students and their devices in your 1 to 1 classroom.

Tip #1: Remember to set the rules and expectations for how and when students will use their devices. This digital hardware is simply a tool to enhance learning and engagement, as a teacher you decide how that works best in your setting.

Tip #2: Check out the SAMR model. As you design lessons that incorporate technology see where those activities fit into SAMAR. While striving to design lessons at the modify and redefine the activity, there is nothing wrong with mixing in some substitution and augmentation.

Tip #3: Add the technology in where it seems to fit. Don’t worry about making everything digital. Take your time, build your plan.

Tip #4: Ask your colleagues how they use the devices in their classes and adopt an idea that might work for you too!

Tip #5: Take a deep breath and enjoy the school year.