Technology and education can be a powerful pairing. One of the biggest benefits of bringing technology into the learning process is the added flexibility it provides. Traditional brick-and-mortar instruction requires both the teacher and student to follow a preset format for the exchange and receipt of information, ultimately leaving very little room for flexibility or adaptability, which many students require.
In steps technology. Technology offers the ultimate amount of flexibility in education, allowing for true personalization in a way that isn’t otherwise possible. The benefits of this are great, both for student and teacher, so while studies show that the use of edtech in classrooms continues to grow at a rapid pace, there are still many classrooms that aren’t leveraging technology to better help their students.
Digital Learning Day, which began in 2012, offers a way to raise awareness for how impactful educational technology can be and to support the ongoing efforts of schools to institute edtech.
How Are Schools Celebrating Digital Learning Day?
One of the great things about celebrating Digital Learning Day is that you’re limited only by your imagination. The Digital Learning Day website provides some awesome resources and ideas for educators and schools to get involved in the celebration, as well as examples of how schools are being impacted by technology. And to help extend the reach of digital learning, they’ve partnered with EducationSuperHighway, a nonprofit organization that directs research and provides advocacy and consultation services to states and school districts in order to connect classrooms to high-speed Internet.
For example, in Arizona, Cibola High School has drastically cut down on the amount of money it spends on paper and textbooks by providing their students with Chromebooks and online programs that enable them to work on school assignments remotely, which is particularly helpful when a student is sick or traveling for sports. To celebrate Digital Learning Day, the teachers and principals at Cibola High School created an online course, through EducationSuperHighway, that gives students an opportunity to apply the scientific method to real-world situations. Now, instead of asking students, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” teachers ask them, “What kinds of problems do you want to solve?”
In California, the Lennox School District learned how few of its female and Hispanic students were applying to college engineering programs. In response, they launched a STEM initiative so that all students can take online courses that teach them engineering principles through videos and instructions from actual engineers. The program became so popular that the school district had to implement a lottery system to decide which students qualified for the classes. They’ve also found that students who participated in the courses scored higher in math than students that hadn’t taken them.
How Can I Celebrate?
The Digital Learning Day website encourages schools to celebrate by registering and hosting events nationwide. Their website also features an interactive map that has a list of all the events going on broken down by state. This is a very cool feature because you can see just how expansive and effective educational technology has been in each state.
Events can be as simple as hosting webinars or classes that focus on encouraging digital literacy. And to help you spread the word about how you’re celebrating Digital Learning Day in your school, the website has resources like sample social media posts and promotional materials free for your use.
All in all, celebrating Digital Literacy Day is ultimately about recognizing just how impactful technology has been in education, what schools can do to stay proactive about their students’ success in an ever-evolving world, and laying the foundation for better technology in the future.