Dusty chalkboards will soon be relics of the past. With support from robust broadband, digital technology is transforming education as we know it. Digital learning has opened up countless opportunities for both students and educators.
What is Digital Learning?
Digital learning is any instructional practice that uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience. It provides access to challenging content and feedback through formative assessment. It opens up global opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere. It emphasizes individualized instruction to ensure all students reach their full potential for success.
Digital learning encompasses multiple tools and applications to educate students and empower teachers. Examples include online courses or blended learning, where a student learns through instruction via online media with some element of student control over time, place, or pace. This enables educators to provide more personalized learning experiences for students.
A Local Example
The Big Lake School District has implemented technology as a key component to teaching and learning. The District provides free wifi for students, staff and visitors and has an open technology policy allowing students to bring their own tablets to class for educational purposes. Each school has Chromebooks available for individual or classroom use. Educators are able to embed technology into their everyday curriculum. Both teachers and students use Google Apps in their everyday work from creating collaborative documents in Google Drive to designing websites in Google Sites.
“We’re looking to empower students to become digital and technology experts.” explains Jonathan Beach, District Technology Manager. The district is exploring new ways to incorporate digital learning practices to provide more comprehensive learning opportunities, including an interactive media center. They’re considering flipped classrooms which allow educators to record lessons and give students the ability to view the material anywhere at any time. Flipped classrooms are beneficial for all students and especially those who learn best through review or repetition as well as those who miss instructional time due to illness or absence.
The Big Lake School District is in the process of developing a student-run help desk called the Mouse Squad. This allows students to explore a potential career in technology and develop related skills while helping their peers with basic troubleshooting and technology assistance.
February 17 is Digital Learning Day
On February 17, thousands of schools and communities (including some in Sherburne County) will celebrate the fifth anniversary of Digital Learning Day. It is a day for innovation. A day for students and educators to think big and try new digital tools to enhance both the teaching and learning experiences.
Digital Learning Day was started as a way to actively spread innovative practices and ensure that all students have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities—no matter where they live. Just to be clear, Digital Learning Day is not about laying off teachers for laptops or replacing human contact. It’s about enhancing and empowering the role of the teacher in our classrooms. Digital Learning Day promotes the effective use of modern day tools to improve the learning experience in K-12 public schools.