Saturday, February 11, 2012

Digital Learning Day (#14inFeb #3)

On February 1, my school and hundreds of others around the country celebrated Digital Learning Day, a nationwide celebration of…you guessed it…digital learning.

Here at Wolcott Elementary School, most of the teachers have only integrated technology to a small degree so far. Well that has begun to change with a new principal and a new technology integrationist. For a little background let me tell you about the equipment in the building. For about ten years, there have been three desktops in each classroom - all are still deployed; only a few work. There is also a cart of ancient Acer laptops - not one battery is any good; several of these laptops dont work at all. There is an old server with an even older backup server. Just last spring, the new machines were purchased with grant money. Every teacher has a laptop now. There is a new cart with twelve additional new laptops. Seven (of eight) classrooms now have installed projectors and an Elmo document camera. One classroom has a Smartboard (this was teacher choice). We just upgraded the wireless network. Our district made the leap to google apps just before the December break.

Anyway, I asked every teacher to do something new with technology on DLD. We'd previously set integrating technology into existing units as one of our goals, so this seemed the perfect push. I shared the DLD website and resources with the staff and offered support.

To a small degree of accountability, I told the teachers that they would be sharing a few words about their digital learning at that day's afterschool faculty meeting.

Here is the list of projects that they shared (with names and some details altered for anonymity):

    • Math games from Investigations
    • Pairs worked on the program
    • Kids were able to extend due to overestimating
    • Continuing to work this Friday.
    • Signed up for regular computer use



    • Mobile computer lab in class for whole group
    • Started word processing
    • Turned desks around so screens faced front
    • 30 minutes to type spelling sentences, then hand write what is left.
    • Students tend to write short sentences, taught to write longer sentences.
    • Four kids will become peer coaches for the four students who were out for intervention
    • Signed up for mobile lab every week


    • Prezi presentations by the kids about Africa w/ Ethel
    • Also glogster to create posters about a novel


    • Weekly reader article with videos from the digital edition
    • Then Prezi with Doris.


    • skits to video, story boards first
    • PowerPoints on Egypt


    • New: from the DLD toolkit, video game format, disappointing


    • Signed up for the mobile lab for the first time this year
    • Students to interactive biology websites
    • SmartBoard lesson taught by older students


    • No tech today
    • Next will hook up to Elmo to have kids do stuff
    • Took video of sliding
    • Will present at Monday Morning Meeting


    • Using iPad with math groups counting and identifying coins


    • Laptops brought into class

Absolutely fantastic! While some of these efforts may seem minor, this was a sign of great growth for many of the teachers. I was especially excited about the two teachers who had, during the day, signed up to have the mobile lab every week.

I was totally impressed by the huge effort that the technology integrationist put into helping certain teachers in the days leading up to DLD.

Well, DLD was fun and invigorating (technologically speaking). Now the real challenge will be maintaining momentum. Here we go!