Friday, February 27, 2015

Digital Learning

Digital Learning Day            DLD_logo.png


What does digital learning look like in your classroom? March 13th is Digital Learning Day! At George Watkins and New Kent Elementary, we will be “celebrating” all month.

The Superintendent for the Department of Education in Virginia has expressed his support of National Digital Learning Day. In a February memo, he describes this national campaign to  “...highlight learning that is more personalized and engaging for students.”  

What is Digital Learning?  From the  Georgia Governor’s Office of Student Achievement  and Florida’s Virtual School:
Digital Learning is learning facilitated by technology that gives students some element of control over time, place, path and/or pace."

From the Alliance for Excellent Education and Center for Digital Learning and Policy:  
“Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience”.

Whatever the definition, digital learning should be the every day for all of us and that is what Digital Learning Day is all about.

There are many ways that you can incorporate digital resources into your classroom.  It can be very overwhelming, so the idea is to take one step at a time and consider the technology that is in your building already.  Some of the Teachers are trying things like Animoto, Kidblog, Twitter, and Google Classroom. Ask your colleagues what they are using.
Here are a few other resources that you can use to get started:
  1. The Digital Learning Day toolkit page has some great ideas.  
  • Try an interactive lesson plan from an innovative teacher.
  • Explore other educator’s ed tech perspective for encouragement.

  • Use the hashtag #DLDay on twitter to join the learning around the country.
  • Use Digital Learning Day to focus on CyberBullying or digital citizenship
  1. Visit one of the Digital Learning Day partners: Getting Smart Blog to learn more about the innovations in learning happening every day.
  2. Try Wonderopolis for a wonder-of-the-day discussion.
  3. Have the students use digital tools to develop their own learning in a classroom Genius Hour.
  4. Try my personal favorites, Google Earth, and Google Maps to explore places related to the content students are learning about.
  5. Start curating resources with these tools and create your own digitally enhanced lessons that your students can access using:
  • Youtube Edu - Upload youtube video’s for education to your own youtube channel by categories for each lesson.
  • Graphite.org - create a lesson “flow” of curated websites and apps by subject
  • emediaVA - free educational content searchable by VA SOL that can be “collected” in a folder for use by students.

  • Eduwidgets- developed in and for Virginia schools, this is an online authoring application that teachers and students can use to create interactive digital content for classroom devices, tablets, and the Web.
  • Educreations- video a favorite lesson and post it to share with others.

Once you have decided how you would like to celebrate Digital Learning day include your plan on the Digital Learning Day map.

Make digital learning an everyday occurrence in the classroom instead of just outside of it!
(followup post to January 2014)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Views of the Capitol

Exploring the Virginia State Capitol






Recently several representatives from New Kent County Public Schools traveled to Richmond to meet with the Governor's Secretary of Commerce and Trade (Mr. Maurice Jones) and the Governor’s Director of STEM (Dr. Megan Healy) to discuss the skills students need for the future workforce. The conversation centered around technology skills to meet the growing demand for a workforce that “needs to be comfortable working with robots” The visit was successful for the goal and for the learning that takes place when we are in interesting surroundings.

We did our research to prepare for the visit with Google, of course. The Governor of Virginia has a Cabinet, just like the President of the United States, and Secretary Jones is a member of that Cabinet. He advises the Governor on the economic, community, and workforce development of Virginia. One of the Departments that Secretary Jones oversees is the
Virginia Employment Commision. Dr. Healy advises the Governor on both STEM jobs and STEM in education around the State. These offices are a part of the Executive branch of Virginia’s government.

The Virginia Capitol and Capitol Square are impressive places that are only 30 minutes from New Kent County. They are, however, not visible from the street.

We learn a lot of Virginia History in school but can you point out buildings and landmarks when you drive by them? Who works in those really old buildings and why are the people walking around dressed up?  These are some questions young students might ask if you visit Richmond. Older students might ask, what are these old buildings and where is the Governor’s House?
view fromBroadStreet.PNGview from 9th street.PNG
view from 14thstreet.PNGview from bank street.PNG
Interesting Facts:
The capitol grounds are many government buildings on a hill bordered by Broad Street, 9th Street, Bank Street and 14th Streets. The Capitol Building is only visible from Bank Street. It was renovated in 2007 and has an entrance on the street that leads underground to the Capitol. It was designed by Thomas Jefferson and looks a little like the design of the White House in Washington, DC. The whole lawn on the Bank Street side of the Capitol building is a “green roof”. The huge fence that surrounds Capitol Square was set in granite stone in 1818. All of the buildings in the yellow boundary of the picture below are a part of Capitol Square. The Governor’s Mansion is only visible by walking the Capitol Grounds and is opposite the Patrick Henry Building which houses the offices of the Executive Branch of the State Government. The Governor can walk to work on this beautiful and historic ground. The ornate lobby in the huge Gothic style building known as the “Old City Hall Building” is open to the public.For safety reasons, all of the buildings are only accessible from inside Capitol Square.
5capitalimage.png


For a taste of history take a virtual tour of the Capitol Square

Resources for students:
Learn more about Virginia State Government: http://www.virginia.gov/government
Kids.gov is a great site for many subjects and the government in general. Great video’s too.

The challenge: explore more about Richmond history from a capitol walking tour ,it is only 30 minutes away, it’s free, interesting and not digital!

*Pictures from Google Earth, VA Department of General services, and the VA Capitol Foundation.