Lakota schools recently celebrated National Digital Learning Day through a variety of activities, all focused on using technology to enhance learning. In fact, there is so much digital learning excitement across the district that the celebration was expanded to an entire week!
Digital Learning Day is a nationwide celebration that revolves around sharing ideas for how to apply technology to student learning. Lakota teachers across all grade levels and disciplines are designing, teaching and sharing lessons that use technology to enhance student learning.
Lakota’s week long celebration of Digital Learning Day includes students collaborating on assignments with their teachers and peers through technology, showcasing student-created projects through technology, learning how to properly use newer technology, creating opportunities for younger classes to work with older classes through video conferencing and many more engaging lessons designed by Lakota teachers.
“This provides an opportunity for our entire district to recognize and celebrate our digital learning accomplishments, showcase the great work our teachers and students are doing with technology on a daily basis, and learn from other districts across the nation,” said Krista Heidenreich, Lakota’s Director of Digital Learning. “The instructional strategies and tools our team is supporting align with the national technology standards as well as the Ohio department of education technology standards.”
She adds, “As exciting and engaging as these opportunities are for our students, we also recognize how important it is for students to learn how to use technology to master skills they’ll use in any path they chose. These include things like time management, organization and planning, and group work.”
And the many activities taking place in the schools emphasize such components. For example, students in Lisa Freeman’s class at VanGorden Elementary are using online document creation to allow them to access their work both at school and at home.
Also, the 6th grade team at VanGorden is using features of the district's Learning Management System to allow students to both create and submit projects online. The teachers can then grade the submissions and provide feedback online making the entire project paperless!
Endeavor Elementary teachers Terrie Williamson and Chris Mays have their second grade students utilizing an electronic journaling tool for biography research projects while Stephany Burnett’s 6th graders completed a collaborative world religions project utilizing the learning management system for embedded resources, online discussion boards, check point submissions, project creation and submission of their final project.
Even Lakota’s youngest students participated in Digital Learning Week activities. At Shawnee ECS Kindergartners in Alyssa Douglas's class used video conferencing to learn ASL from students in Jessica Frye's ASL class at Lakota West while at Liberty ECS students used devices with QR codes to listen to stories, practiced typing sight word sentences in the computer lab, used electronic journals to document artwork and virtually explored music cultures around the world.
One of the newer digital tools mentioned above and currently being used in Lakota is a learning management system. This new online platform allows teachers to provide expanded content along with opportunities for students to develop online documents and also to work collaboratively with peers, opportunities that mimic what students will experience in college or a career after leaving Lakota. In just the first month of second semester, Lakota has seen over 114,000 logins to its learning management system.
An external audit of Lakota’s instructional technology back in 2012 resulted in a multi-year plan that became a levy promise.
“While we initially acknowledged Digital Learning Day in 2012, it was through the community’s support that we have been able to expand the celebration into a true annual district-wide event,” said Todd Wesley, Lakota’s Chief Technology Officer.
The levy funds allowed Lakota to rebuild its aging technology infrastructure and provide modern devices and software. A dedicated team of digital learning specialists was the other piece that supported teachers in actually using the new tools most effectively to impact student learning.
“While technology continues to increase in classrooms across the country, it has been our teacher’s efforts with the Digital Learning Team that continue to positively impact Lakota’s student learning,” said Wesley.
Click here for our Facebook gallery of Digital Learning Day photos.