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Column: Worthington celebrates Digital Learning Day

By Gerald Oehler, District 518

WORTHINGTON — In February, the Worthington School District participated in its first National Digital Learning Day. Digital Learning Day started in 2012, and now schools all over the nation celebrate digital learning and participate in this event. Digital Learning Day has provided a powerful venue for teachers to highlight great teaching practice and showcase innovative teachers, as well as instructional programs that are impacting student learning. Worthington was one of a few districts in Minnesota to participate in Digital Learning Day.

Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen and enhance a student’s learning experience. Digital learning emphasizes high-quality instruction providing access to content, how students demonstrate what they are learning in classes, and provides opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere to ensure all students reach their full potential to succeed in college and career.

Through Digital Learning Day, teachers and students are able to celebrate and showcase how they utilize technology in the classroom to transform learning. Teachers have been able to realize Digital Learning Day is not about technology, but celebrating learning. Digital learning is all about enhancing the role of learning in the classroom. What is so exciting about Digital Learning Day is that it promotes the effective use of modern day tools to improve the learning experience of all students.

All students in the school have a device for learning. The technology is utilized by students and teachers to enhance the learning process. Through the increased use of technology in the classroom teachers have a powerful tool to help prepare students to be competitive in a global, technology-driven society. There are so many digital tools and resources that are available it can be hard to keep up with the latest advancements as tools, as resources and apps are continuously being developed. Digital Learning Day was started as a way to actively spread innovative practices. Through social media many teachers, including Worthington teachers, share how they are using technology in their classrooms, giving other teachers ideas and other digital tools that are out there that can be incorporated into classrooms. It is a great way for teachers across the nation to collaborate, share and learn from the experiences of others.  

Although teachers across the district incorporate technology in lessons on a daily basis, Digital Learning Day is a day in which we celebrate and showcase digital learning to highlight, share and learn from others how we use technology as a tool to engage our students in college- and career-readiness skills. This was evident in the schools, as it spurred many conversations about the digital tools that were used in the next room, down the hall and in other buildings. With many teachers sharing what the digital tools they used in the classroom, their colleagues got ideas of some of the different tools they could incorporate in their own classrooms.

Throughout the day, there was a variety of different tools and resources being utilized in the classroom. There were students who learned about digital citizenship while other students completed science simulations, created videos and went on a virtual field trip to ancient Greece. It was fantastic to see the excitement of students as they used digital tools as they were learning across the district. Weeks later, many teachers are still inquiring about other digital tools they can use in the classroom to enhance student learning as we continue to utilize technology as a tool to have a positive impact on student learning. We are looking forward celebrate and participate in Digital Learning Day next year.