Nass Notes

Things I'm Thinking on March 13th, 2015

Digital Learning DAY???

Happy Digital Learning Day Everyone!

Friday, March 13th is Digital Learning Day, a day designated by the Alliance for Excellence in Education, to promote technology-integrated learning. Folks are tweeting, blogging, and celebrating the digital learning activities that they have created for this special day. Follow the hashtag #DLDay and you can see some pretty neat things happening across the nation.

At Scottsburg Middle School, Digital Learning Day is every day. We are fully integrated and are blessed with 1:1 mobile devices across our school and district. Far beyond device access (and far more important) are the facts that our teachers are curating relevant and engaging content and that our kids are using devices to create meaningful work. If I had to pinpoint one incredible thing that makes us different, special, leading, and/or "distinguished" (to borrow from Apple's honor program), it is that our kids are creating.

We hosted two guests from Apple yesterday. They visited as part of the Apple Distinguished Program renewal process. We didn't call them. They called us. They spent some time with a student from each grade who shared their digital learning opportunities. The kids showed the digital workflow (content, projects, collaboration, assessment) in every one of their subjects. Did you notice I said every?

After the kids finished their impressive 'hip-to-hip' presentations (during which the Apple reps twice said "wait, let me write that down"), we took them on a tour of our building. Not to one room. To every room. Every grade level core classroom (we skipped PE, Art, and Music since our kids already showed them the digital environment for those classes.) Did you notice that I said every?

We had dignitaries visiting and I had the confidence to open every door. I knew that our kids would be engaged. I knew they'd be consuming content or creating content. I knew that they would be learning.

And they were. We saw an LA class reading leveled non-fiction articles about polar bears, science students creating hypotheses about density after watching a pop can demonstration, SS students posting unfamiliar words from an original letter from Meriweather Lewis on Padlet, we saw LA students writing scripts for green screen iMovie trailers to promote new non-fiction books in our library (that would be accessible for any student to watch!). We saw a Gizmo on genetics, a shared Google Doc planning activity for Rube Goldberg projects, and Thinglink interactive timelines about the development of African nations.

Any of these examples would be considered exemplar activities for Digital Learning Day. At SMS, they are exemplars of Digital Learning everyDay. I am beyond thrilled, impressed, and amazed at the opportunities that our kids experience in our school. I am humbled and awed by the hard work of our teachers. I am thankful beyond belief to be a part of our district.

Digital Learning everyDay at SMS would not be possible without the support of our district leadership, our teachers, support staff, students, and parents. "Word" to all of you. I would like to close with a special "shout out" to the early adopters... the pioneers... the folks that thought digitally before we had devices and before it was cool. Thank you to Jason Roseberry, Scott Borden, Bobby Doriot, Julie Petty, Susan Kendall, Carrie Carter, and Tony Carter for chopping down the forest and leaving a trail that the rest of us follow to this day.