Four Ways to Support Your School’s Digital Transformation

Four Ways to Support Your School’s Digital Transformation

By &
Tom Murray

Digital learning is an instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience. It emphasizes high-quality instructional pedagogy and provides access to challenging content, feedback through formative assessments, opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere, and personalized instruction to ensure all students reach their full potential to succeed in college and a career. The Alliance for Excellent Education, one of the top bipartisan, non-profit education-focused organizations in the nation, has been a leader on the digital front. Their nationwide initiatives reach millions of students and educators each year. Listed below are two resources to support your school’s transformation as well as two ways to get involved in nationwide efforts.

1. Webinar: “Getting Started: Practical Tips for Going Digital”, Digital Learning Day Series

With billions of dollars invested in educational technology each year, there is always a new set of devices, software, applications, and digital tools competing for the attention of educators and education leaders. Whether you are starting a school-wide digital initiative for the first time or simply looking to refresh the digital learning toolbox in your classroom, what questions should you ask before going digital? During this webinar Tom Murray, is joined by Rich Kiker, Kyle Pace, Tony Sinanis, and Amber Teamann as they discuss how the Future Ready Schools effort can provide a great framework for digital decision making at all levels and how Digital Learning Day can help districts celebrate their success. This webinar covers the following digital transformation components:

  • Strategies for mastering the art of blended instruction;
  • How instructional techniques influence the choice of digital tools;
  • Professional learning in Future Ready Schools;
  • A “yes culture” of leadership;
  • The leadership necessary for digital initiatives to be successful; and
  • Community engagement

2. Webinar: “Co-Creating Digital Learning Experiences”, Digital Learning Day Series

When implementing a new lesson idea or digital device into classrooms, developing a habit of co-creating those experiences—rather than creating them in isolation—is often the key to increasing relevancy, effectiveness, and student engagement. In Future Ready schools, the co-creation process often involves:

  • Transforming physical learning spaces to be more student-centric and better support blended learning instructional practices;
  • Incorporating student input on personalized, project-based learning opportunities; and
  • Borrowing, remixing, and partnering with other teachers and/or institutions to develop cross-disciplinary digital learning experiences.

During this webinar, Tom Murray is joined by Steven Anderson, Erin Klein, Joe Mazza, Joe Sanfelippo, and Angela Watson as they discuss what the co-creation process looks like in a Future Ready school.

3. Digital Learning Day, March 13th, Washington, DC (Live Streamed), #DLDay

Started in 2012, Digital Learning Day has provided a powerful venue for education leaders to highlight great teaching practice and showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes. This grassroots effort blossomed into a massive nationwide celebration as educators realized that Digital Learning Day is not actually about technology -- it’s about learning. It’s not about laying off teachers for laptops, it’s about enhancing the role of the teacher and empowering them inside America’s classrooms. Digital Learning Day promotes the effective use of modern day tools afforded to every other industry to improve and personalize the learning experience for students. In 2014, an estimated 10 million people took part in Digital Learning Day across the nation. The notion is not to do digital learning for one day a year; but to celebrate the incredible work going on in America’s classrooms every day. To get involved in this year’s Digital Learning Day:

  • Join the hundreds of educators that have already submitted their activity on the official map for this year’s celebration!
  • Follow the Official Digital Learning Day Handle @OfficialDLDay on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • Share your digital learning highlights using #DLDay
  • Watch Digital Learning Day LIVE! on Friday, March 13th, from 1pm-2:15pm EST where four districts from around the nation will be highlighted for their digital transformation, teacher empowerment, student voice, and personalized professional learning. This year, the Alliance will highlight St. Paul High School (AR), VIsta Unified School District (CA), Baltimore County Public Schools (MD), and Houston Independent School District (TX). Rehema Ellis from NBC News and Governor Bob Wise, President of the Alliance, will moderate the live event. Digital Learning Day LIve! will utilize the #DLDayLive hashtag as the moderators will ask questions in real time on social media, seeking participation from around the world.
  • Check out some of the latest guest blog posts for Digital Learning Day. Write your own and share with your PLN!
  • Check out some of this year’s Digital Learning Day’s FREE featured tools! Share your favorite!
  • Show your support for “Techquity” (tech equity), the belief that every student deserves an opportunity to thrive in a high-quality digital learning environment that leverages technology to make learning more relevant, engaging, and personalized.

4. Future Ready - District Pledge, Summits, and Resources!

Future Ready is a free, bold new effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career, and citizenship. The effort provides districts with resources and support to ensure that local technology and digital learning plans align with instructional best practices, are implemented by highly trained teachers, and lead to personalized learning experiences for all students, particularly those from traditionally under-served communities.

The Alliance for Excellent Education and the U.S. Department of Education are leading this effort with the support of the Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission and a vast coalition of organizations. School districts can get involved in the free Future Ready effort in the following ways:

  • Superintendents can sign the Future Ready District Pledge to show their commitment to fostering a high quality digital learning environment, accelerating progress towards universal access for all students to quality devices, helping schools and families transition to high-speed connectivity, empowering educators through professional learning opportunities, etc.
  • School district leadership teams can sign up to attend a FREE Future Ready Regional Summit.
  • School leaders can take advantage of the Leadership Network, a free resource and planning tools, which includes an interactive planning dashboard that offers self-assessments, gap analysis, and customized resources for schools.
  • Share your best resources and success stories through the #FutureReady hashtag each day!
  • Connect with @FutureReady on Twitter and the Future Ready Schools Facebook page to stay up-to-date with the latest.

How will you support your school’s digital learning transition? What are you doing differently with today’s digital resources to help personalize each student’s experience? Let your voice be heard and join the conversation! Together we are better for the kids we serve!

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