Next month, teachers, administrators and education stakeholders throughout the country will participate in a unique and long-overdue event that affirms the fact that American education has entered an exciting new era. On February 1, 2012, states throughout the country—from Alabama to Wyoming, Oregon to New Jersey—will come together to support and celebrate the first ever Digital Learning Day.
Digital Learning Day is part of a national awareness and information-sharing campaign that was initiated by former West Virginia governor Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education. The Alliance is a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization dedicated to elevating the academic performance and college and career readiness of all students. The organization and its partners have created Digital Learning Day because effective use of digital technology in the classroom is is making a significant difference in student engagement and achievement.
“Digital Learning Day is more than just a day,” said Gov. Wise, “it is about building a digital learning movement that provides teachers with better tools to truly provide a quality education for every child. Simply layering on technology alone will not move the education needle very much. Effective technology combined with great teachers and engaged students have the potential to transform the world of learning.”
One of the highlights of Digital Learning Day will be a virtual national town hall that will be broadcast live from Washington, D.C. and linked to several satellite locations. Many states are planning their own statewide celebrations. The event has drawn the support of numerous education-focused organizations such as the National School Boards Association, the National Conference of State Legislators, and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Also supporting the event are partners and sponsors, including Google, Intel, SMART Technologies and the Carnegie Foundation. Another sponsor of this groundbreaking national event is AMS Pictures, a Texas-based creative media company whose Public Interest division is a strong advocate for quality public education.
POWER ON TEXAS, a project of the Texas Education Agency developed in collaboration with AMS Pictures, is also lending its support to Digital Learning Day. POWER ON explores the transformative impact of digital technology in seven Texas school districts, large and small, urban and rural. The project includes an hour-long documentary and companion website that showcase best practices and reveal the power of digital learning to engage today’s students, boost academic performance and provide the 21st Century skills necessary to compete in the global economy. One of the featured POWER ON districts is Klein ISD, which was approached by the organizers of Digital Learning Day to share insights into the planning and implementation of their innovative digital learning initiatives. TEA and AMS Pictures provided footage from the POWER ON documentary that highlights a sampling of the learning strategies developed by the very successful Klein ISD program. A complete rundown of Digital Learning Day events, partnerships, toolkits and showcased digital learning programs can be found at www.digitallearningday.org.
Over the past two decades, technology has revolutionized our society. It has changed the way we communicate, work and play. Digital technology is the foundation of today’s global economy and now it is transforming teaching and learning. Today, innovative teachers are using digital technology to transform classrooms into engaging 21st Century learning environments that are taking students to new heights.
“The time has come to ensure that every child has access to the engaging experience that comes with powerful teaching and rigorous content available through digital learning,” said Gov. Wise. “The teachers are here, the technology is everywhere, and the students are ready and able. Now it’s time to put it all together.”