Tomorrow is the inaugural Digital Learning Day and over 1.7 million students are participating across the United States. My school is celebrating by hosting a Digital Learning Fair all day in the library and computer lab. Students, teachers, distract staff and parents are all invited to attend the fair tomorrow to explore the projects we’ve created and test out the different devices we have available at school. 12 stations were created to provide our fair guests with plenty of options to choose from. Our youngest classes will have the opportunity to visit three different stations during their time at the fair.
I meet with small technology enrichment groups throughout the week. I started the year assessing the incoming technology skills of third and fourth grade students. Since then, fourteen different fourth grade students have participated in two different enrichment projects, one using Flip cameras to create Animoto tours of our school and one creating future episodes of Inanimate Alice using Power Point. Students wrote their stories and then copied them onto slides, keeping pacing in mind. They then were able to add in pictures using this Creative Commons Flickr search. One student was able to work on adding music from Soundzabound, which we have a subscription to through Badgerlink.
How will the skills from these projects be demonstrated at our digital learning fair? Two fourth grade students will be running a station coaching students on how to film with our Flip cameras while two other students will be demonstrating how to add and work with layers on Power Point.
Third grade enrichment projects have included creating original stories based on Chris Van Allsburg’s Mysteries of Harris Burdick. Participating students had the option to hand write their stories or compose directly in Word. Once students had a working draft of their stories we began working on creating e-books with Little Bird Tales. Students drew their pictures, typed their story and added narration to these stories. A more recent addition to our choices of available activities during third grade enrichment is Voki, which we have used to create book advertisements, summaries and student announcements. Some of our Voki creations have been used on our new school announcement wiki.
Two third graders will be running a Voki station while two other third grade students will be leading a digital voice recorder station. We used these recorders for a third grade library project during Picture Book Month. We used the devices to record our blurbs about different books made by Wisconsin Picture Book creators.
I am thankful and impressed with all the work that has gone into creating my school’s Digital Learning Fair. Classroom teachers and special area teachers have created a variety of tools, posters, schedules and more for the event. Our staff committee met multiple times throughout the month and our student helpers came in to learn about the fair and practice their presentations for one another as well as for the principal and me. One third class learned how to use Glogster to create their final planet projects in order to be able to present at the fair.
My second grade and Montessori enrichment group started back in the fall. This group has created a variety of Little Bird Tales projects for me. Our first project was to take the book Gingerbread Man Loose in the School and create the Gingerbread Cougar Loose in the School instead. We also created animal fact books using the same site. Another project we enjoyed was creating animals for the site Night Zookeeper. Night Zookeeper is a site from the UK that features a multi-chapter story about the Night Zookeeper at a most unusual zoo. We enjoyed listening to the narrated chapters on our first day with the project. We then created facts about our animals, stories about what happened when the Night Zookeeper tried feeding these animals and artwork. All our projects were brought together in a zoo map for us to explore. The Night Zookeeper staff helped us troubleshoot some problems we encountered while working on our project. I recommend this site for an integrated writing and arts project.
Three students will be sharing our Night Zookeeper creations while Two students will be sharing Little Bird Tales stories with interested groups. Two of the students involved in our Gingerbread Cougar Loose in the School books will also be helping to teach the use of digital cameras. Two Montessori students will also be demonstrating a collaborative storytelling app called Storywheel.
This afternoon we transformed the library into our digital learning space. We moved furniture to make sure there is plenty of room for our stations to run smoothly. Posters were hung, signs posted and student helper name tags created. Now all that’s needed is to turn on the technology, login to our sites and wait for our classes to arrive. I’m super excited to hear the conversations tomorrow and see peer teaching in action. I’m also looking forward to sharing how the digital learning fair turns out.
Thinking of running a Digital Learning Day in the future? A variety of resources and toolkits are available from the official Digital Learning Day site. I also found the Digital Learning Day page on the Wisconsin DPI site helpful in seeing how people around my state were celebrating this day. More about my school’s digital learning fair can be found at WI Digital Learning.