Black-and-white composition notebooks may soon be a thing of the past.
On Digital Learning Day, students and parents at Lee Elementary demonstrated their tech-savvy skills. Created four years ago, Digital Learning Day is a nationwide celebration of “the positive impact Educational Technology has on today’s learners.”
“The way we chose to implement Digital Learning Day is to integrate the technology into the classroom,” explained Lisa Krueger, digital learning coordinator at Lee Elementary. “Students were able to log on to the Chicago City of Learning website
and review all of the pathways that were available and choose what they had a passion for and the badges that they wanted to earn.”
Sebastian, an eighth grader at Lee, is a fan of the virtual badges.
“My favorite part about digital learning is that it actually gives you the opportunity to learn about what you choose to learn about, so that’s pretty cool,” he said.
His classmate, Amato, agreed.
“My favorite activity so far has been animal activist. They tell you to go on a certain website and look up a favorite animal. And the animal that I picked was a seahorse,” he explained. “It’s just fun because you learn so many new things and they teach you in a way that you never really learned before because you’re using a computer.”
Administrators at Lee Elementary also invited parents to learn more about how students are using technology on a daily basis by inviting their parents to Digital Learning Day.
“I’ve seen digital learning help my son with his studies and he’s more interested in learning,” said Dora Troupis, a parent at Lee Elementary. “When he’s on a specific topic or he’s looking for some information, it’s easier for him to access that information.”
As part of the Digital Cohort Schools program, Lee Elementary is working to develop innovative practices that can be scaled across Chicago Public Schools. The program was recommended by Network Chiefs and Central Office Administrators to serve as technology research hubs for the district.
“Our goal is to create a school with one-on-one technology to allow for our students to really be able to engage in technology through all curricula so they’re proficient and ready as they move on to college and careers,” said Epstein.
According to Epstein, the digital curriculum at her school was created through the Digital Youth Network at DePaul University.
“The work that we do is really based on the fact that in today’s world, we’re all connected and globally connected. We have a lot of digital tools and kids are using those tools and they’re learning 24/7,” said Sybil Madison-Boyd, Learning Pathways Program Director, Digital Youth Network at DePaul University. “So we really want to empower them to use those tools to enhance their learning and capitalize on that in school and out of school.”
For more information about Digital Learning Day, please visit digitallearningday.org