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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Engaging Families In Digital Learning Day

Engaging Families In Digital Learning Day

Related Tags: Classroom Technology
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What is Digital Learning Day?

This year celebrated on February 5th. It is described on the Digital Learning Day website (www.digitallearningday.org) as a “nationwide celebration of innovative teachers and common-sense, effective applications of digital learning in America’s schools that support teachers, improve learning, and provide options for students to achieve at their highest potential.” (Their public service announcement - https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=qUS6GfsYnc8)

Parents are a key piece of the partnership puzzle. They are needed to help push our school districts to embrace the use of technology. Because of that, they need to see the importance of the why and how it can be used. They also serve as role models to their children, so knowledge of how to use these tools safely and responsibly are key. And finally, learning together and having access to connect anytime, anywhere can do wonders to strengthen home-school relations, along with aiding in parent-child relations. For these reasons, we need to engage parents in these learning opportunities.

So how and where do parents fit into this day?

Myth: This event is for schools only.

Fact: Learning happens all day, every day of the year…inside and out of the school walls. The opportunity to use digital tools to enhance learning at home is no different.

  • As a school/PTO:
    • Offer tech training sessions for families led by students when possible
    • Include families in a classroom activity (in person and live stream opportunities) to see how digital tools enhance the learning experience firsthand.
    • As a parent:

Myth: Expensive technology is needed to participate

Fact: Something as simple as a smart phone can be used to read an eBook together, or be used to join an educational chat on Twitter (an extensive list of chats can be found here: www.bit.ly/officialchatlist) …or possibly connect with the author of the eBook you read together, or another expert through social media.

What are you doing as a school/class to include and engage families on DLD? As a parent, how are you joining in on the day and celebrating at home?

Comments (8)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Whitney Hoffman's picture
Whitney Hoffman
Producer LD Podcast, Digital Media Consultant, Author

This is great! Cannot wait to share it out with my community! Thanks Gwen!

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey
Facilitator

This is a fantastic post, thanks so much for sharing!

One slam-dunk tool sure to engage parents and kids is LEGO's recently updated online building tool:

http://www.buildwithchrome.com/

It's way more polished than just a few months ago and would be a welcome activity for the whole family, I bet!

-kj-

Gwen Pescatore's picture
Gwen Pescatore
President Home & School Assoc, #ParentCamp Organizer, Co-Moderator #PTchat

Kevin...what a great site! Thanks for sharing!

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey
Facilitator

Thanks Gwen! The "Hour of Code" event was as you know held just recently, and these resources might also be of interest, and present great opportunities for parents to work with their kids and learn together!

http://learn.code.org/hoc/1
http://botlogic.us/play
https://www.tynker.com/login
https://blockly-demo.appspot.com/static/apps/maze/index.html?lang=en
http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/editor/?tip_bar=getStarted

-kj-

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia
Facilitator

HI Kevin,
I'm starting off a coding club at my school this year. I was planning on using Codecademy to begin with. Any other tips and ideas?

Keith.

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey
Facilitator

Hi Keith! First suggestion is to find out if any parents who work in the programming field can come in and speak / volunteer / help out. It could be a powerful school-home connection!

What age level kids?

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey
Facilitator

Ah! Ok, that helps. Wikipedia says that in Australia "most children in Year Seven are aged from eleven to thirteen" so I am going to assume that is the case.

Students at that age are VERY CAPABLE!

Scratch http://scratch.mit.edu/ would be a slam dunk, simple to learn and create with, socially-based (for sharing/modding of programs) but the graphics are fairly limited and might not appeal to the older kids...

For them, consider Alice: http://www.alice.org/index.php - I've not used it personally but it is PHENOMENALLY popular and provides older kids a much richer and more sophisticated learning and coding environment.

Both those resources are free. If you have any money to spend, I would seriously consider exploring LEGO Mindstorms:

http://www.lego.com/en-us/mindstorms/?domainredir=mindstorms.lego.com

Those teach programming AND include robots which are ridiculously cool.

What do you think?

-kj-

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