Last month, teachers all across the world took on the Hour of Code challenge and brought computer science into the classroom for at least one hour during the week of Dec. 9-15. We were excited about this event, but we’re equally excited about our next challenge, Digital Learning Day, which happens on Feb. 5, 2014.
Similar to the Hour of Code challenge, Digital Learning Day pushes teachers to bring a new piece of digital technology into the classroom.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got five technology ideas for you to consider.
5 Ways to Celebrate Digital Learning Day This February
Connect with parents using Snagit
We know how critical parent involvement is to our students’ success, but connecting with parents and keeping them informed can be challenging. By using a free screen casting tool called Snagit, you can share quick video updates with parents. If you’re new to this tool, don’t worry. This nine-step tutorial will walk you through the entire process of creating your own video update.
Use Skype to take your class on a free, virtual field trip
Skype has partnered with museums, zoos and explorers, giving teachers the ability to travel virtually anywhere in the world without ever leaving the classroom. Want to connect with an award-winning author or speak to the first person to row solo around Britain? Now you can.
Click here to choose your next adventure.
Start responding to student essays electronically
Teachers have been toting around back-breaking file folders and stacks of student essays for years—and for what? Instead of lugging hardcopies, give iAnnotate a shot. This app allows users to read and physically annotate Word/PowerPoint files on their iPad.
Simply touch a blank area of a document, choose your tool—pen, highlighter, note, strike through or voice recorder—and go for it. Confused about a student’s word choice? Tap on the word in question and make your note. iAnnotate will also sync documents with Dropbox, which makes it easy to stay organized.
Have students brainstorm their ideas using bubbl.us.
Most teachers are familiar with “clustering,” a prewriting activity that allows students to explore ideas as soon as they occur.
“Clustering” begins when students jot down the central idea, or a “trigger word.” From there, they write down any words that are sparked by this central idea.
Instead of having students “cluster” on a scrap sheet of paper, give bubbl.us. a shot. This will allow students to save a digital version of their “cluster” so they can either email it to you or save it to the hard drive for later.
Connect with real-life neuroscientists
Frontiers For Young Minds is a scholarly, peer-reviewed science journal that has found a way to connect students with neuroscientists and allow students to peer review articles published on the site.
You can find more details on the website, but here’s how it works in a nutshell: Established neuroscientists develop articles based on their research—but before publishing it to Frontiers, they invite criticism from young people so that the article can be made more digestible for a younger audience.
If you’re looking for more technology ideas, be sure to check out Digital Learning Day’s collection of lesson plans.