Collaboration is Focus of Digital Learning Day

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Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

In PWCS, technology is infused into the classroom every day. Digital Learning Day is an opportunity to celebrate great teaching and give you a look inside today’s innovative learning environment. Lively activities are taking place, but the exercises are for the mind, not the body, and students are wowed by their experiences. Check out tweets using #DLDayPWCS for the “buzz” that is going on. Even kindergartners are gaining skills that will take them to the next level.

This week, amazing teachers are engaging students in a variety of technology-enhanced lessons, extending Digital Learning Day to a weeklong observance. Students soak up what they learn like sponges, and their vocabulary and knowledge of the “app” world expands daily, as evidenced by the wide array of apps being used for instruction.

Digital Learning Day activities focus on collaboration and access to 1:1 technology, with students working as teams or in small groups. Coles Elementary kindergartners and first-graders are using the Think and Learn code-a-pillar and app on iPads to sequence steps for the caterpillar’s movement. Third-graders will review fractions in Wixie. Using Cookie Caster, they will create a symmetrical cookie cutter to be printed with the 3D printer. By design, these lessons meet math objectives. Fourth-grade students will create a class Padlet to review academic science vocabulary; fifth-graders will create a Sway to summarize a science Standards of Learning objective. At Neabsco Elementary School, students used QR codes to solve riddles and complete a challenge.

“We had a blast today,” said Sarah Marriott, instructional technology coach at Neabsco Elementary. “Kids were all over the building, solving puzzles and having a wonderful time.”

Tyler Elementary School third- and fourth-graders are learning how to code a drone to fly and will test their skills in the school’s cafeteria on Feb. 23. This activity is a big hit. In teacher Mary Beth Yashinski’s third grade class, student Tia said, “I had a lot of fun doing the programming for the drone on the iPad and seeing the drone fly. It was cool to see that connection between the iPad and the drone.”

Pennington Traditional School’s third-grade students Skyped with a classroom in Venezuela in honor of the school’s multicultural week activities. Alvey Elementary School is participating in Mystery Skype with another classroom somewhere in the US. Loch Lomond Elementary is doing a Virtual Escape Room, differentiated for each grade level, on “Flat Stanley,” which all students are reading as their “One Book, One School” initiative. Family and Consumer Science classes at Gar-Field High School and Woodbridge Middle School will be Skyping to collaborate on activities. Potomac High School opened their MakerSpace to all students. Many schools are taking virtual field trips to museums and summarizing visits using Sway, sending students on QR code scavenger hunts, and doing QR code math with Kindles.

Beyond the apps named above, teachers are using Minecraft for math, Money PowerPoint, SeeSaw, Nearpod, GoFormative, Tinkercad, BeeBots, and FlipGrid, and online sites such as Khan Academy and Code.org.

Everything at Mary Williams Elementary revolves around digital learning. Students are no strangers to technology; from the minute they walk into the school, they are exposed to different tools. Students and visitors are welcomed by a television display with a twitter feed showcasing live pictures of learning taking place in classrooms.

“Our students are excited and our teachers understand that learning has evolved,” said Principal Lynmara Colon. “They are constantly learning and implementing innovative ideas to keep our students engaged. From flipping the classroom to iPads in the music classroom, students have experiences that will prepare them for the future.”

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