National Writing Project

Digital Learning Day: Celebrating Innovative Teaching Strategies

Date: February 2, 2012

Summary: The National Writing Project, a core partner with the Alliance for Excellent Education, celebrated Digital Learning Day on February 1 with 39 states and roughly 2 million students. Teachers and students showcased work and engaged in conversations surrounding technology-rich teaching practices and personalized, engaged learning.



Digital Learning Day encouraged everyone—teachers, librarians, school leaders, and parents—to participate, regardless of experience, in the exploration of digital teaching practices by starting conversations, trying new things, and showcasing success.

The National Writing Project partnered with the Alliance for Excellent Education , the New York Times Learning Network , Figment , and Edutopia to spread the word about Digital Learning Day on February 1, 2012, supported the building of a digital learning movement, and shared resources for effective teaching. Over 39 states and roughly 2 million students participated in Digital Learning Day events.

Below are events, resources, and snippets of conversations from the day.

Start a Conversation

  • Share your thoughts about a meaningful digital lesson: Tweet with the hashtag #DLDay and interact with like-minded educators.
  • Engage in the Digital Learning Day National Town Hall Meeting and daylong webcast on February 1, 2012.
  • Find links to interesting articles from 40 years of New York Times reporting on the impact of the digital revolution on education at the New York Times Learning Network.

Try One New Thing

Showcase Success

  • Have your students sign up at Figment and add their writing using the tag dlday, where it will become part of a collection of digital compositions. Young writers there will be tweeting out their pieces using the hashtags #DLDay and #whatImake.
  • Listen to NWP Radio's webcast , Digital Writing Matters, and hear from network teachers, along with a young writer from Figment, who will talk about the importance of writing and publishing online, amongst a community of peers and fellow authors.
  • Blog about your digital teaching experiences for the Digital Learning Day Blog Carnival on NWP Digital Is .

Excerpts from Digital Learning Day Blog Carnival at NWP Digital Is

Digital Learning Day: A Bridge to the Digital World

Over the next few weeks, as we arrive at the Digital Learning Day, my plan is to chronicle some of my tech classroom practices, and I'm excited to hear about everyone else's triumphs and tribulations in both their analog and digital learning worlds." — Jack Zangerle, teacher-consultant, Hudson Valley Writing Project (New York)  More ›

Digital Learning Day: Creating a Community of Readers and Writers

Although I will also be exploring the best way to get my students to write/read digitally for that day, it dawned on me that we, as educators, need to continue to learn in the digital milieu. In response, I have decided to take a step back and blog about what literacy instruction means to me in hopes that these posts serve as resources for other classroom practitioners." — Janelle Bence, co-director, North Star of Texas Writing Project  More ›

Digital Learning Day: The Courage to Try

It is clear to me that Sherri got her class online because she is a teacher [who] does whatever she can for her students. She is a teacher who is willing to work through obstacles and challenges because she recognizes that our students need to learn to write constructively online. I am so proud of her." — Lou Buran, teacher-consultant, Northern California Writing Project  More ›

Digital Learning Day: Webcomic Analysis: State of Student Technology

Students are pretty tech-savvy and fearless for the most part around technology. Screens and interactions are part of their lives. But they still need adults—parents and teachers—to help them along the way. Issues of privacy and composing with media, audience, and responsibility are central to what they need to know in this age of technology." — Kevin Hodgson, teacher-consultant, Western Massachusetts Writing Project  More ›

Digital Learning Day: Texting in Class: The Pros and Cons of Celly

Last year as I began to slowly introduce cell phones into my classroom, I was missing a very valuable component, which was assessment. This past summer I found a website called Celly. Celly is a collaborative space where the teacher creates a "cell" and students sign up via their cell phone number and the teacher invites them to a cell . . . . It has the assessment piece that was missing for me and my students last year."— Jeremy Hyler, teacher-consultant, Chippewa River Writing Project (Michigan)  More ›

What Happens When Digital Learning Day Is Every Day?

Student-led learning is nothing new. What makes this so much more real is the digital medium. The building blocks are not blocks at all, they're malleable. They can build what they want, tinker with the pieces. Unlike some more "traditional" high school journalism programs, they're not creating in the shadow of the old-school newspaper template. They're . . . creating a venue versatile enough to support what they haven't even thought of yet." — Larissa Pahomov, English teacher, Science Leadership Academy (Philadelphia)  More ›

Digital Learning Day: Do Our Students Have Access?

The term 'digital divide' is as unacceptable as its definition. As I type a blog post on my laptop, simultaneously catching up on the news on my desktop and responding to text messages on my smart phone, the harsh word 'chasm' seems more fitting. Today, without the thoughtful, effective integration of empowering technological tools, no gap will be closed. Instead, without technology in classrooms, the divide too quickly becomes a gorge." — Katie McKay, teacher-consultant, Heart of Texas Writing Project  More ›

Reflecting While Preparing for Digital Learning Day

In a variety of ways, digital learning can bridge the gap between bored students who run the risk of dropping out and engaged students who set personal learning goals for themselves. It is not a surprise that most of our students possess the digital skills to text, tap the app, and retrieve or post audio/video content. Unfortunately, as their digital devices are left behind, their learning runs the risk of becoming fragmented and disconnected from the real world." — Rita Sorrentino, teacher-consultant, Philadelphia Writing Project  More ›

Digital Learning Day

I have seen for myself just how important and influential technology tools can be in the classroom, from helping English learners build language fluency to fostering collaborative learning as teams of students create public service videos. Teachers are preparing students for a different world, a world that includes ever-changing technologies." — Sharon J. Washington, Executive Director, National Writing Project  More ›

Digital Learning Day: How Google Docs Has Eliminated the "Rough Draft"

When students log into their [Google Docs] accounts and start writing, they must "share" their story with me. Once I have been granted access, I have the ability (as does anyone with access) to read what the student is writing WHILE they are writing. We simultaneously have access to the same document. This is helpful because while a student is immersed in their work, I can catch any errors, ask questions, give suggestions, etc., as the student continues to work." — Evan Williams, teacher-consultant, Hoosier Writing Project (Indiana)  More ›

Digital Learning Day

The Digital ID project integrates our commitment to social justice, drawing on engaging curriculum that is infused with 21st century tools, topics, and challenges. Our project is developed around . . . central themes of citizenship and addresses the questions: What does it mean to be a (digital) citizen? What are my rights as a citizen? What are my responsibilities as a citizen?" — Fred Mindlin, associate director, Central California Writing Project  More ›


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