What is Digital Learning Day?
Digital Learning Day (DLD) is a day dedicated to school reform by engaging students and empowering educators through the effective use of digital tools. I know what you may be thinking – “Is this talking about a class run by computers?” – and the answer is no. The great part about DLD is that there is no limit to what is considered a digital tool and it is up to you to find the best fit for your needs! Don’t you think that discovering new and creative ways to engage students is worth celebrating? DLD was started as a way to actively spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality digital learning opportunities no matter where they live. Learning how to use 3D printers, sharing student work with mobile QR codes, and engaging in research projects are just a few of the many ways that educators celebrated and shared their DLD activities this past year. If you want more examples, you can see last year’s DLD highlights here.

So what is “digital learning” anyway?
Digital learning is any educational method that utilizes technology to enhance a student’s learning experience. It encompasses many different facets, tools, and applications to support and empower teachers and students. Cool, right? Let’s think beyond the usual Microsoft PowerPoint and see how teachers can feel empowered through designing creative activities that push students beyond their comfort zone. From student-run blogs to filmmaking to game design, the options are limitless!

Why should I celebrate Digital Learning Day?
Good question! The world is changing and it seems like schools have a hard time keeping up. Traditional methods of books and worksheets are often not challenging and could be limiting a student’s potential to learn. Fortunately, Digital Learning Day highlights great teaching practices and showcases innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes. For example, Educurious created a pop culture challenge for students asking, “How can we avoid the path to Panem, the post-apocalyptic world of The Hunger Games?” This loaded question explores issues of social class, trust, and the media’s role in forming public opinion and political systems. Sure beats a textbook, huh? Ultimately, DLD’s goal is to promote the effective use of modern day tools to improve the learning experience in K-12 public schools. 

When is Digital Learning Day?
Save the date! Digital Learning Day is on March 13, 2015.  To stay connected, follow @OfficialDLDay on Twitter and use the hash tag #DLDay. Don’t be shy to share your ideas and stay inspired by seeing what others are doing. 

Okay, I’m in! Where do I start?
The best way to kick off your planning is to think about how you would like to support high-quality digital learning for the youth or your own community. To give you some inspiration, the Alliance For Excellent Education has compiled a collection of interactive lesson plans, digital tools, and resources here. However, do not feel limited to this list because this is your chance to get creative and think outside the box. The next step is to get involved! Here are some things you can do. First, go to the DLD Planning Guide to see where you want to start. After you decide what is a good fit for you, add your celebration plans here and also Tweet them! Let’s all think about how to extend Digital Learning Day to be a long-term commitment and improve the quality of education for everybody!