Tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 6, is the second annual Digital Learning Day. It’s a national campaign that celebrates teachers and shines a spotlight on successful instructional practices and effective use of technology in classrooms across the country.
You’re probably asking yourself, “Why is this so important in a school working with children with special needs?” I would respond that technology is essential if we are to meet the diverse needs of our students. Although our classrooms are small with only 8 or 9 students, each child has unique strengths and challenges which must be met by the special education teachers, para-educators, and support staff. Technology has allowed us do this by establishing child-specific learning goals, collecting data and providing students and teachers with a comprehensive system of academic support. This personalized learner center environment provides flexible and high quality resources that allow us to meet individualized goals and track progress.
Technology is not new to the Elizabeth Lee Black School. I remember the purchase of our first Apple computer more than 20 years ago. We studied the manual and were thoroughly confused. Today, our bewilderment has been replaced by confidence as the use of technology has become more of an innate skill. I am proud to say that digital learning is a standard instructional practice that effectively uses technology to expand our students’ learning experience. We have 46 iPads with numerous accessories (i.e. mounts, six touch screens), five TAP-it interactive screens, adaptive cameras and robots. These are only a few of the tools available which enable us to individualize our students’ education.
If you’re interested in learning more about Digital Learning Day and becoming a participant, visit the website at www.digitallearningday.org. Another resource for enhancing your digital learning practices is the Assistive Technology Industry Association at www.atia.org.
Digital Learning Day is a just a snapshot of the continuously evolving world of technology, education, and best practices. We at the Barber National Institute promise you that we will stay at the forefront so that our children truly have every opportunity for “making their dreams to come true.” Tune in for my blog on Thursday to see how we celebrated Digital Learning Day. I’d also enjoy hearing about your schools’ celebrations of Digital Learning Day.