In 1999, I sat eagerly in front of a computer, for the first time, waiting to get on the internet with the glorious sound of AOL dialup ringing in my ear. It was unfathomable to think that we could actually not only read real-time news but connect with people from around the world. I remember thinking that my own children would never grow up without access to information or the ability to learn what and when they wanted, even when they did not have that same access in school.
It is 2016 and though we have made progress as digital learners and creators, the reality is that there are students that have less access than I did in my days as a dial-up subscriber. There are still schools that are trying to make the most of not enough.
Even as the students in my own school district attend classrooms of limited technology, I am exceptionally hopeful that as we share and make our challenges and solutions known, we each hold the keys to bridging the gaps that inequities cause.
In a matter of weeks, I will serve as the emcee for the fifth year of Digital Learning Day. Digital Learning Day was created as a way to spread innovative practices and ensure that all youth have access to high-quality learning opportunities no matter where they live. We hope to inspire a new wave of ideas that can help local decision makers better serve the learning needs of their communities for both students and teachers.
With a mix of in-studio and remote guests, we will highlight some of the most dynamic programs happening in schools across the country with a specific focus this year on digital equity. Even as schools and communities struggle, the creative bravery of many school district leaders and teachers have turned mountains into molehills, igniting the pathway of opportunity for their students for years to come. If you have not done so already, please click here to sign up for Digital Learning Day Live to be notified the moment that the event starts.
In addition to Digital Learning Day Live, teachers, schools, and organizations are encouraged to celebrate digital learning by engaging in innovative experiences that day. Please make sure to log your event on the Digital Learning Day site. When your event is registered, your classroom or school activities will be visible via an interactive map showcasing celebrations from coast to coast. In the spirit of sharing, and maybe winning an Apple watch, teachers can submit innovative ideas to be captured and shared through a partnership with Participate Learning, a free collection and collaboration platform that lets teachers quickly find, collect, and share digital resources.
When Digital Learning Day comes to a close, my hope is that what people take away isn’t just a hashtag but a push to consider what we believe about learning and a drive to make sure that the opportunity to create and learn with accessible technology isn’t an afterthought but a right for every student and teacher, regardless of zip code.
Ed Note- Join Rafranz, Doug Robertson, Jon Corippo, Rick Rubino, and Mike McCormick 1/31 at 6pst under the #cuerockstar hashtag for a chat about DLDay.
Rafranz is a Google Certified Innovator, Microsoft Innovative Education Expert, two time Bammy Award finalist, author of The Missing Voices in EdTech, and Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning for Lufkin Independent School District. Follow her on twitter @rafranzdavis