Digital Learning Day: Ohio Celebrates Education Innovation

Learning, Online & Blended

Digital Learning Day: KnowledgeWorks, Ohio Education Matters, others celebrate education innovation

In Ohio, digital learning advocates, state lawmakers, authors scheduled to participate in a day of events

Cincinnati, Ohio (PRWEB) January 27, 2012

KnowledgeWorks, its subsidiary, Ohio Education Matters, and leading digital advocates will lead a robust set of activities on Wednesday, Feb. 1 — the nation’s first annual “Digital Learning Day — including a virtual town hall meeting, a public hearing on digital learning and a book chat with a national advocate on the topic.

KnowledgeWorks, a Cincinnati-based social enterprise that supports innovative education initiatives, is a national sponsor of Digital Learning Day along with the Alliance for Excellent Education, Google, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Intel and others.

Digital Learning Day marks a nationwide celebration of innovative teaching and learning through digital media and technology that engages students and provides them with a rich, personalized educational experience. More than 30 states, hundreds of school districts, thousands of teachers, and more than a million students will encourage the innovative use of technology by trying something new, showcasing success, kicking off project-based learning, or focusing on how digital tools can help improve student outcomes.

In Ohio, Digital Learning Day co-sponsors include Getting Smart, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Ohio Grantmakers Forum , Ohio Resource Center , eTech Ohio and The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology. Click on this link to register for activities. Follow the day’s events on at http://www.twitter.com/DLDay or with the #DLDay hashtag.

“Digital Learning Day offers a unique opportunity to celebrate how digital learning is transforming our traditional approach to education,” said Lisa Duty, Ph.D., director of external affairs for KnowledgeWorks. “Because this approach is both innovative and highly personal, teachers will establish learning environments where students take responsibility for their own learning, and actively involve them in building their own futures.”

Ohio has been recognized for its burgeoning efforts to expand digital learning, and the state has created the Ohio Digital Learning Task Force to develop a strategy to expand digital learning in the state.

“One could argue that 2011 was the year of ‘digital learning’ in Ohio and across the nation. In September, the White House announced its ‘Digital Promise’ campaign, while Ohio’s biennial budget signed by Governor Kasich in late June launched the Digital Learning Task Force,” said Terry Ryan, Vice President for Ohio Programs and Policy at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. There is bipartisan agreement that high-quality customizable learning options should be the rule rather than the exception, and we need to keep the momentum going in 2012 and beyond.”

Vander Ark, a longtime digital learning advocate, said Ohio is ahead of a number of states in thinking of new ways to educate its students. “Just last January, I was in Columbus, and we were talking about what could be,” he said. “Today, Ohio has institutional commitment from the governor’s office to the statehouse to make learning more engaging, more personal, and more productive. I applaud Ohio for its innovative spirit, and the state will reap long-term benefits as it moves forward with this approach.”

Stan Heffner, state Superintendent of Public Instruction at the ODE, said, “Ohio’s history of innovation is well-known, and through digital learning, our schools must continue that legacy as places where teachers will create new learning options for their students, whether those students are in front of the teacher in a classroom or engaged in a virtual classroom.”

The day’s events include:

  •     At 1 p.m., KnowledgeWorks has invited educators across the state to participate in the national, live Virtual Town Hall meeting that will feature Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s New Tech West. That school is a member of the New Tech Network, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks.
  •     At 2 p.m., KnowledgeWorks, The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology and the Ohio Resource Center, will sponsor a book chat with author Tom Vander Ark, based on his book “Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World.” The chat will take place at The Ohio State University’s Thompson Library, Campus Reading Room 1858. The book talk will conclude with reflection from President Debe Terhar of the State Board of Education of Ohio.
  •      At 5 p.m., Vander Ark is set to join Duty to provide testimony on digital learning to the Education Committee of the Ohio House of Representatives.
  •     At 6:30 p.m., KnowledgeWorks and Getting Smart, in partnership with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Ohio Grantmakers Forum and eTech Ohio will sponsor a reception. Senator Peggy Lehner, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee and member of the Ohio Digital Learning Task Force, Representative Gerald Stebelton, chairman of the Ohio House of Representatives Education Committee; Brian Ross, president and CEO of KnowledgeWorks; and Vander Ark are scheduled to speak.

During the month of February, the Ohio Department of Education will promote technology-rich instruction by launching a new Facebook page for teachers. The site will showcase digital examples of best practices every day. The Ohio Resource Center will make resources available online, including a recording of Getting Smart, for public use and for educators to use as professional development.

What’s more eTech Ohio, will promote access to digital learning resources for students, parents and educators, including National Digital Learning Day materials and toolkits. eTech Ohio will convene more than 6,000 participants to the Ohio Educational Technology Conference, “Next Generation Innovation,” February 13-15, 2012 to continue the dialogue.

Ohio Education Matters, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks Foundation, is a statewide, public policy research organization that focuses on connecting the dots between great innovations and those in the community who can make change. As a non-partisan entity, Ohio Education Matters acts as a catalyst of an education transformation in the state by conducting research, advocacy, engagement and policy development that inspires others to make the system changes needed today to prepare Ohio’s children for the future.

KnowledgeWorks is bringing the future of learning to America’s high schools and creating widespread, lasting change in the communities and states we serve. Our portfolio of high school approaches includes New Tech Network high schools, EdWorks high school redesign, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Early College High Schools. Our Strive subsidiary is catalyzing a national movement focused on the success of every child from cradle to career.

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