As we approach spring, we approach another Digital Learning Day. Digital Learning Day began in 2012, created by the Alliance for Excellent Education. According to the International Literacy Association, “[a]t the heart of Digital Learning Day is an emphasis on equity—ensuring equitable access to high-quality digital learning opportunities. The event was started as a way to ‘actively spread innovative practices’ to all schools and students.” I’m not going to go into too much about the day itself and how it works in schools, but examine how we can embrace it as a call to action for us all. Let me elaborate.
It’s amazing how much this day’s purpose resonates with me as a librarian. My role with EVPL is School Engagement Librarian of Practice. My entire practice work is to foster a strong bond between EVPL and our local schools. This practice includes learning the needs of teachers, students, and families in order to discover where and if the library can enrich the learning experience of our youth. So, in a way, my day to day job encompasses a lot of what is envisioned each Digital Learning Day. However, having this opportunity to reach all ages through this blog is an exciting chance to share about digital learning for all!
The library is a hub for everyone in our community to get equitable access to build their knowledge and quench their thirst for information, entertainment, and the human experience. From managers to librarians of practice, to youth experience staff and our facilitators, navigators, and customer experience representatives, we all participate in our own digital learning each and every day on the job. One needs not to be a full-time student to embrace the curiosities that drive our learning and growth as individuals.
One way I invite the community of EVPL customers to grow in their digital learning is to embrace the opportunities of being connected to other readers. One way of becoming connected: social bookmarking. It is a term derived from the folksonomy cataloging practice. In short, this is a user-generated way of organizing and classifying things for easy reference. One way many readers do this is through sites like GoodReads and LibraryThing.
These services allow you to build a social network – like Facebook or Twitter – and add your own tags and reviews to cultivate collections and share (or keep to yourself if you just want to improve your own history). At the same time, they give you an awesome way to let other know what you liked (or disliked) about certain titles – and why they should or should not pick these titles up.
Other ways to celebrate this exciting digital day include connecting with some of our exciting resources at EVPL. Our digital archive is a vast collection of images, books, newspapers and other resources that make up the tapestry of our community’s history. I’m a native Evansvillian, but I’m only on the cusp of turning 30-years-old. As much as I think I know about my home, I always find something new in our digital archive. Other digital resources include our collection of peer-reviewed research databases and newspaper archives.
EVPL’s collection features titles that can help you cultivate your digital learning styles and experiences, as well as open your mind to learn something new, perhaps using a digital platform. Here is a sampling of titles in our collection that have stood out recently:
How Can I Be A Good Digital Citizen? by Christine Zuchora-Walske
Using the Internet can be an exciting adventure. But it is important to use it safely. How can you use computers responsibly? And how can you be a good digital citizen? Read this book to find out! (Summary from GoodReads)
Digital Minimalism: Choosing A Focused Life In A Noisy World by Cal Newport
Digital Minimalism will teach you how to rethink your relationship to social media and rediscover the pleasures of the offline world. It’ll help you implement a thirty-day ‘digital declutter’ process, making sure you’re in control of your tech and not the other way around. (Summary from GoodReads)
Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf
Wolf draws on neuroscience, literature, education, technology, and philosophy and blends historical, literary, and scientific facts with down-to-earth examples and warm anecdotes to illuminate complex ideas that culminate in a proposal for a biliterate reading brain. Provocative and intriguing, Reader, Come Home is a roadmap that provides a cautionary but hopeful perspective on the impact of technology on our brains and our most essential intellectual capacities—and what this could mean for our future.
I challenge us all to think about digital learning – not just for students in schools – but as a growing experience for us all this Digital Learning Day. Yes, the root of this holiday is in schools and challenging students to test the waters of new and emerging educational technology tools and platforms. The ambitions of this day are good. We are surrounded by a rich variety of tools that grows larger and smarter (i.e., artificial intelligence) each day.
I can wake up and ask my smart speaker to start playing an audiobook in the morning, or I can collaborate with a teacher in a local school on developing shared resources from our library system for a project for their students. Students taking part in this year’s Digital Learning Day might be inspired to start a movement or foster a research idea that becomes the next big invention or idea. The opportunities abound.
Finally, take a look at this video from The Alliance for Excellent Education. We all have an opportunity to grow digitally and learn as students create, connect and innovate for generations to come.
On February 28, 2019, we will celebrate the schools, students, and educators who are getting it right, making a difference, and preparing students for a world they have not yet imagined. Learn more at www.DigitalLearningDay.org.