Ripp's class participates in Digital Learning Day

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West Middleton Elementary teacher Pernille Ripp and her fifth-grade students were one of eight schools that participated in a statewide virtual showcase of exemplary uses of technology in education with State Superintendent Tony Evers as part of the state’s observation of the first Digital Learning Day Showcase on Wednesday.

Ripp’s students blog regularly with students around the world, and had a nearly six-minute presentation. Ripp and her students demonstrated their blog project using the webinar software and their web camera. The students also talked about how they blog and shared some of their experiences.

"By integrating technology into our daily lives these students are true global citizens being equipped with the skills they need to be successful citizens,'' Ripp said. "They are not afraid of technology but know how to use it to its best capabilities, and also when technology is not needed.  These students are ready for what may come in the future and that makes me proud."

The state webinar began at 10 a.m. and ended at approximately 11:30 a.m. Ripp’s class was the first to be showcased and the segment can be watched on YouTube.

As part of a national effort to celebrate and highlight practices that make learning more personalized and engaging for students, Evers proclaimed Feb. 1 as Digital Learning Day.

“Technology has an enormous capacity to transform education right now,” Evers said in a statement. “The virtual showcase is a chance to share and learn from some of the best ideas in the state in this area.”

DPI also released a plan to guide digital learning in the state. "A Vision for Digital Learning in Wisconsin" offers recommendations and things schools should do with regards to technology. Suggestions include:

* Providing students the opportunity to take online and blended courses before graduating from high school.

* Flipping classrooms so that students can do homework in class and teachers can coach and assess. Digital homework assignments via podcasts and video would also be available.

* Invigorating collaborative efforts with business and industries.

* Allowing students to use their own devices for learning.

* Ensuring sufficient and affordable broadband access for schools and students and equitable access for every household with students.

* Developing a state-wide online environment where teachers can share resources and best practices.

"Digital tools are essential to helping students learn,'' Evers said. "Schools shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to figuring out how to best use technology. This plan will serve as a roadmap of best practices and maximum impacts.''

The other schools that participated in the showcase were Algoma, Hudson, Janesville, Menasha, Oconomowoc, Racine and Sun Prairie.

To see more examples of digital learning in Wisconsin schools, please visit the DPI website.

Ripp’s students also use Skype, Flip video cameras, Livescribe pen, Global Read Aloud, Animoto and other various websites in their presentations. Middleton teachers and students use technology every day in their classrooms. Some examples include:

  • College Preparatory Mathematics offers interactive web resources, including Cecil the Tightrope Walker.
  • English Second Language Learners have access to language conversions.
  • Middle and high school band students use the SmartMusic website to prepare for their solo and ensemble festivals. The program allows students to hear the piano accompaniment to their solo on the computer and practice their own part.
  • Kromrey Middle School computer teacher Brian Miles has students making postcards of ancient Greek locations using PhotoBooth and PhotoShop. They will later use ScribbleMaps to map the location.
  • Glacier Creek social studies teacher Kristin Davis has students making interactive posters for their Civil War unit using Glogster. 
  • MHS math and computer science teacher Lori Hunt uploads lessons to her Moodle site each day and records difficult problems on YouTube. She also has a virtual office using Ellumniate Live! so students can “meet” with her to get help on homework on nights and weekends.

More than 1.7 million students were expected to participate in Digital Learning Day, which is sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education.