Kicking off Digital Learning Day with the "Digital Learning Series"

The Technology Specialist and Technology Department Head in my school district has been a great mentor to not only me, but to lots of teachers in my school building. He is passionate about technology, yes, but he is more passionate about learning.  To help motivate and inspire the teachers in our school, he is initiating professional development in lieu of Digital Learning Day.  He calls it the Digital Learning Series and the series will be kicking off on Digital Learning Day, February 1, 2012.  Below is his outline for our school's professional development in digital learning.  Thanks Brett for all that you do!  

Kicking off Digital Learning Day with the Digital Learning Series

Guest Blog Post by Brett Sparrgrove, author of 

February 1, 2012 is Digital Learning Day and I want to use this day to kick off the inaugural Digital Learning Series (DLS). Each month there will be a new Digital Learning Theme. 

The goal of each month is to explore a concept and discover how it can support, enhance and possibly transform your teaching and learning practices (not too intimidating, right?).

By focusing on a theme for an entire month, it allows concepts to be broken down into manageable, bite-sized pieces. It will also allow for the delivery of some focused, timely professional development (formal/informal, self-paced and face-to-face/virtual/web-based).

I’m really interested in your development as it relates to increasing the frequency with which you use technology for your teaching and for student-centered learning activities. My standard caveat here is: “I’m less interested in THAT you are using the technology and more interested in HOW you are using the technology”

The Digital Learning Series is going to emphasize the HOW.

The theme for February is: Visual Literacy

Sounds Good, What Do You Want Me To Do?

1. To kick it off I made a video (4:30) that you should watch:

2. Once you have watched that, it’s time to explore the digital learning page ( This page contains research, ideas and examples. Admittedly, it’s not complete and I’m going to keep working on it… it may not look like it yet, but I have put a lot of time and thought into it.

3. Since each Digital Learning Series focus is a month long, breaking concepts into weeks seemed logical.

The goals for week 1 (Feb 1-3) is to try something new and to share (really, that’s it). The week 1 page goes into more detail on this (and I’ll be sending out more materials). My guess is that some of you already have an idea in mind. For those that don’t, the week 1 page contains ten idea starters.

I’ll announce more details for the coming weeks soon… but you know it will be centered around visual literacy topics.  

A Catalyst for Meaningful Teaching and Learning

I’m very sensitive to the time you already put into helping our students and I’m doing my best to design ideas that should fit into what you are already doing quite nicely… Some of the things we try may be outside of your comfort zone, and I think that is a good thing. But I can only provide some structure and advice, you are the critical component to your own development; how much you get out of it will depend on how much you put in to it. On a personal note, I’m looking forward to my own growth and development as well. I’m a learner too and my understandings about visual literacy will grow and change as a result of this DLS event.

In Closing…

My hope for this is that our increased use of technology and the instructional practices that drive that use kind of grows organically. I hope we try new things, make mistakes, share and grow. It might be a bit messy at first as we get comfortable with it (learning should be messy). One thing is certain, if we give it a go with honesty and purpose, no one can say we didn’t try.

Finally, I want to say thanks to the Tech Ambassadors (Leah, Farrell, Kathleen, Maureen, and Lauren) and Brad whose guidance and advice mean a lot to me… we are lucky to have them here.

For more information on Digital Learning Day, visit my blog post: Digital Learning Day is Tomorrow:  Pass it on ...