Digital Learning Day is turning five this year on February 17th. So we caught up with Kamila Thigpen of the Alliance of Excellent Education, who founded Digital Learning Day. She shared, “Digital Learning Day was developed as a way to help support the transformation that we saw going on across the country in terms of how teaching and learning were changing.”
The day is designed to give training and access to schools that may not have as many resources, and to encourage schools to use higher-order tasks using technology, rather than simple tools that don’t challenge students. In honor of that spirit, here’s a list of some meaningful ways to add video to your classroom:
Concept illustration: Have students create a short video defining a term. This type of assignment works for almost any classroom; have students find visuals that represent their term and then add a text slide defining it. These short videos could even go up on a school Instagram account to share what students are doing. The work of creating the video will reinforce the concept, keep students engaged, and let you create a set of class vocabulary terms that you can post on YouTube or on your class site for students to review later.
Book trailers: Let students briefly summarize the plot of a book and share their review. These student book trailers can then be linked to the books themselves by adding a QR code to classroom or school library books.
Style: Vintage Voyage
Song: “A Sunnyside” by Leftover Cuties
Digital art portfolio: Art students can create video slideshows of their work as a final project or as a simple way to protect their individual images while still sharing their art with the world. For example, fine arts teacher Tiffany Asha has her students create digital portfolios that they can then share when applying for admission to college.
Song: “Making Memories” by Steve Fawcett
Digital scavenger hunt: Give students a camera (or let them use their phones) to collect images based around a theme. The assignment can be tailored to just about any discipline. For math students, let them find examples of acute angles or parallel lines. English classes can search out grammar mistakes in everyday life. And a scavenger hunt is a great way to add more purpose to a class trip. When they’ve finished, let students collect the images they’ve found and create a video that can be used as a reference later.
Lesson for a blended classroom: Flip your class for Digital Learning Day and have students review major concepts before they get to class. For example, high school English teacher Catlin Tucker assigns this video on writing a timed argumentative essay before class so she has more time for individual instruction and learning stations.
Persuasive argument: Being able to persuade with technology is an important tool for students to have. Give future politicians and businesspersons some experience convincing an audience with video. Assign a position — for example, let them create campaign videos for a candidate (current, historical, or fictional) — and see how well they do at persuading you to vote for their candidate.
Video blog entry: Do your students blog for your class? Let students include video in their blogs as well. For example, Beth Hughes and Chris Gosselin have students share their reading journey (and share their own as well). Introspective assignments like this one force students to think and be creative, and lets learners who are less comfortable writing find a way to shine.
Style: Back to School
Song: “Coquetry” by McKenzie Stubbert
Class project: If you have a big unit project or even just want to check for understanding, encourage students create a video instead of or in addition to a written project. For instance, let students explore history with art and historical photos set to music to convey ideas about an era. Drama and English students can act out parts of famous plays and share the results, while science students can document their experiments.
Introduction to a class or unit: Give a peek into a course, or open a unit with a video explaining some of the major concepts you’ll be teaching, as Michelle Pacansky-Brock does here in this video introducing a class on the history of photography.
Song: “Believe” by Windsor Drive
Record of class activities. Want to document an interesting assignment for students and parents? Snap a few quick photos and video clips and create a simple video set to music that you can share. For example, on February 17th, take out your cell phone and snap a few quick photos of Digital Learning Day in your school, and then create a beautiful video to remember the day.