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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What is digital learning? | The Gardner News

As we begin a new school year at the Ashburnham Westminster Regional School District, we continue to make steady progress in all areas of student and staff development. We are continuing to implement our 5-year Strategic Plan: Ash-West 2021, as well as planning and designing technology integration, researching curriculum and assessment alignment, namely in implementing Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and funding extra-curricular activities and athletics. We used a “what we need now mantra” to determine the essential services and experiences that will keep us a vibrant and growing school district today and in the future. We review our district goals each summer, evaluate our outcomes, and plan next steps for the coming school year. Our goal is to offer our students the very best learning experiences that we are able. We are very excited to add two Digital Learning Coaches to our school district who will work with teachers and students with technology in the classroom and as a tool to help them in their planning, studies, and presentations. Here you can learn more about it!
Dr. Gary F. Mazzola, Superintendent

Fifth-grade students create a talking trashcan that reduces litter in the schoolyard. At the middle school, students design tactile wrist watches for people with visual impairments. 

Briggs Elementary School students Savannah Stowell, Isabelle Comeau, Reagan Bouchard, Abigail Silvia and Laycee Lauletta program a sensor.
Photo: Courtesy

In each case, students from the Ashburnham Westminster Regional School District are engaged in “digital learning”—using technology to solve a problem. To create the trash can, elementary students had to collaborate via Google Docs; analyze survey data with Google Sheets; and write an algorithm to program the motion sensor. For the wrist watch project, middle school students had to find and evaluate information about visual impairments; apply knowledge about grid coordinate systems and geometric forms to CAD modeling; and use a 3D printer to produce a model...

In addition to traditional skills like using a spreadsheet or evaluating online information resources, the 2016 standards emphasize programming and computational thinking skills. Students as young as kindergarten use “unplugged” activities, such as writing directions for making a peanut butter sandwich, to learn how to think like a programmer. Older students use robots to tackle more sophisticated skills like writing and debugging code. Whether choreographing a dance and light show with Ozobots or competing in the high school’s VEX Robotics competition, students take away the ability to reason abstractly, define steps precisely, collect and analyze data, and model complex problems.

The district has hired two Digital Learning Coaches to help Ash-West teachers integrate the new standards into the core curriculum.
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Source: The Gardner News