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4 Ways to Enhance Digital Learning

Communicator
October, 2016, Volume 40, Issue 2

NAESP celebrated National Principals Month with a series of Twitter chats hosted by four of the 2016 NAESP/VINCI Digital Leader of Early Learning honorees. The chats brought forth a wealth of resources for principals and other school staff that will directly impact their students and classroom learning or help principals perform their jobs more efficiently.

Chats included technology and early learning with Jessica Cabeen of Minnesota, using Padlet and other digital tools with Carrie McWilliams of Rhode Island, integrating coding into a general elementary curriculum with John Beeck of Iowa, and digital portfolios for all students with Kimberly Hill of Florida.

 

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All of the chats took place on #ThankAPrincipal, the hashtag to mark National Principals Month. Here are just a few insights from the chats, and advice on how to improve digital learning at your school:

1. Tech in Early Learning

The first chat saw educators sharing their thoughts on enhancing early learning with technology. Several chatters noted that principals must encourage teachers to think about technology and take chances, then help others learn from their experiences. There are all sorts of devices and programs that can benefit children as young as preschool age.

2. Digital Portfolios

Kimberly Hill, principal of Leila G. Davis Elementary in Clearwater, Florida, cited Seesaw as one of the best platforms to use with early grades, she noted that it allows her to review all student posts before they go public. She also said she has used Showbie, which is a virtual turn-in space where students have their own folder and teachers can grade, annotate, and save work to a portfolio.

3. Integrating Coding in Curriculum

John Beeck of Loess Hills Elementary in Sioux City, Iowa, discussed his school’s decision to integrate coding into its general education curriculum, saying “Today everything involves some sort of coding. Children who code are able problem solvers and adept critical thinkers.” Other chatters named several of their favorite resources and websites for coding, such as Kodable, beebots, #Code.org, goTynker, Sphero, Dash, Ozobots, and Osmos Coding.

 

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4. Staying Organized

One chat revolved around organization tools for educators. Websites like Padlet offer principals a private dashboard to have open discussions and get anonymous feedback from students and teachers. Other suggestions included Todoist, Asana, Google Apps, and even just making use of Microsoft Outlook.

While National Principals Month may be coming to an end, NAESP will continue to host Twitter chats on topics that impact our members. The next event will be Nov. 15 with a chat for early career principals. Stay tuned for more details!

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