Kicking off Digital Learning Month is Molly Yowell. Molly is an English teacher at Danville Community High School and Digital Content Coordinator, working with the Office of eLearning and educators from throughout Indiana to curate quality content.
For a few years now the Office of eLearning has been very intentional about supporting teachers and students in the area of digital content curation. So many Indiana districts have adopted devices and have encouraged their teachers to step away from their textbooks and start to embrace the world of digital content. By using digital content, teachers are no longer chained to the textbook companies and their suggested resources and activities, and students are no longer forced to study the same material their parents did generations ago. Digital content caters to all learners; it’s auditory, visual, verbal, social, and even physical. Bonus: digital content is timely.
So if digital content is so wonderful, why aren’t all teachers and students using it?
Have you ever Googled a skill or topic you are teaching to see what digital resources were available? Currently my novels class is reading The Great Gatsby. (Sidenote: I LOVE this novel; it’s a must read.) After immersing ourselves in the Roaring Twenties through articles, videos, pictures, and music, we moved on and started focusing on characterization. Have you ever Googled, “How to teach characterization”? I have. There are literally hundreds of characterization resources out there, so when and where do I find the time to sort through them all? Yes, an advanced search would help me condense my findings, but there are still too many to vet (check, sort, investigate).
In hopes of giving teachers some of their personal time back, the Rockstars of Curation was assembled, super hero capes and all. This cohort of teachers was created last school year and consists of 50 Indiana teachers who specialize in K-12 English, social studies, math, and science. These rockstar teachers have spent countless hours vetting and organizing digital resources that pair nicely with the Indiana Academic Standards. Whole digital lessons have been curated for YOU to use as is or customize to fit your classroom needs. This spring the English and social studies teachers will be meeting to receive training on how to best use the Library of Congress primary source digital materials. Be on the lookout for new primary source learning activities this spring and summer. Also this summer the team hopes to move all of their content (whole lessons/activities and vetted learning objects) into Amazon Inspire, an upcoming digital content repository. Until then, continue to add to your personal digital library and know that there are teachers across the state who are also building their digital libraries one resource at a time.
For a collection of digital content curated by the Imagining and Creating Grant recipients and the Rockstars of Curation please visit K-12 Digital Content Links.
Digital Content Teacher Tip: This past semester instead of creating a review sheet for my students I created a Semester Final Pinterest Board for them to use. Instead of asking them to define characterization in order to study for their final, I simply put together a few quality and differentiated resources on characterization. I pinned a YouTube video, a digital poster, an academic website with explanations, a Google presentation, and an online practice quiz. My students loved the choices and could review the resources that best met their learning styles. Now I already have the boards created, so all I will need to do is check to make sure the resources still work and add to the board if I find more quality resources on the topic.