Every Day Should Be Digital Learning Day

Digital learning

Today is Digital Learning Day! As teachers across the country welcome powerful learning technologies into the classroom, students are engaging and benefitting from enhanced opportunities to achieve.

Access to technology has become as important to learning as access to a library, yet teachers remain the critical link between students and the content. As new, more mobile technologies have entered the classroom, often in the backpacks of students, teachers become orchestrators of projects and seek the best emerging digital environments for improving motivation, relevance and depth of learning.

Teachers are setting expectations for multiple revision cycles of student productions, made possible with professional tools for writing, composing music, creating video documentaries, and design. They are learning along with their students and modeling good questioning and Internet research strategies, assigning more complex and challenging projects and facilitating communication and collaboration even across borders.

Age used to be considered a barrier to technology use in the classroom, and we would call teachers “digital immigrants” and young students “digital natives.” But teachers have evolved especially as technology has become increasingly easy to use and available. Like most educated adults, teachers use technology for personal activities – reading, writing, shopping, communicating with family and friends, seeking health advice and more – and they are also using technology for professional growth. In addition to finding resources on myriad education related topics, they are joining communities of practice to learn with peers and publish and share their ideas and expertise.

Teachers unions and professional associations are supporting the inclusion of digital learning. The American Federation of Teachers launched Share My Lesson, “a place where educators can come together to create and share their very best teaching resources.” The National Science Teachers Association maintains one of the most robust online communities supporting thousands of science teachers nationwide.

Last August, we launched Connected Educator Month. Over 150 organizations participated, offering close to 100,000 hours of online professional learning, with offerings such as book groups, challenges and contests, discussions, webinars, as well as interactions focused on everything from how to manage the first six weeks of school to how to create your personal learning network. The archives of the sessions are all online. The most common sentiment we heard was that “every month should be connected educator month”. Yes, and every day should be Digital Learning Day!

The education profession is as complex and challenging as it is rewarding. There is plenty to learn but luckily, the opportunity to learn has never been greater. And today – Digital Learning Day – we celebrate and thank all those educators who are leading the way.

Read Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton’s “Digital Learning Day: No Better Time to Consider Our R&D Investment in Technology and Education.”

Karen Cator is director of the Office of Educational Technology.


  1. Today technology is playing a very important role in everyone’s life as today everything has moved online and people are also becoming more tech savvy.

  2. I know of a high school that requires its students to use ipads for studying and homework; however, not all of the families can afford internet at home. So these children are having to do their homework at places other than their own homes. Technology is great and has a place, but teaching this way puts a burden on families who are barely making ends meet.

  3. As the numbers of digital natives continue to increase in our schools, there will be a time when we won’t recognize DLD as it will be seamlessly integrated into the instruction. For now, I applaud the DOE for recognizing the need to highlight the changes taking place in our schools spearheaded by great teachers who understand the importance of using technology to engage students to learn and prepare for the workforce of the future.

  4. I consider that digital immigrants is a very offensive term when must of all are completly legal everywhere in the universe. We can be called NM DIGITAL E WHICH MEANS NOT MUCH DIGITAL ERA. With this term, once can still dominate the digitals but not be fully participant of the era since digitals are more and more develop and use since the 2010.

    It is very great that the USA advances in a very fast way. All individuals in the planet and the universe should advance in all matters. Therefore, I recommend the USA to develop very great strategies for Latin and South America in the Innovative and all matters advansment.


  5. Let’s make sure the nation’s not emphasizing process over substance.

    I find it unfortunate that there is more emphasis put on digital learning than on teaching students to write coherently.

  6. In response to TFT: The doctor and the dentist who best know your medical and dental needs use digital imaging, data processing, and technology-based research to diagnose and to treat your individual needs. I would expect no less from any great teacher.

  7. Myself and my students participated today in DLD and I’m excited for our district to become BYOD but now what do I do to secure some technology so we can utilize it? This is my greatest concern thus far.
    Thank you

    • Myself and my students? How about my students and I? It is sad when teachers cannot properly construct a sentence. Come on teachers, don’t get lost in the basics here. You model for your students in everything you do, written, spoken and otherwise… Technology will benefit no one if we neglect the basics of a solid education. If students do not have the basics modeled, all the technology we provide is meaningless.

  8. I assume this comment won’t make it past your ‘moderators” but here goes:

    Digital Learning is a ridiculous concept invented to help sell stuff to people (families with children) who don’t need it.

    I am a teacher. A great one. Technology has little or nothing to do with what I do, unless it does. I don’t need to be pushed — in fact, I know best how to reach my students, children you have never even met.

    The DOE under Duncan and its blog here are an embarrassment to real teachers.

    Lastly, children are not digital, and therefore cannot be digital learners.

    You guys can’t even use language correctly.

  9. Yes, every day is Digital Learning Day, so let me take you through a quick walkthrough of the halls of Wamogo Regional Middle/High School and give you a snapshot on how digital learning looks in the English classrooms grades 7-12. http://wp.me/p1FPEO-1bv

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