U.S. Department of Education Releases Digital Learning Guides for Teachers and School Leaders

The U.S. Department of Education is excited to announce the release of two new resources that help teachers and school leaders meet the needs of their students by using thoughtful and creative digital learning experiences. The Teacher Digital Learning Guide (Teacher Guide) and the School Leader Digital Learning Guide (Leader Guide) are designed to provide educators and leaders resources as they use digital tools to better help students learn.

Students rely on technology especially when learning in virtual, hybrid and limited school opening environments. These guides provide strategies to help teachers and leaders effectively use digital learning strategies both inside and outside the classroom. Teachers and leaders may also use the information in the guides to support parents and families, as they navigate learning from home.

The Teacher Guide includes insights on ways to meet the individual needs of students by using educational technology (EdTech), promoting personalized learning, and embracing professional development opportunities. The Leader Guide provides suggestions to school leaders on developing a vision for digital learning and to help consider, plan, fund, implement, maintain, and adapt learning programs designed to best serve and empower students of all abilities.

The guides discuss topics including:

  • Serving the unique needs of each student by leveraging EdTech to implement personalized learning. This includes a discussion on how teachers and leaders can support student engagement and design meaningful assessments in a digital learning environment.
  • Developing and maintaining a digital infrastructure that supports students and teachers with the successful implementation of digital tools. This includes information about access to the internet, selection and maintenance of EdTech and devices, and protecting student privacy and security.
  • Fostering collaboration and communication between teachers and the parents and families of their students, as the primary educators of their children. Digital tools allow new ways for students, teachers, and families to connect with one another and to share best practices which promote student achievement, proper care and maintenance of devices, online safety, digital citizenship, screen time practices, and student health and wellness.
  • Prioritizing professional learning for teachers that promotes the on-going acquisition of EdTech teaching skills to benefit their students. This includes a discussion on identifying professional learning opportunities, fostering collaboration, and providing access to shared resources to create an environment of quality instruction, learning, and assessment.

The Department created these guides with the contributions and feedback from digital learning experts including researchers, educators, and school leaders. These publications are a companion to the Parent and Family Digital Learning Guide that was released last October (a Spanish translation is also available here).

To access all three guides, please click here.

MLK Day: 5 Ways to Help Your Kids Explore its Significance

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born January 15, 1929, and each year we recognize his birthday and life’s work with a federal holiday. King is well known for his efforts as a civil rights movement leader and for bringing about racial equality in the nation by using nonviolent means. The same year that King won the Nobel Peace Prize in the field of human rights, the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed.

The following activities may be good ways to help families explore the significance of King’s work.

  1. Learn about the civil rights movement: The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s was the political, legal, and social struggle to gain full citizenship rights for African Americans and to achieve racial equality. Note that on August 28, 1963, over 200,000 participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
  2. Volunteer for a day of service: According to mlkday.gov, King once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’” In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service  with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. With your kids, look online at photos of a previous year’s day of service to give your kids an idea of what volunteering is all about.
    Enrich your kids’ understanding of making a contribution to societal welfare, as Martin Luther King did, by encouraging them to volunteer . Even at a young age, kids can help by making cards for a local hospital or adopting an elderly neighbor by checking on him or her on a routine basis. Or make it a family effort; volunteer along with your kids for local community activities.
  3. Read the “I Have a Dream” speech: See if your kids can find King’s speech listed in the program for the March on Washington. Try reading the speech or watching the March on Washington with your kids to get a sense of content, and ask questions about the meaning and significance of selected words and phrases in the speech.
  4. Learn the intent of monuments: Let your kids know memorials can be made to not only remind us of a particular person or event, but the actual structure’s architecture can relay different messages and intent, as well. Impress upon your kids the amount of thought that is given when designing a memorial, such as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
  5. Locate historical places of relevance: People from all over the country traveled to Washington, DC, for the March on Washington. Learn about historic civil rights locations around the country with the National Park Service’s interactive map. Ask your kids if they see any places that are in their home state. Have them pick out a place or two they’d like to learn about, and read about it online together.

These are a few ideas for the many activities you can enjoy with your kids while learning more about Martin Luther King, Jr., and the civil rights movement.

Disclaimer: The U.S. Department of Education does not mandate or prescribe particular curricula or lesson plans. This information is provided for the visitor’s convenience and is included here as an example of the many resources that parents and educators may find helpful and use at their option.