Williamstown participates in Digital Learning Day

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Williamstown teachers, staff and even a few students got technologically advanced as part of Digital Learning Day.
The national campaign that shines a spotlight on successful instructional practice and effective use of technology in classrooms took place Feb. 6.
To participate, Williamstown Independent Schools took part in a QR code scavenger hunt throughout the school using an Ipad to learn new digital teaching tools.
QR codes were placed in six common staff areas around the school for staff to scan the large codes and review the content, website or video they are taken to.
From a type-to-speech generator and a survey site to a flashcard application and a Khan Academy link, each QR code provided another potential teaching tool.
“With so many things out there to choose from, sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming for a classroom teacher,” said Kathy Shoemaker, Williamstown Independent Schools library media and technology support. “Hopefully, we gave them a few examples to create a starting point. We hope each teacher picked up at least one new tool they can use.”
A clue to the location of the next QR code was given by scanning a smaller code.
Participants were given a quiz at the end of the scavenger hunt and an Ipad was given to one elementary teacher and one junior/senior high teacher through a drawing.
Williamstown High School Spanish teacher Silvia Encinas brought along students during her scavenger hunt, using the opportunity to have the students translate the clues from English to Spanish.
Williamstown Elementary kindergarten teacher Julie Kinsey said she enjoyed the Digital Learning Day.

“The scavenger hunt was very beneficial because it taught me new ways to use the Ipads in the classroom,” she said. “There is a wealth of ideas being used in schools across the country.”
Although they are only in their first year of school, Kinsey said she has been using Ipads extensively with her students this year.

“I am so proud of the boys and girls,” she said. “It’s amazing how quickly the students pick up on things. They use the Ipads almost daily to practice reading and math skills as well as using the QR scanner to link them to stories on websites. In addition, they work with a partner or in small groups to research animals and other topics.”
Shoemaker said the teachers responded well to the scavenger hunt and Digital Learning Day, even expressing an interest in creating their own lesson for their classrooms.

“Seeing so many of them taking their students along on the scavenger hunt was great,” she said. “It was especially interesting to see how they incorporated it into their lesson for the day. One student said, ‘This is the most awesome adventure ever!’ Isn’t that how we want kids to feel about school in general?”