The Great Digital Escape

The Great Digital Escape
Posted on 03/24/2016

By Beverly Watson, Formative Assessment for Maryland Educators Facilitator at Pocomoke Elementary School

To ensure excellence in education, Pocomoke Elementary School embraces innovative opportunities to provide hands-on digital experiences for all students. Technology and tools are embedded within daily instruction, building student capacity to effectively communicate and efficiently function in society using 21st Century digital language. Digital proficiency is necessary for successful execution of business transactions, digital employment applications, online banking, social media, digital communication, online shopping, travel reservations, etc. Pocomoke Elementary School is working diligently toward a digital conversion that will provide a one-to-one ratio of student to digital device. Classroom instructional activities, fortified by continually advancing technology and tools, provide a solid foundation upon which students may participate in digital learning experiences. Blended classroom opportunities encourage individualized critical and innovative thinking, as well as, collaborative activities enabling team exploration, discovery and problem-solving.

As part of our digital conversion initiative, Pocomoke Elementary pioneered an unprecedented “digital” opportunity for parents and children to participate in a fun, engaging experience for the entire family! As cabin fever peaked with long winter nights, inclement weather and “indoor” weekends, Pocomoke Elementary invited families to “digitally” explore amazing online adventures! With internet access and a digital device, parents and children were offered four incredible “online” adventures designated as Pocomoke Elementary School’s Great Digital Escape. Through virtual fieldtrips to the San Diego Zoo, Yellowstone National Park and the National Aquarium, families were invited to view live animal cams, explore extraordinary animal videos or tour photo galleries. Digital scavenger hunts highlighted seasonal winter exhibits and hands-on projects! Child-hosted video segments featured unique careers detailing onsite responsibilities and training requirements. A most preferred adventure introduced child-friendly snack recipes and edible art creations!

To extend online learning and adventure conversation, students were asked to share three points learned as a result of the adventure, two surprising discoveries and one concept about which a question remains. Optional extension activities were suggested as a collaborative effort between parent and child. Home videos capturing hands-on activities, photographs, maps, dioramas, poems, or game designs inspired by adventures were proposed for student consideration in sharing digital experiences with classmates! Student participants were recognized with adventure certificates. Distinguished honor was awarded for completion of extension activities given the creativity, innovation, parent/child partnership, internet/technology use and environmental impact of projects.

Students who can step into their post-graduate future with digital literacy and technology proficiency will be globally equipped to seek, process and apply a wealth of information necessary for career success! This digital adventure showcased digital literacy as a “must have” skill for success in college and career readiness in the 21st Century. It offered opportunity to safely expand childhood repertoire of internet usage and build capacity for digital citizenship. Pocomoke Elementary is deeply appreciative of parental support in making this adventure a wonderful experience for students and invites neighboring communities to explore the Great Digital Escape through our school’s website (www.peswebsite.weebly.com). A second adventure will launch in May!

For further information, contact Stephanie Taylor or Beverly Watson at (410) 632-5130.