Last Minute Digital Learning Day No-Tech Resources…You Can Do This!

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It never fails! It is Digital Learning Day; you’ve planned your lessons and excitement is building for all of your well thought out activities implementing technology. You prepared carefully, making sure websites work, student passwords and logins are readily available, nothing is forgotten. Then what happens? The internet is down for the day, smart boards don’t work, and your amazing plans won’t work.

Don’t worry, here are some quick and easy activities to teach digital learning all without needing the internet, electricity, or computers! Remember, according to the official Digital Learning Day site (TeachersFirst review) it’s not about technology, it’s about the learning.

One of the most common student interactions with digital information is through social media, so let’s focus on the proper use of social media content. Ruth Okoye’s blog last year shared a great deal of information on social media practice. In that blog, Ruth provided reasons for practicing the proper use of social media along with several ideas for no-tech practice.

Also, an OK2Ask Tweet Chat from December 2018 shared many different strategies and resources for using social media. Scroll through the chat to find many different ideas for using social media in the classroom; several of those ideas work perfectly for a last-minute activity. My favorite idea from that chat is paper blogging. This activity is an excellent idea for making the most of last-minute technical issues.

  • Take a look at this blog by Karen Arrington sharing ideas for paper and table blogging – no tech required! Use ideas from this site to brainstorm ideas using paper or tables for upcoming student projects, outline ideas and content for future student blogs or podcasts, share social media tips or write a class round-robin story.
  • Here’s another blog by Pernille Ripp that shares ideas for teaching proper commenting through the use of paper blogs.
  • Elizabeth Peterson shows how she introduced online blogging through paper blogs. Students went through the entire blogging process before publishing online. When finished, they were excited and prepared for their work to go online through practice and class discussions.

Here are some other social media practice activities for you and your students to try:

  • Create fictional Twitter profiles for story characters, people in history, or as a biography project. Download and print the template here (I know, that uses technology – hopefully you can do this before everything else goes down!).
  • Here is a printable Facebook template for students to create for any character. If needed, have students use this as a model to develop and produce a template of their design.
  • Create centers labeled for different social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use the table blogging idea to have students write and share thoughts on the proper use of each site. If your classroom isn’t sharing through social media, ask students to write ideas on how to get started and what kind of information to share. Let them convince you that it would be a good idea!
  • Maybe your classroom is looking a little lived-in by now. Take advantage of this time for students to create a bulletin board and door decorations with a social media theme. Pinterest has many examples, I’ve collected a few for inspiration here.
  • As a final activity, have students write a short tweet as an exit ticket then use those tweets as part of your classroom display.

Teachers know that flexibility is essential, many times our best intentions get waylaid due to unforeseen circumstances. If this happens to you, shove that roadblock out of the way and keep moving on!

Do you participate in Digital Learning Day? Maybe you have had to adjust your plans due to technical problems. We would love to hear your ideas and suggestions in the comments below.


About the author: Sharon Hall

Sharon Hall was a recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Math teaching. With over 15 years of classroom experience as a National Board Certified teacher, Sharon shares her content knowledge and reflections on ideas for basic classroom technology integration with us.

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