Hundreds of teachers explore online innovation at #KyGoDigital

July 30, 2019

kygodigital session
Irina McGrath, left, and Michelle Shory, instructional coaches from JCPS, discussed ways to enhance learning for ESL students. 
Nearly 400 K-12 teachers wearing purple T-shirts flooded Bellarmine University’s campus on Tuesday for what was described as a “teacher-tech Woodstock.”
Bellarmine’s Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education hosted a free KyGoDigital Educator Workshop where teachers shared innovative classroom technology practices with other teachers and administrators. Attendees wore purple in support of the notion that innovative teachers are as unique and remarkable as a purple cow would be. Purple-spotted cow cookies were provided as a snack.
The daylong event was part of the #KyGoDigital Summer Tour, which is in turn part of the #KyGoDigital Movement. The Bellarmine location drew teachers from north-central Kentucky.
kygodigital welcome
The movement’s mission is Create, Connect, Share — create innovative learning experiences; connect them through events and social media; and allow teachers to share their innovation. The goal is to give students across the state more online learning opportunities. While the Kentucky Department of Education originated the hashtag #KyGoDigital and helps to facilitate events, teachers have largely taken ownership of the movement.
“Bellarmine is so supportive of this movement — teachers learning best practices from other teachers; what worked, what didn’t work, the opportunity to have your colleagues help you think,” said Dr. Kristin Cook, interim associate dean of the School of Education, who welcomed the teachers to campus.
In addition to regional events, #KYGoDigital launched a YouTube channel in fall 2017. It’s currently home to 113 webcasts focusing on digital learning tools and related topics. Webcasts can be viewed live or on-demand.
Educators also use the hashtag #KYGoDigital to ask questions about education technology on Twitter and to share their own content.
Teachers were enthusiastically tweeting from the Bellarmine event throughout the day — #KyGoDigital was the No. 1 trending topic in Louisville around 3 p.m. Tuesday.
“Check out these great #ESL resources from @irina_mcgrath and @michelleshory!” one teacher shared, referring to two English as a Second Language instructional coaches from Jefferson County Public Schools. “They presented helpful translation tools and everyday classroom enhancers at #KyGoDigital.” McGrath and Shory talked about adding captions to YouTube videos and using Google translate, for example.
Other presenters shared tips on creating virtual reality landscapes, using video games to quiz students on math concepts and using technology to understand students’ varying learning styles.
Events like these also help break down silos between districts and counties, Cook said, “and that is hugely valuable. Our School of Education is extremely supportive of those kinds of opportunities as a way to stay connected, even past the conference today.”
Article by Carla Carlton, Director of Development Communications in Bellarmine's Office of Enrollment, Marketing and Communication

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