Celebrating Lakota Learning Day

Celebrating Lakota Learning Day
Posted on 03/12/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Celebrating Lakota Learning Day

Lakota Learning Day collageIt’s not just the classrooms that look different… rows of desks have been replaced with flexible seating options like comfy chairs and standing desks. But learning has taken on a whole new look as well.

Last week, Lakota turned National Digital Learning Day into Lakota Learning Day to celebrate these changes.

"It really isn’t just digital learning, or personalized learning, or social emotional learning, etc. that makes a difference,” said Director of Digital Learning Krista Heidenreich. “It’s all of it! It’s just good learning.” Across the district, staff members used #LakotaLearningDay on Twitter to showcase this learning.

Creekside ECS second-graders worked to raise money to purchase animals for communities in Uganda as an extension of a unit on economics. But the project didn’t stop there. Instructional Coach Jenny Haynes created a virtual reality tour of communities in Uganda and embedded information about which animals were purchased by students and what those animals offer the community. The students were so excited – and it sparked their desire to learn. Just look at this tweet Haynes posted.


Twitter Post from Haynes

Other examples included two full science classes doing a blended lesson using google sheets, an art class doing group collaboration study of sculpture, and Woodland third- and sixth-graders working together to teach one another about Quizlet, an online learning tool.

Community business leaders even got to participate in Lakota Learning Day. During a visit to Lakota East’s Innovation Hub for a Cyber Academy Advisory Board meeting, they joined in as East ASL students skyped with West ASL students to practice finger-spelling. The visitors were impressed with the personalized, future-ready learning that was happening in the district and one business leader commented that “these are exactly the type of spaces we either have or we are building for our employees.”

Lakota’s Technology Department worked closely with the Curriculum & Instruction Department to rebrand Digital Learning Day to Lakota Learning Day. “It is great to be able to truly partner with the tech department to design, implement and celebrate great learning. That doesn’t happen in many places,” said Keith Koehne, Lakota’s Executive Director of Curriculum & Instruction.

Chief Technology Officer Todd Wesley agreed. “It’s exciting to watch how we have evolved to celebrate the great things that make up Lakota Learning, including the purposeful application of technology as a learning tool, not the focus.”

Last week Wesley announced a new partnership with the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE). “Lakota is one of the first districts in the world to provide an ISTE membership to our entire staff,” said Wesley. “This gives staff access to world class resources in support of our student-centered mission.”   

Innovation Hubs across the district also give students access to new learning resources. Last week, this video highlighting opportunities made possible by these Innovation Hubs was featured in the #FutureReady Film Festival.

Another reason to celebrate was the launch of the 1:1 Chromebook initiative for junior high and high school students. Lakota even announced a pilot program where WiFi has been added to a bus at each junior high with the longest route for students.

Lakota Learning Day actually expanded into Lakota Learning Week. There was a special #LakotaEdChat for staff and students on Wednesday, along with a week-long #LakotaSlowChat.

This student post from the EdChat shows that personalized, student-centered learning inspires students well beyond the classroom.

Student Twitter post from Lakota Edchat

Lakota’s new mission statement reflects that: Everything WE do is designed to provide a future ready, student-centered learning experience for every single child. “Bringing all of these learning options together for our students is the cornerstone of Lakota’s new strategic plan,” said Superintendent Matthew Miller.

On Friday, as the district brought the week-long celebration of Lakota Learning to a close, several students across the district gave shout-outs to their teachers on Twitter – including this group of West Freshman students.

"It is so important that we take opportunities like Lakota Learning Day to share and celebrate the amazing learning experiences in our classrooms, but also to bring forth, in a big way, the energy that is created when we do what’s best for kids,” said Heidenreich.

Be sure to follow Team Inspire’s Twitter Feed to continue watching Lakota Learning in action.