Student Led Learning on National Digital Learning Day

By Jennifer Crandall (@teachercrandall

Context: Student Led Digital Learning celebrates the use of digital technology in learning and demonstrates leadership skills. This experience path is for all students who are driven and want to take on a challenge to teach their peers technology. Students focus on one topic and work in small groups to prepare and then present in class to 20 classmates.

Students are given the opportunity to take ownership of their learning  

This is year two of my participation in National Digital Learning Day.  When I first came across the Twitter post I knew I wanted to participate, but I had to think how I was going to make it meaningful to my students.  I work at Kickemuit Middle School in Warren, RI and I am a sixth-grade special education inclusion teacher. In the classroom, I had been emphasizing the idea that a student leader is an independent learner, using their voice, helping others, and taking on the responsibility of their learning.  In the classroom, we are one to one with Chromebooks, so I knew that I could challenge my students with the idea of student-led digital learning.

In the inclusion classroom, I find it very important that all students are given the opportunity to show their strengths.  I often find that my special education students have the opportunity to shine with technology. Therefore, a National Digital Learning Day assignment for my students was something I was very interested in.  I teach in four inclusion classrooms, so I offered all 90 students the opportunity to apply for a leadership technology role for Digital Learning Day. Fifteen students were chosen and they worked during the school day in groups and independently at home.  They began their journey in January and were given two weeks to think, plan, create and teach on National Digital Learning Day. This year the students will be teaching their peers: How to organize their Google Drive, Screencastify, Wevideo, Grammarly, Swivl and Google Draw.


Getting Organized

I created a Google Form to organize the student information.  The form asked the students if they wanted to participate as a student leader, why they wanted to participate, and what would they like to teach.  

Student Cooperative Groups

I chose fifteen students with a variety of achievement abilities, and based on their responses on the Google Form I assigned them to groups of three.  The most important decision for picking my group was based on if the learner was motivated to lead, explore, and learn on their own. All students were considered and the students I chose included honor roll students, students on Individual Education Plans (IEP), students with Personal Literacy Plans (PLP), and advanced learning students.  The common thread was that these students needed to want a challenge to be a student leader.

Student Leader Responsibilities

  • As a group the students had to make a decision on what they wanted to teach their peers.
  • They needed to research and learn the new technology.
  • Design, Create and Understand how they were going to present the information

Expectations of the Teacher

  • Let the student be the owner of the learning
  • Provide ongoing and regular feedback
  • Help create a skeleton outline of what the expectations are for the presentation and timeframe
  • Model growth mindset and motivate students to reach their individual goals
  • Expect and embrace mistakes



Check out this video with an overview and highlight of our Digital Learning Day experiences.

National Digital Learning Day was on 2/22/2018

“Started in 2012, Digital Learning Day has provided a powerful venue for education leaders to highlight great teaching practices and showcase innovative teachers, leaders, and instructional technology programs that are improving student outcomes.”



Jen Crandall is a 6th grade special education teacher and Digital Learning Coach at Kickemuit Middle School. You can follow her on twitter @teachercrandall.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s