February 6, 2013, is Digital Learning Day in the Commonwealth of Virginia. “This event is part of a national campaign designed to celebrate innovative teaching and highlight practices that make learning more personalized and engaging for students; explore how digital learning can provide all students with the opportunities they deserve; and build the skills students need to succeed in college, career, and life.” Libraries promote each patron’s ability to participate in life-long learning. As life-long learners we are all students who can benefit from digital learning through digital literacy skills.
Let’s first define digital learning. “Digital learning is any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student's learning experience. Much more than "online learning," digital learning encompasses a wide spectrum of tools and practice, digital learning emphasizes… opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere and individualized instruction to ensure all students reach their full potential to succeed in college and a career.” In today’s world with the influx of devices capable of connecting to the Internet from almost anywhere, this means that we as life-long learners have the ability to continue learning at all times from all locations.
As adult life-long learners you participate in a digital learning environment each time you read this reference blog. You can improve upon this learning experience by engaging in conversation about the blog’s content through the comments section of the blog. The sharing of one’s thoughts and ideas regarding a topic helps to solidify one’s learning.
Massanutten Regional Library (MRL) offers a variety of digital learning environments for the use of our patrons. There are e-books for adults and older juveniles to read on their e-devices. For younger juveniles there is the TumbleBooks database which contains books that can be read on the computer by the patron or the computer can read the book aloud to the juvenile. The library not only offers the Reference Blog, but also a Youth Blog. The Youth Blog offers the same opportunity to interact with others by commenting on different posts. Databases provide life-long learning opportunities that enhance research skills and to gain results which contain more accurate and reliable information than a typical Internet search can provide. Other databases enable you to learn to speak a foreign language, prepare for a variety of tests, and simply improve your mathematics, science, and reading comprehension skills.
The digital learning environments currently in use at MRL are only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more digital environments and digital skills about which we can learn by using the library’s physical collection. What do you know about blogging, wikis, podcasting, and/or video production? Check out the display on MRL’s 2nd floor for books on these and other digital literacy skills.
 Virginia Department of Education. Superintendent’s Memo #006-13. http://www.doe.virginia.gov/administrators/superintendents_memos/2013/006-13.shtml
 Alliance for Excellent Education. Digital Learning Day. http://www.digitallearningday.org/learn-and-explore/what-is-digital-learning/