Horry County teacher takes digital learning to a new level

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - You may have learned by studying books, but today's kids are getting their education through technology. One local teacher is taking learning a step further and her students say, it's the reason they love learning.

Through Danielle Watson's classroom doors at Whittemore Park Middle School, kids are taking the digital learning initiative in Horry County Schools, and bringing it to life.

Watson's lessons don't strictly come from books, she writes lessons to the tune of popular songs, making it easier for her students to remember the material.

"It definitely beats reading about lab safety, said Watson. "We read about it, yes, but then it shows how we understand."

This isn't the first time Watson is incorporating media in learning. Last year, she got the majority of the 6th grade involved in an anti-bullying campaign. It's a song against bullying, to the tune of "Blurred Lines," by Robin Thicke and Watson said this song made a huge difference in the halls of Whittemore Park.

"That's holding them accountable, if you were in it and you were fighting against it, how dare you actually do it," said Watson.

Overall, this teacher, also known as Teacher of the Year at Whittemore Park Middle School, wants the tunes and the meaning behind them to stick with her students, like any other song you can't get out of your head.

"I know student engagement is a huge part of a student environment, student voices as well and I know they like doing the videos, they love seeing themselves, they love feeling like they're part of something," said Watson.

Tapping into music is also what helps engage students, changing the lyrics to match lesson plans is what helps them learn.

"They're just so fun, they keep me paying attention more," said student Kieranie Brown.

"Some other classes I don't pay so much attention, but this one, I like this one," said student Luis Vilalobos.

It then helps them commit the information to memory and show off their talents.

"On tests I hear them singing the songs that I taught them, so I know it helps them to remember," said Watson.

It doesn't end here. Watson wants to incorporate music into learning for years to come with her idea, "It's a Wrap." She wants to put a studio in the middle school so kids can make their own digital creations. She wants them to have the chance to film, edit and make their own content to share with the world.

She might be able to make this a reality. Watson just won a $2,000 Unsung Heroes Grant for innovative teaching from Voya Financial. She is now in the running to win up to $25,000 more. If she does, our kids win, because they could get the tools they need for this hands on learning experience.

"If we could have a platform or just a space here in our own school that's an outlet for them to do that, that would be amazing," said Watson.

This teacher is not just empowering her students, but kids across the globe. Some of her students' YouTube videos have thousands of views.

This YouTube Video is public for you to see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKLciIKOv0s&feature=youtu.be

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