Digital technology in teaching and learning

I have been preparing a presentation for a conference and trying to succinctly explain the rationale for using technology, in this case students creating book trailers as a means of responding to their reading and sharing their ideas.

As part of the PLP program, over the past few weeks I have also been having discussions with various people/colleagues, both face-to-face and on-line, about Web2.0 technologies and the digital revolution going on in the world around us. Technology is omnipresent and touches many aspects of our lives today.  Many discussions have been about the application of the technologies, not the technologies in themselves, in education. They have been about how Web2.0 tools are being used, adapted and applied to create different learning opportunities for the students.  It would be fair to say that the impact that the digital world has had on learning and teaching has been patchy.

Some students have had wonderful opportunities and exposure to different digital media and have created some amazing responses to the learning tasks they have been set. These students are excited about the learning opportunities in their classrooms and look forward to being a part of them. Other students have not had the same opportunities to given to them by their teachers. Why?

Why is it that some teachers, and administrators, have failed to see the benefits and importance of using the appropriate technologies in a classroom setting? Is it because they have not embraced the notion of digital literacy, or are they digitally literate themselves? Many are dedicated teachers but they are unfamiliar with the tools being offered to them. They have not experienced them first-hand and they cannot see why they need to know about them. The only way to really get an affinity with digital technology and web2.0 tools is to experience them, experimenting, playing and using various things for themselves.

For instance Web2.0 tools and digital media offer alternatives, not add-ons but alternative and wide-ranging ways to teaching skills and providing students with learning environments that are closer to the “real world” outside the classroom/school.

Students are immersed in the digital world outside school every day. The digital media includes their iPods, iPhones, computers, etc. and they are using them for communication, problem-solving and collaboration. In many surveys, students have indicated that they find using technology for learning engaging, enjoyable and therefore motivational. The varied approaches that using the appropriate technologies can bring to classrooms sparks enthusiasm, especially in my school which is a boys’ school. We need to build on that enthusiasm and interest. We need to keep that initial interest in learning, the initial engagement with the technologies, going.

As teachers, we need to continue to connect with these ever increasing tools to support contemporary learning and teaching, and do so with enthusiasm. More than ever the phrase “life-long learning” resonates. How do I help some of my colleagues to feel comfortable with the “digital revolution” and understand that they need to acknowledge the positive influence it can have in their classrooms?

In times of change learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists” Eric Hoffer

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Rhonda

    I’m looking forward to your presentation and the boys’ book trailers at the SLAV Conference!

    I am making small steps with Web 2.0 in my primary school library and it is amazing to see the enthusiasm and engagement from the older students with the basic things we’ve done.

    I really enjoy reading your blog…you give me lots to think about and explore.

  2. I think introducing teachers and administrators to technologies will help them to appreciate and used the gadgets as a teaching tools.

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