The Digital Learning Space

As a digital immigrant (Prensky, 2001) with a strong belief in hands-on learning and face to face communication I have been sceptical of technology in the classroom.

 “Little people can do big things”…..a child’s reflection of Twitter use within his classroom (Spink, 2013).   Powerful!

These words of a 10 year old force me to consider new age learning styles. The ability of technology to motivate students and meet learning needs cannot be denied. Digital technologies fill today’s learning spaces, providing motivation to the digital natives (students) and challenging the often digital immigrants (teachers) to embrace its use.

Digital technology and social media is renowned for its ability to distract and enable negative behaviours (Aagaard, 2015). Conversely, it has the power to take education to the next level; the capacity to open doors to the world allowing teachers and children to move beyond the classroom’s four walls (Britt & Paulus, 2016; Gano & Kinzler, 2011).

Twitter, for instance, offers opportunity for learning, sharing, collaboration & inspiration (Spink, 2013). When guided well, children can experience a greater platform for communication and more independent learning. Global awareness and empathy may be enhanced (Spink, 2013). How can this not be a positive influence on the world!

Twitter also affords teachers an effective means of self-directed PD within a strong CoP.

Technologies of the not too distant education future blow my mind – 3D printers, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Biometric eye-tracking, Google Glass to name just a few.  I hope now to embrace these tools with vigour!

Thornburg (2014) suggests “the coolest tools are those that let students learn in ways that result in lifelong intellectual development” (p.3).

For me balance is key…technology is one tool amongst many enabling students and educators to grow.

 

References

Aagaard, J. (2015). Drawn to distraction: A qualitative study of off-task use of educational technology. Computers & Education, 87, 90-97.

Britt, V. & Paulus, T. (2016). “Beyond the four walls of my building”: A case study of #Edchat as a community of practice. American Journal of Distance Education30(1), 48-59.

Prensky, M. (2001) Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.

Spink, B. (2013) Teaching The Social Media Generation. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=razzPOPzrQs

Thornburg, D. D. (2014). Ed tech: what’s the use? T H E Journal [Technological Horizons In Education], 41(6), 27. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A381286423/AONE?u=acuni&sid=AONE&xid=13ea5230

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