March 11, 2013

Digital Tools Change Schools

How has pedagogy changed since the onset of digital tools? In what ways have methodology and results changed too?

There have been many changes in education since the onset of digital tools.  These changes in many ways have caused disruption in schools.  Disruption is often a path to innovation and positive change.

What specifically has changed with regard to pedagogy in your practice and environment related to the integration of tech tools and process?

Specifically, these are some of the changes that have occurred in my environment and practice.

1. Regular analysis of and response to data reports related to students' online/offline assessments and learning interactions.

2. Greater use of differentiation and personalization to meet individual student's needs, interests and passions.  Tech makes it easy to set up a online learning menus that directly respond to individual and small group needs.

3. Greater share of student work to families, friends and colleagues near and far.  Student work is easy to share via the Internet, and that share fosters greater investment, revision, feedback and a sense of a learning community.

4. Enhanced Collaboration: More often than not, students collaborate on digital projects, class projects and problem solving with the use of digital tools such as Google docs, iMovie and multiplayer academic gaming.

5. Specific Targets: Timely, specific data reports help us to target students' learning actions with greater specificity.

6. Faster transmission of ideas from research, worldwide colleagues and online/real time conferences and webinars to the classroom thus speeding up innovation and change with respect to teaching children well.

7. More repetition due to students' ability to revisit tools, strategies, activities and lessons online at school after the school day.

8. Greater access to teachers since family members and students are able to email teachers for clarity and help after school hours.

9. Writing, speaking and reading growth due to the amazing digital tools available which make writing, speaking and reading more accessible to all learners.

10. Artistic skills are increased due to the fact that students can access multiple artistic tools related to writing and playing music, drawing, collage, multimedia composition, film and more.

11. Global awareness multiplies due to the connections available via global conferences, Skype, ePals, collaborative learning projects and social media. Also tools like GoogleEarth, webcams, online language/translation tools and other interactive, global tools makes a once-big and somewhat inaccessible world, much smaller and more accessible.

12. Questions are answered with greater speed and expertise since students and teachers are able to access experts in specific fields with ease via social media, Ted Talks, online blogs and research.

13. Independent Learning grows since students are able to lead their own learning with the multiple tools available. That's why it's so important for school systems to embrace the digital world and lead students forward in that world with enthusiasm, strength and an open mind.

14. Less Weighty Book Bag: Thankfully I usually just carry home my computer and a few papers each night since students' online work can be accessed by the computer rather than carrying multiple notebooks home each night.  This is a welcome change.

14. Less focus on classroom management, and greater focus on engagement.  Using digital tools well serves to lessen the need for behavioral plans and management systems, as the tools give us the "extra hands" to better serve the needs of multiple students with diverse needs.

There have been many, many changes in the pedagogy, methodology and results in schools today due to the digital age.  These changes, as noted above, have resulted in disruption.  How has your school community reacted to this disruption?  What changes have you made so that the changes are embraced and supported, rather than disregarded?

Overall, I'm delighted with the positive change the digital age has brought to education, and I'd like to see schools respond to these changes with positive acceptance and growth.


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