The ‘Digital World’

Written summation: Week 1, The Digital World.

You are living in one, but what is it?

The digital world is not a physical country you can travel to. It exists in the digital technologies we use daily to connect, both with information and with other people, across the globe. It is a deeply interconnected world without borders. The digital world is not one fixed world but many worlds. For example, a person may have different digital worlds for school, home and work (Howell, 2012, p. 11). Selywn (2012) proposes that the digital world is a world ‘re-ordered’ by technology, where information is more universally connected than ever before and the significance of knowledge has increased so that power now lies in the “production and consumption of information and knowledge” (p. 3).

“Our devices and our connectivity matter to us right up there with food and shelter” (Dawesar, 2013).

Click the image below to take the quiz: How hooked on technology are you?
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What does this mean for today’s students?

Today’s students are growing up in a very different world to any other generation. A world rich in digital technology. As such their needs and goals are different, as are the skills they will be required attain. Therefore, the framework of education needs to be restructured if it is to meet the changing needs of this generation (Howell, 2012, p. 12). Simply put, if we do not change the way we teach we will be failing our students.

fea_ikid_fasttimesIn his article, ‘The 21st Century Digital Learner’, Prensky (2008) describes this generation of students as “mind-numbingly bored” (para. 16). These students are eager to share their opinions on how they view their schooling, especially the use of technology in the classroom, as can be seen in one students statement that “if it’s the way we want to learn, and the way we can learn, you should let us do it” (Prensky, 2008, para. 13).

“You [adults] think of technology as a tool. We think of it as a foundation – it’s at the basis of everything we do” (Prensky, 2008).

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It is clear students are frustrated due to significant differences between what they want and what they get (Prensky, 2008). A survey conducted by Project Tomorrow’s Speak Up research project found only 52% of middle school students think that what they are learning in school today will help them in the future and only 49% of them are interested in what they are learning (Project Tomorrow, 2017).

Educators need to engage their students to achieve the best academic results for them and to prepare them for the new workforce they will be entering.

Resources

Classroom frustration. (n.d.). [Image]. Retrieved from https://www.crisisprevention.com/Resources/Knowledge-Base/Classroom-Management-Strategies-for-Educators

Dawesar, A. (2013, June). Life in the “digital now” [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/abha_dawesar_life_in_the_digital_now

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Prensky, M. (2008). The 21st century digital learner. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/ikid-digital-learner-technology-2008

Project Tomorrow. (2017). Speak up research project for digital learning, 2016 findings. Retrieved from http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/speakup-2016-california-speaks-up-march-2017.html

Selwyn, N. (2012). Education in a Digital World. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/lib/curtin/detail.action?docID=1016089

Digital Fluency

Auditory summation: Week 6, Digital Fluency.

Click here to listen to oral presentation

Script

While digital literacy refers to knowing how to use different digital tools, digital fluency is more than this. Digital fluency goes beyond the tools themselves and refers to knowing “when and why to use them” (https://au.pinterest.com/kmakice/digital-fluency/). Howell (2012) states that digital fluency is achieved by individuals developing the skills and expertise, at home and at school, across different “key programs and digital technologies” (p. 139). Simply put, digital fluency is being skilled and proficient with different digital tools, knowing how, when and why to use them.

Developing digital fluency in today’s students is of upmost importance. This can be seen in the new curriculum guidelines regarding technology and the endless flow of information and professional development training and programs for teachers. Furthermore, programs such as the National Digital Education Revolution are providing schools with computers and teachers with laptops (Howell, 2012, p. 131). Digital fluency develops a curiosity that inspires students to continue to engage in learning beyond their schooling years, becoming life-long learners (MacManus, 2013; Howell, 2012, p. 140).

Developing digital fluency is done by starting with students’ basic skill sets and working towards building proficiency across a wide range of technologies. It is important to introduce students to as many different types and styles of technology as possible (Howell, 2014). Howell’s (2012) “aspects of digital learning with technology” (p. 134) supplies a framework where digital fluency can be developed through weaving creative, experimental and purposeful activities with technology into all aspects of student learning.

Howell (2012) states that the desired outcomes of these activities is to produce “digital content creators, technology innovators and digitally fluent learners” (p. 135). Creative activities such as making videos or creating a blog, provide opportunities for students to collaborate on creating and sharing a product, resulting in digital content creators. Experimental activities require teachers to step back and allow students freedom to experiment and problem-solve, resulting in students becoming technology innovators (Howell, 2012, pp. 136-139). Providing these learning experiences, as well as having conversations with students that critically evaluate their experiences, is how digital fluency is developed in students.

References

Header image. (2017). [Image]. Retrieved from http://blog.realmatch.com/news-publishers/digital-disruption-now-seen-significantly-europe-australia-newspapers/

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Howell, J. (2014). Living and learning in the digital world mod 02 03 week 6 [ilecture]. Retrieved from https://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au:8443/ess/echo/presentation/69320b47-1f26-4f87-ae1c-7ba4e48e0050

MacManus, S. (2013). Getting young people fluent in digital. [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/social-enterprise-network/2013/aug/02/young-people-fluent-digital

Final Reflection

The digital world is constantly expanding, impacting all aspects of how we live, work and learn. In the process of creating my blog, using WordPress, Voki and Prezi, I developed an awareness of how technology impacts teaching. Specifically, I became aware of the benefits of blogging in classrooms, allowing for peer collaboration that utilises individual students’ strengths.

The digital world has indeed impacted education. How information is accessed, lesson content, and a classroom’s physical space are all ways the digital world impacts education. Generally, students’ home lives are rich in technology therefore they expect their schooling lives to be the same (Howell, 2012, pp. 59-63). Today’s students are unlike previous generations. Howell (2012) states they have “been born into a digital world” (p. 57).

“Today’s kids hate being talked at. They hate when teaching is simply telling. They hate lectures and tune them out” (Prensky, 2008, para. 22).

Using WordPress, Voki, and Prezi to create my blog tested my digital fluency and made me re-evaluate where I stood in the digital divide. Previously using WordPress for business, I never considered it could be an effective tool in classrooms. I had never used Voki nor Prezi before and approached the tasks with trepidation.

frustrated-9My experience using Prezi left me feeling frustrated, inadequate and wanting to quit. This correlates with Spencer’s (2017) description of what happened when he introduced creative technology activities in his classroom: “Students were frustrated. Many of them gave up and I decided that we were better off keeping creativity on the sidelines’” (para. 11). However, I pushed through and completed the task, developing new skills along the way. This experience gave me insight into how students without high levels of digital literacy may feeling during classroom activities that focus on technology and the need to provide scaffolding to assist them.

Kids-on-laptop-multiracial-FeaturedFurthermore, blogging in the classroom benefits student learning. Creating and publishing a blog develops literacy skills, allows for peer collaboration and provides opportunities for students to become ‘digital content creators’. Howell states “blogs work well with independent and group learning” (Howell, 2012, p. 157). Different aspects involved in blogging provide opportunities for all students, with different learning styles, to participate. Moreover, students’ empathy, tolerance, acceptance, and self-confidence are all enhanced by collaborative learning (Woolfolk, 2010, p. 323).

Understanding the role of technology in teaching and learning is essential for educators. The digital world is ever-increasing, impacting on education in several ways. Utilising different forms of technology assists students in developing digital literacy and digital fluency.

References

Frustrated [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://combiboilersleeds.com/keywords/frustrated-1.html

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Kids on laptop [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.gettingsmart.com/2013/09/going-hollywood-in-the-classroom/

Personal journal writing [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.myrkothum.com/the-benefits-of-writing-a-personal-journal/

Prensky, M. (2008). The 21st century digital learner. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/ikid-digital-learner-technology-2008

Spencer, J. (2017, March 20). Helping students develop creative fluency. [Weblog]. Retrieved from http://www.spencerauthor.com/2017/03/developing-creative-fluency-in-students.html/

Woolfolk, A. (2010). Educational Psychology (11th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson