What is a digital world?

 Written Summation: Week 1 topic, What is a digital world?

A digital world is a new sense of place, virtually connecting people with other people and places all over the world through the use of digital technology. The digital world includes the tools we use to access it and the world we connect to. Technology has become a pervasive force, with most aspects of our lives undergoing a ‘technologising’ in recent years (Howell, 2012; Thomson, 2015).

The non-schooling parts of student’s lives are rich in digital technologies (Howell, 2012; Thomson, 2015). The current generation has been labeled as ‘digital natives’ as they are fluent in their lives outside of school, whereas, teachers have been labeled as ‘digital immigrants,’ who range on a continuum of abilities, most being self or peer-taught (Howell, 2012). As a teacher, we need to change and adapt, by opening ourselves up and embracing the digital world (Howell, 2012).

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Technology has been seen as transformative, transforming how students learn and how we teach (Howell, 2012). Classrooms in Australia have undergone a dramatic change and teachers have needed to equip themselves with the skills to teach in a digital age (Howell, 2012). Technology is viewed as a tool to assist both teachers and students, furthering the shift towards more independent, student-led inquiry modes of learning, with teachers taking on the role of a co-collaborator (Howell, 2012). A 21st-century digital learner is flexible, self-paced, self-motivated and willing to participate with their peers (Howell, 2012; Prensky, 2008).

The need for digital pedagogy is strong, because of the impact digital technologies have on student engagement and motivation, the focus of educational outcomes being on equipping students with the skills to ensure that they become life-long learners (ACARA, 2016), and schools bridging the gap between those who can access digital technologies and those who cannot (Howell, 2012; Bentley, 2014). Although the need for a digital pedagogy is clear, unfortunately, educators are faced with the constant challenge of refining teaching and learning techniques to keep up with the increasing demands and expectations of students (Howell, 2012). In an already crowded curriculum, teachers need to equip themselves and students with the skills to use these technologies, whilst also addressing the digital divide (Howell, 2012; Prensky, 2008; Bentley, 2014).   

Words: 328

Further viewing & reading: 

The 21st Century Digital Learner by Marc Prensky

ABC news article – The Digital Divide in Australia

References

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2016). Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/

Bentley, P. (2014). Lack of affordable broadband creating ‘digital divide’. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-02/bridging-the-digital-divide/5566644

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

Kubacka, K. (2015). Teachers in the digital world. Retrieved from http://oecdeducationtoday.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/teachers-in-digital-world.html

Negroponte, N. (2007). One laptop per child, two years on. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/nicholas_negroponte_on_one_laptop_per_child_two_years_on

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

Thomson, S. (2015). Australian students in a digital world. Policy insights, 3. Melbourne: ACER. Retrieved from http://research.acer.edu.au/policyinsights/3/

Thomas, M. (2015). Old school in the new digital world. [Image]. Retrieved from https://wordpress.com/post/teachingandlearninginthedigitalworld611.wordpress.com/27

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