Seventy-four percent of teachers say that technology enables them to reinforce and expand on content, according to a PBS survey. In fact, digital learning has become so popular in the workplace that February 17 is Digital Learning Day. Teaching in the digital age goes beyond playing games to teach typing or downloading educational apps. Digital learning requires an innovative strategic plan, leadership and adaptability. It can be both thrilling and overwhelming to know where to start. Fortunately, digital learning is always evolving and embracing new concepts and tools. Here are some tips to get started:
Make it Fun
Creating a digital slideshow of the Industrial Revolution can inspire kids to think beyond the confines of paper and bring their ideas to life. But what about subjects that are traditionally a little boring and difficult to grasp? Keep your students from mentally checking-out during a course like driver’s ed and give them a better way to learn. A site like Driving-tests.org is well-designed, easy to digest and turns studying to get your driver’s license fun.
Use Tools that Inspire Teachers
Give students tools that spark their imagination while simplifying the teaching process at the same time. Adobe Education Exchange provides free resources, expertise and opportunities for teachers. Educators get insights on how to ignite their students’ creativity and provide plenty of room for collaboration. Assign projects like designing a logo with Adobe Illustrator to learn about marketing and branding or ask students to create a presentation on environmental pollution.
Give Real World Context
Students learn better when they can immediately apply school lessons to real world context that impacts their life. Skip the abstract lessons from a textbook and instead leverage apps and programs that bring your lessons to life. For example, Banzai’s personal finance program teaches students how to pay bills and manage a budget based on real-life situations and challenges. Students get a first-hand account of what to do in a financial emergency, how to save and how to budget.
Choose Multiple Mediums
Everyone learns in different ways whether visual, auditory or kinesthetic. In the past, it was difficult for teachers to accommodate various learning styles with the limitations of textbooks. Today’s digital age means multiple mediums are available within the same program. For example, Udemy and Skillshare offer both free and paid courses on topics ranging from accounting to creative writing. The video courses usually include PDFs, worksheets and other resources to cater to a range of learning styles. And for auditory learners, podcasts and audio-books are a cost-effective supplement.
Teaching in a digital medium doesn’t always have the same measurable results as traditional methods. For example, creating a videography on a famous president requires a different system for grading than a three-page essay on the same topic. Come up with a plan for how students can reach their goals while still giving flexibility for innovation. Accept that there will be bumps in the road as students try new things and take more risks to adapt to a digital style of learning. And if you teach younger students, remember they are the pulse of new technology and innovation. Ask for their input on projects and tools they would like to use to encourage a more collaborative environment.