13 Aug 2018

CHALLENGES IN ADOPTING DIGITAL LEARNING

The availability of online resources has changed everything from hunting for a new house to reading the newspaper to purchasing plane tickets, and as a result has disrupted established structures (such as the real estate, news, and airline businesses). Telecommuting has become widespread. The market for popular music has transformed dramatically. Internet telephony presents a real challenge to established telecommunications companies. Millions of blogs, social networking sites, and interactive online games have created new modes of interaction and expression. In short, the advent of digital technology touches almost every aspect of modern life.

Digital technology makes informative content easier to find, to access, to manipulate and remix, and to disseminate. All of these steps are central to teaching, scholarship, and study. Together, they constitute a dynamic process of “digital learning.”

Nevertheless, digital learning extends beyond these more formal institutions to involve everyone with internet access. In some instances, traditional institutions are making their educational content available to the general public online. In other cases, individuals who may have no connection to formal academia can nonetheless engage in teaching and learning with one another through the use of new technology. The examples below include all of these types of digital learning.

Perhaps no area holds more potential for such transformation than education. Many diverse and exciting initiatives demonstrate how rich sources of digital information could enhance the transfer of knowledge. Yet at the same time, the change in education arguably has been less radical, especially in comparison to mundane endeavors such as selling a used bicycle or booking hotel rooms. There are many complex reasons for this slow pace of change, including lack of resources and resistance to new practices. As this white paper explains, however, among the most important obstacles to realizing the potential of digital technology in education are provisions of copyright law concerning the educational use of content, as well as the business and institutional structures shaped by that law.

 Professional development. Key among all challenges is the lack of adequate, ongoing professional development for teachers who are required to integrate new technologies into their classrooms yet who are unprepared or unable to understand new technologies.

“All too often, when schools mandate the use of a specific technology, teachers are left without the tools (and often skills) to effectively integrate the new capabilities into their teaching methods,” according to the report. “The results are that the new investments are underutilized, not used at all, or used in a way that mimics an old process rather than innovating new processes that may be more engaging for students.”

It reduces student’s motivation

When the shiny has worn off, and technology has become the norm for students, how will you keep them motivated? Will students receive a grade for their work? Can you sponsor a contest between classes for the highest usage or most growth? Perhaps if students meet their goals they can participate in a special activity. Consider what your students value most, and use it to your advantage. Older students often crave social time, so find a way for them to earn breaks. Younger students might be motivated by competition, Tootsie Pops, or extra recess.

Data and Progress Monitoring

Remember the vision you created for your implementation? Don’t forget to follow-up on your goals. Regular progress monitoring is one of the biggest keys to a successful technology program. Are teachers meeting expectations? Are students demonstrating success and making progress toward their goals? Is usage what you expected? Why or why not? Routinely monitor program data and communicate successes and areas for improvement with your teachers.

 

 

 

Article by: Busayo Tomoh

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