Trends in Digital Ed-Tech
As classrooms and their participants become more tech-savvy, certain trends have arisen in terms of products being introduced into the classroom. Below are four examples of growing trends in educational technology being seen in the classroom.
Mobility and Bring Your Own Device
Using mobile and personal devices in the classroom is a growing trend in Canada. When schools provide internet or intranet for students, they are able to connect with their own devices to access various ed-tech platforms. However, bringing your own device to class poses a challenge for teachers – becoming managers who must oversee the proper integration of the devices into their lessons. The classroom can sometimes become flipped, with students becoming the experts.
Introducing new technologies into the classroom has some additional challenges:
- Finding the right support system to troubleshoot internet or software issues
- Creating a plan for when devices are to be used and developing acceptable usage mandates
- Providing equal opportunity and accessibility to all students to ensure everybody is able to develop equally
- Ensuring the safety of personal student information
Despite these challenges, the possibilities offered by incorporating technology in the classroom cannot be ignored. Although it might not always be a smooth process, the benefits of experimenting with technology in the classroom can outweigh the challenges that need to be overcome.
The use of interactive whiteboards has become increasing popular resource in many classrooms. Using digitally advanced technology like interactive whiteboards provides another way for students to engage with course materials. Using digital content on these boards opens up the possibilities for what content can be used in class, providing a broader range of topics and resources that students can be exposed to.
One challenge associated with the use of interactive whiteboards is to make sure they don’t become a glorified projector. It’s important for teachers to understand and take advantage of their interactive abilities and design their lessons to utilize the technology. Instructors are encouraged to collaborate and share sources in order to enable them to better utilize interactive technology in their classrooms.
Another hurdle to overcome with the trend of digital whiteboards is their cost. Despite their appeal of supporting digital tech and student engagement, in many cases, their cost outweighs the benefits.
Being able to share, save and create information through the cloud presents a unique opportunity for students and instructors. Resources and products are more easily accessible not only the classroom, but at home, in libraries and almost anywhere learners can connect to the internet. Projects can be worked on remotely and experiences can be shared globally. Having content open and accessible by their peers also pushes students to be more accountable for their work and strive to do their best. Students are able to grow their digital literacy as responsible participants online. For instructors, finding the right platforms and resources can increase personalization in their teaching.
Cloud sharing also comes with its own challenges. Institutions where the data is to be shared must have a readily available internet connection in order for the process to run smoothly. Policies and guidelines for documents must also be established in order for the shared content to be appropriate and used properly. Input and consent from parents must also be considered.
Augmentation of Physical Spaces
In some classrooms across Canada, digital technology is being used to augment the physical. Through the use of QR codes, wearable devices or activity trackers, classrooms can be changed through the use of digital content.
Being able to incorporate digital assets like video or audio into physical spaces presents a way to invite outsiders into the realm of learning. Instructor and student projects can be easily shared with educational officials or parents who want to learn more. Students can create video or audio messages to be shared through physical events like open houses or exhibits showcasing student work.
Through augmented physical spaces, students are given the opportunity not only to create their work, but share their reasoning behind it. They can reflect on the creation process, enhancing the learning experience and adding a layer of metacognition to the learning process.
Digital Literacy in the Future
The role of the instructor and student in the world of digital literacy has been defined, but still remains fluid as new advances are made that can see them develop and change. For now, it’s important for instructors to keep an open mind when it comes to using tech in the classroom. Talk to your peers and try to find ways that you can incorporate aspects of the digital into your classroom to help engage your students as responsible participants in digital literacy.