Purposeful Digital Learning Puts Students First
A Look at New Trends in Education Technology Implementation
Education technology is constantly evolving, in both design and application. Meanwhile, teachers are always looking for new ways to integrate tech into the classroom, to use it creatively, and to center it around student learning. Last week, we had the opportunity to connect with educators who are using tech in ways that put student needs at the center of instruction.
Our #ClassroomChat on Twitter was packed with educators who had incredible ideas and are already using innovative tools to empower students with digital learning. A few key ideas emerged among chatters, and we’ve summarized them here. If you weren’t able to make the #ClassroomChat, here are a few of the most important takeaways from the conversation:
Using Technology with Purpose
We’ve often talked about purposeful uses of technology. Generally, the idea is that technology shouldn’t be introduced into the classroom for the sake of having tech, but for the purpose of strategically enhancing student learning. In our #ClassroomChat, participants took the notion of purposeful technology to the next level. They focused on the purpose of technology not only as it relates to learning objectives and outcomes, but as it relates to the student experience, its effect on student interactions in the classroom, and influences on student relationships to teachers. From this lens, improvements in achievement aren’t enough to make technology truly purposeful. It must also aid in enhancing student creativity, make learning relevant to the real world, or promote student voice and choice. Here are a few thoughts shared by chatters in relation to purposeful tech:
Developing Strong Relationships with Students
#ClassroomChat participants felt strongly about the importance of maintaining meaningful relationships with students. In the context of digital learning, we might assume that educators would strive to have personal relationships with students despite the presence of tech in the classroom — but the educators in our chat actually saw technology as a means to strengthen relationships. They listed a variety of ways that digital tools help them get to know their students better, identify what students are passionate about, and amplify student voices. Here are a few insights chatters shared about student-teacher and peer relationships in a digital classroom:
Promote Inclusivity and Amplify Student Voices
#ClassroomChat participants were passionate about inclusivity, equity, and accessibility. Many of them have found creative ways to use technology as a means for expanding opportunities to include students that may otherwise not have access to learning or may feel excluded in class. They also use technology to provide students with multiple pathways to engage in learning and to demonstrate their progress. By understanding the purpose of education technology through an empathetic lens and always putting student needs first, educators are able to connect the needs of all students to the possibilities of tech. Here are a few chat contributions on inclusivity and student voice:
Bringing the World to the Classroom
Another chat theme centered around the ways digital learning can connect classroom experiences to real-world learning applications. Some educators report using technology to expose students to their peers in other countries, and others describe using technology to help students develop life skills or bringing abstract lessons to life. Each particular example involved creative thinking on the part of the educator, innovative technology, and the ultimate goal of high student engagement. Here are a few of the examples shared in the chat:
Stay tuned for our next Twitter chat on August 14, 2019 at 8 PM EST celebrating Back-to-School! Join in by following @McGrawHillK12 and using #ClassroomChat.