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How Digital Learning Is Changing The Face of Teaching

Published on 17/08/16

At e4education we are continually researching around new technology and how digital learning is changing classroom dynamics all over the globe. To get a broader perspective, we spoke to Beth from PlanBee - an online hub of primary teaching resources - as it was definitely her forte. Beth kindly provided us with the article below to help us understand the development of technology and what affect it has had in the education sector. 

Read below to find out more:


Technology in the 21st century has become practically unavoidable. It has so seamlessly and cleverly infiltrated our daily existence in so many different ways that we are probably now oblivious to most of them. 

The evolution of technology has progressed to such an impressive degree that now many aspects of our lives and indeed, how we function as a collective society, rely upon it to run smoothly. Technology is part of almost everything we see and do; from live bus and train times to using mobile phones, the internet, transport and how we communicate. Can you recall a day when you didn't use technology? Could you now survive without it?

Refusal to embrace technology could leave us isolated, cut off from friends, family and the rest of the world. Think about it, without a phone, how do you easily get in touch with people? Without a computer or the internet, where do you get information and how would it affect your career?

Technology is designed to make our lives easier, to provide us with knowledge, skills and information at the click of a button. Everything is accessible; everything is right here for the taking. So, if technology has indeed now become inextricably linked with every aspect of our lives what kind of effect does this have when educating our children?

How can educators harness the power of technology to excel and advance their classrooms by providing new, exciting opportunities for learning? Digital learning has had a significant impact on the teaching landscape. Now anyone can have access to an education from anywhere in the world. Online courses have made education completely accessible. Even every-day teachers now have access to online downloadable primary teaching resources.

The student/teacher classroom, though not redundant, is certainly no longer necessary, and the amount of information that is attainable and available without barriers is extensive and astonishing. Online communication platforms such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and WhatsApp mean that communication and knowledge sharing now knows no bounds.

Assessment has also become digitalised; results can be instantaneous, pupils can gain feedback and in some cases immiediately retake tests to see if they can beat their last score. The introduction of learning as a game gives greater opportunity for pupils to advance faster and they are arguably less likely to become bored and frustrated when having to revisit the same material time and time again.

Digital assessment also facilitates flexibility; they can be arranged to suit a learner's circumstances - the time and place are immaterial. The removal of human intervention removes bias and the potential for inaccuracy, therefore making digital assessment arguably more reliable too.

How we access information has changed. With the introduction of ebooks, reading on any device is easy. There are a vast amount of educational books available online wihch can be downloaded and read 'on-the-go'. The Google Library Project is another example of how information is becoming digitised in the modern world. The aim of the project is to get the collections of major research libraries online so people can easily find academic information and references on a huge number of subjects to assist them with their learning, be independent or otherwise.

Gamification of the classroom has become an increasingly supported way of learning in schools and technology also lends itself well to this. Video games, for example, can be used as a way of teaching students valuable lesons, and if set up correctly can change their behaviour and attitude to learning too. 

The probability of failure may be high, but the determination to keep trying and the willingness to go back to the same point, begin again and try over and over is because they enjoy the game itself. So, when playing a game, students become more engaged and failure is expected - thus becoming safe and acceptable. The children respond in a similar way to when problems are presented in a game scenario. 

The problems in a game are hypothetical, and therefore the pressure to solve them isn't so intense. With game-play students become goal orientated problem-solvers who use the information gathered to continually improve. 

It is undeniable that technology has positively influenced the way education can now be delivered. There are far more opportunties for students to find ways of learning that suit them, and multimedia such as videos, podcasts, and animation have managed to make learning more fun and effortlessly more interesting.

Take a look at this fantastic game developed by university students to learn about Hadrian: The Roamin' Emperor.

Recognising individual students' needs, strengths and weaknesses has always been encouraged in a school environment, but with such a vasy array of learning techniques now available, teachers are able - for the first time - to provide a bespoke and carefully tailored learning package, which can be easily remoulded to suit each member of their classroom.

There are more than one billion people on Facebook, 360 million on Twitter and 100 million using Instagram every month. People now have the ability to express themselves to an enormous audience giving them the ability to effective commuicate with the whole world.

Students now have an ever-expanding audience who can listen to them, help them, debate with them, and learn from them too. Social media is now integrated into the majority of educational institutions, they teach pupils about it, and they use it personally to make their presence and opinions known.

In the current climate, teachers - particularly those employed in schools and higher education institutions - tend to use a hybrid learning approach where both online and offline instruction is given. However, as technology progresses further, which it naturally will, are we likely to see the balance shifting? Will progressie and innovative teachers choose to teach in a world where an entire education can be delivered in a split second? Where aptitude and skill level can be assessed without any interaction or contact? Where those willing to learn can effectively teach themselves? What does the classroom of the future look like?

Of course, no one knows what the future has in store. However, what we do know is that digital learning and technological advances will continue to influence how education is delivered and learned.

This was a guest post written by Beth from PlanBee the hive of Primary Teaching Resources.

Tagged Teaching