The internet is becoming an increasingly important tool educators use inside the classroom. Connect with your students through social media platforms, and classroom blogs. Digital Learning Day is helping those struggling to get on board with this make the transition.
Classrooms are moving from cursive and dodge ball to computers and digital learning. Students as young as kindergarten are now increasingly comfortable with online learning games and typing exercises. As they grow, these skills will become invaluable tools in their academic studies and, ultimately, in the job market. Teachers are working hard to incorporate new technologies into the classroom, everything from smart boards to video conferences. This year’s first annual Digital Learning Day provided information and inspiration for educators and students alike.
What is Digital Learning Day?
This past February, 39 states, over 18,000 teachers, and two million students participated in the first Digital Learning Day. Teachers were encouraged to try something new, while students had an opportunity to brag about their digital achievements. The Internet and computer technology has become inextricably connected to learning, from online schools to Internet collaborations in group projects. A National Town Hall meeting praised teachers who had successfully used technology in the classroom in new ways, and “walked the walk” by opening the discussion up via Skype video chat. Locally, schools had seminars on a variety of topics, including “Don’t Worry Be ‘Appy,” which encouraged community members to find new ways to get more out of their smartphones.
The Importance of Technology in Education
Digital Learning Day is a result of both the growing trend of technology in education, and the unfortunate lack of implementation in many areas. Only 40 percent of teachers say that students consistently use computers in the classroom, but almost every career path requires daily time in front of the monitor. Students are likely to take online classes as part of their college coursework, or will choose complete their whole degree via online schooling. Getting students comfortable with blogging, forum discussions, and slide presentations early will ease the transition into higher education. It also introduces students to a global classroom. Video chat makes it possible to connect with students on the other side of the world, while email means that classes can have cross-cultural pen pals.
The increasing popularity of online schooling has changed digital learning from a gimmick or threat to an irreplaceable tool. Comfort with, and respect for, online education means that teachers can use social networking and even video games as tools in the classroom. In the future, it seems that online colleges will continue to grow in popularity. They open the doors of education to non-traditional students, such as working professionals and those in rural areas far from brick-and-mortar universities. A unique teaching method and classroom schedule encourages students to set their own goals and deadlines, and prepares individuals for the demands of the working world.
Digital Learning Day heralds a new era in educational priorities. Administrators have started to think about how — not if — these technologies should be used. The Internet is never going to decrease in importance in the business world, so the academic world must work to keep up. As an added bonus, using new technologies can make learning fun for students, and bring some of their at-home activities into the classroom. Elementary school children can read books and take reading tests online, while high school students can create a blog for their AP Writing courses. All that remains to be seen is where digital learning will take us in the future.
Author Bio: Derrick Cruise is a social media enthusiast who enjoys keeping up with current trends on the inter-web. In his free time he enjoys writing on behalf of American InterContinental University.