Many classrooms across the globe are adopting some form of digital learning. And for good reason—over 90% of educators report that digital learning has some form of positive impact on their students. But what is digital learning? Today, we’ll answer that and more.
What is Digital Learning?
Digital learning is an instructional practice that uses technology to enhance a student’s education and learning experience. It generally gives students more control than traditional learning—whether that be in place or pacing. A variety of digital tools can be used within digital learning.
Digital learning is not exclusive to devices in the classroom. Moreover, studies show programs that expand a student’s access to computers and the internet alone don’t necessarily lead to better learning experiences for students. Thoughtful integration of digital tools is imperative.
There’s a wide range of digital tools and reliance on these tools varies between classrooms. Tools include games, e-textbooks, software, online learning, and one-to-one computing.
Benefits of Digital Learning
Now that we know what digital learning is, let’s explore some of its benefits.
Fundamentally, digital learning provides students with access to technology. Even the simplest of digital tools connects students to technology they may not have otherwise used.
Personalized Instruction & Learning
One of the most compelling benefits of digital learning is personalized learning. Whether synchronous or asynchronous, digital learning allows for highly individualized instruction based on key indicators like reading level and strengths and weaknesses of the student. Teachers are better able to tailor learning to student needs. Additionally, it’s easier for students to go at their own pace and focus on more challenging assignments.
Engages and Connects Students
Digital learning tools often involve discussion, debates, and other interactive exercises. These activities foster collaboration between students and between student and teacher. Digital learning allows for shyer students to engage with others more comfortably and sometimes in more nontraditional ways like instant messaging. Digital learning also can connect students with other digital learners across the country or globe.
Prepares Students for the Future
It is said that experience is the best teacher. No matter what the digital tool used, students learn digital skills from using technology hands on. The need for digital skills will only increase in an increasingly digital world. Digital learning inherently teaches digital literacy and equips students with digital skills. Not only are these skills required for middle- and high-skilled careers but they’re also a requirement for almost every job sector.
Steps to Digital Learning Success
If your district is considering implementing digital learning, here are six tips to successful integration.
Plan and budget accordingly. This is the most important, and longest, part of the process. Digital learning should enhance learning experiences and outcomes. Identify instructional shortcomings that will be improved by implementing digital learning tools. Secure buy in from key stakeholders—administrators, staff, teachers, parents, students, etc.
Research digital tools available and choose the best option for your school. From one-to-one computing to bring-your-own-device programs, there are options for digital learning. It is not one size fits all. If introducing new devices into the classroom, be sure to determine the best device for your students.
Train students, faculty, and staff. Be mindful that implementing a digital learning program in your school is likely to be a significant change for all. It could be a student’s first encounter with technology, or a teachers first encounter with that type of device. To overcome these challenges, consistent and comprehensive training is essential. Training should include a review of the device, daily usage, and basic troubleshooting.
Schedule time on spent using digital learning tools. To monitor screen time, institute “lids down” time. Include hands-on activities, learning, and play without digital tools in the curriculum. Remember: digital tools should never replace instruction but should enhance learning.
Teach the nine elements of digital citizenship and online safety to students, regardless of age. As with appropriate training, consistent and comprehensive teaching on these topics is imperative. It will position students to be successful and safe as digital citizens.
Evaluate what works and what doesn’t. Key to maintaining a robust digital learning program is auditing your process and adjust as needed.
How can AGParts Education simplify your digital learning program? From Chromebook parts supply to tech buyback, we can help. Contact us today to get started.