Nelson Mandela once quoted, “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.”
The world, as we know it, is rapidly transforming and becoming increasingly digital. It is a digital world that the students of today will inherit in the near future, and they must own it and lead it. Thus, it is essential to properly groom the students so they can align themselves with the changing scenario.
An excellent way to start is by introducing digital learning in the classroom.
The students of today are digital natives. Hence, to prepare them for the digital world, it has now become essential to integrate classroom learning with the use of digital tools and technologies in positive ways.
1. Make Technology Compulsory
It is imperative that schools begin to introduce technology as a subject with just as much emphasis as subjects like English, Maths, and Science.
The best part is that most of the students are already familiar with digital technology, so integrating technology with education will not be a great challenge.
In fact, it can open up new horizons for the student. Providing more assignments to technology can accelerate its adoption among school students, as well as familiarize them with the available technology.
As of 2016, nearly 90% of US households own a computer or laptop.
However, the digital literacy of the students can be of a very different sort. With the rise of social media, a student who has access to a computer may put up a post on Facebook or Google search the results of his favorite baseball team very easily. But, they may not know how to leverage the technology in emerging fields like Data Science and Machine Learning.
This is where the role of making technology education compulsory comes in. The students get to think in a new direction and understand how to use it for their educational purposes. Once they understand the ease of use and the distinct advantages it can provide, students will themselves be eager to use it in every aspect of education.
2. Make the teachers tech-savvy
For the students to properly get exposure to a technology-driven digital world, the teachers should be up to the task of providing it. And for that to happen, the teachers must educate and keep themselves abreast of the latest advances in the digital world.
The teachers of today were somewhat forced to move away from the traditional methods to the digital age of education, and they could not help it.
As digital immigrants, and the first generation of teachers faced with this problem of accepting digitalization in education, they had to find ways to navigate around this themselves.
However, they are also the first generation of teachers who have got such a unique opportunity to make a life-changing impact on students. To support the learning of the teachers, new education technology is being introduced to the market to help them explore what exactly works for them.
There are online courses that the teachers can take to get themselves on the same page as the technology, or it could be a school policy as well. These courses help lay a foundation for teachers to link theory and the practical world and help nurture their understanding of digital pedagogy and aid their growth and acceptance of the technology.
Only with a thorough grasp of the subject, can the teachers pass on knowledge to the students, and the world is moving towards that trend. The teachers have to bring out and inspire the digital transformation in the classroom, for it to be truly successful.
3. Revamp government policies
It is time to think about ringing in radical changes in the classroom.
A great way would be to start with the integration of augmented reality and virtual reality (AR and VR) with the school curriculum and coursework.
Many students suffer from attention-deficiency syndrome and lose interest in the class.
According to some psychologists, typical student’s attention span is about 10 to 15 minutes long, yet most university classes last 50 to 90 minutes.
An introduction of AR and VR could work to counter attention-deficit in students, as well as act as a stepping stone to unraveling the marvels of technology.
If the foray of AR into the education sector becomes a reality, there would be a much-needed shift from the focus solely on textbooks to its actual implementation. AR and VR bring the textbook characters to life.
Soon, the students may well be holding their devices over their history books and experience first-hand what transpired during the American war of independence and the civil rights’ movement. That’s how pervasive the effect of AR would be.
But for this, the education policy requires specific changes. State governments would need to come up with smart schools, replete with all the technology and the devices that would supplement the digital learning.
4. Make students socialize ideas
An excellent way to introduce students to the digital world is by enabling them to socialize on online platforms with their various ideas. This can be a habit inculcated in students from an early age by their teachers, which will help them in the long run.
Within a regulated educational framework, the use of social media for a give-and-take of ideas can lead to:
● Improvement in digital literacy
● Independent learning
● Self-directed learning
● Development of interpersonal skills
● Development of internet and networking skills
● Peer acceptance
● Promotion of group-work
● Exposure to different schools of thought, leading to a more holistic development
With the right exposure to social media, it can play a very important and crucial role in the development of a student as a future digital citizen. The student can pick up life-long skills at a young age, which will pay dividends throughout their future career. However, in this case, caution and checks are necessary to be put in place, so that misuse of the platform does not take place.
The sooner the students get a feel of the digital world that awaits them, the better. Exposure of students to the digital age early on helps them learn things that were considered a bonus just a generation before but will turn into necessary skills by the time they start their career. In this initiative, the role of teachers as true harbingers of change is indispensable, and cannot be emphasized enough.
About the Author
Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Right Mix Marketing Blog. She specializes in writing about digital marketing, technology, entrepreneurship and education. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling.
Twitter at https://twitter.com/rightmixmktg