Reflective Article #3

The Digital / Online Space

“Technology fills the mind with information, kindling the fire of curiosity”

(Thornburg, 2014)

The digital learning space is ever-evolving, offering vast possibilities in the ways we learn. Using digital technologies as educational tools greatly enhances teaching/learning (Thornburg, 2014). 

Digital technologies:

  • Facilitate differentiated learning
  • Provide access to various resources
  • Support UDL approach catering to different needs of students (Banes et al., 2020)
  • Support asynchronous learning
  • Promote social connectedness
  • Facilitate constructivism, encouraging students to explore/construct new knowledge and develop high-order thinking skills (Thornburg, 2014)
  • Facilitate student-centred classrooms encouraging ‘flipped learning’ (Hajhashemi et al., 2016)
  • Support professional development to improve educators’ practice (Britt & Paulus, 2016)
  • Establish supportive CoP’s

Overall, technology supports engaging online learning where students can work at a pace suitable to their abilities. Learning Management Systems, such as Canvas, facilitate this, granting teachers freedom to set up online learning spaces in ways that best support their learners (Oreta, 2020).

Otus. (2022). LMS for schools.

However, technology can also compromise learning, distracting students when misused. The effectiveness of ICT must be carefully considered before implementation, to successfully enhance learning and avoid disengagement because “it’s not the vehicle, but the instructional method used that influences achievement” (Kirschner & Hendrick, 2020, p.290). Therefore, the learning objectives to be achieved should determine the choice of technology utilised within lessons, whilst simultaneously making teaching effective and enjoyable. 

Education Technology Solutions. (2013). ICT as learning resource

‘The Padagogy Wheel’ assists educators when determining ICT to incorporate in lessons, to ensure it supports intended pedagogy. This framework categorises digital platforms by Bloom’s taxonomy to demonstrate their uses in supporting students’ achievement of learning outcomes, from simple to complex processes (Carrington, 2016; TeachThought, 2018).   

From experience, digital technologies were successful when they offered students more engaging mediums of contributing to traditional activities, such as Padlet for open discussions and Kahoot for post-tests. However, were unsuccessful and promoted disengagement when not used appropriately. Hence, ICT needs to be thoroughly considered before use in the classroom to ensure it will not hinder, but rather enhance students’ learning.

For more information on creating a UDL using ICT, click here.

To see practical ways ICT can be used to support a UDL in the classroom, click here

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References

Banes, D., Hayes, A., Kurz, C. & Kushalnagar, R. (2020). “Using Information Communications Technologies (ICT) to Implement Universal Design for Learning (UDL).” The Global Reading Network for Enhancing Skills Acquisition for Students with Disabilitieshttps://scholarworks.rit.edu/article/2004.

Britt, V. & Paulus, T. (2016). “Beyond the four walls of my building”: A case study of #Edchat as a community of practice. American Journal of Distance Education, 30(1), 48-59. https://doi.org/10.1080/08923647.2016.1119609

Carrington, A. (2016). Professional development: The padagogy wheel: It is not about the apps, it is about the pedagogy. Education Technology Solutions, (72), 54–57. https://search.informit.org/doi/10.3316/informit.670518861733048

Education Technology Solutions. (2013). ICT as learning resource (image).  https://educationtechnologysolutions.com/2013/11/ict-learning-resource/.

Hajhashemi, K., Caltabiano, N., & Anderson, N. (2016). Integrating digital technologies in the classroom: Lecturers’ views on the flipped classroom approach. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 26(3), 18-29. https://doi.org/10.47381/aijre.v26i3.74

Kirschner, P. A. & Hendrick, C. (2020). How Learning Happens: Seminal Works in Educational Psychology and What They Mean in Practice. Taylor & Francis Group. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/acu/detail.action?docID=6040220

Oreta, A. (2020). “Engaging Students in an Online Classroom Using Canvas.” AnimoSpace Camp. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346089002_ENGAGING_STUDENTS_IN_AN_ONLINE_CLASSROOM_USING_CANVAS_1

Otus. (2022). LMS for schools (image). https://otus.com/ultimate-guide-k-12-learning-management-systems/

TeachThought. (2018, August 12). The Padagogy Wheel – It’s Not About the Apps, It’s About the Pedagogy. https://www.teachthought.com/technology/the-padagogy-wheel/?fbclid=IwAR27fSYAI49Alu0cK6-FeMk1syzFiRgXZJtM6L6V6Xko9MNVezMZVA91dbU.

Thornburg, D. D. (2014). Ed tech: what’s the use? The history of educational technology is a reminder that it’s not the machine that matters–it’s finding the tool that best serves your educational objective. THE Journal : Technological Horizons in Education, 41(6), 27–. https://leo.acu.edu.au/pluginfile.php/5530662/mod_resource/content/1/Ed%20Tech%20-%20Whats%20the%20Use.

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