The rise of the digital age has brought major changes to many industries and professions, fundamental changes which many consider both positive and negative. While initially, the internet was a single way communication channel, where a publisher wrote to an audience, the next generation included feedback communications in the form of blogs, forums and social networks where the publishers of content receive instant feedback and the audience also communicates with each other in virtual real-time. This change to communication and knowledge management has had a substantial impact on the teaching profession both students and teachers have had to adjust their learning styles and expand their knowledge of technology.
One key challenge for the teaching environment that has been introduced is the fast pace of change for digital technology. As Starkey (2012 p. 14) noted, the start of the digital age introduced the web, social networks, mobile and wireless capabilities and communications technologies and in the last 5 years alone that pace has intensified with the proliferation of smartphones. These have become more available to children creating more options for information and knowledge management.
(Essex, 2010) Discussed the term ‘Edutainment’ during his TEDx presentation and how smartphones are making kids smarter. This is driven by their voracious consumption of applications and information. The presentation appears below in length and discusses the concepts of integrating education, gaming and devices into a fun learning environment.
More importantly, (Essex, 2010) explains the need to get the use of and integration of technology right. This focus is increased by (Heitner, 2014) who discussed the need for children in education to be taught to use the technology correctly with a focus on the right behaviours, instead of expecting children to do the wrong thing and behave poorly.
The rate of change brings about different challenges over the short, medium and long term explains (Sampson, 2014, Slide 9) with views on areas of major challenges over the short term whereby the role of teachers changes through the use of social media, medium term with the emergence of open education and hybrid learning designs and over the long term with online education, data driven learning and assessment. In each of these circumstances, the role of the teacher changes and evolves as the fundamental podagogical models are applied to new circumstances.
As (Walsh, 10/07/2011) noted in her blog iPads in Education – Hows it going so far, some of the simple challenges of teaching still remain when using iPads in schools such as where to mark up feedback for students’ work concluding that smart devices are not necessarily the complete change, but a necessary part of the overall learning experience. While it is clear there are many benefits to the overall learning experience using technology, there still remains some setbacks, although some of these may be perceived and teachers and students still learning to adjust, or it is possible the applications have not finished advancing enough yet to overcome some of these hindrances. Given technologies previous track records, either are most likely going to be overcome.
ESSEX, A. 2010. The Role of Technology in Education: Andrew Essex at TEDxSudeste TEDxSudeste. TEDx.
HEITNER, D. 2014. The challenges of raising a digital native | Devorah Heitner, Ph.D. | TEDxNaperville TEDxNaperville. TEDx.
STARKEY, L. 2012. Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age, Abingdon, Oxon OX 14 4RN, Routledge.