10 things teachers are looking for in their digital classroom
Written by Anneke Verbeeck on May 24, 2019 4:54:15 PM Theme Community, Education, Collaboration, Digital transformation, Technology
Talking about “Things teachers want for their digital classrooms”, should start by asking:
‘What is a digital classroom?
Perhaps it would be wise to brainstorm not only what a digital classroom really is but what we want it to be.
“As educationalists, we do live in very interesting times and that can be either a curse or a blessing depending on how you feel about the role of technology in education and the degree to which you are willing to engage with it. Personally, I feel that it’s a blessing and that we are very lucky to be living in times that offer us the opportunity to radically change and improve the way we educate our students.”
Education is constantly changing and evolves rapidly. In fact, the change itself is one of the only constants in education. One of the biggest drivers that influences the change in education today is technology. Our students are part of a new generation - a generation that is constantly connected and surrounded by technology. And so it is only logical to fully integrate technology into our educational practice. As educators, we are the ones who have to evolve and we need to adapt our teaching methods, where necessary, to promote and expand the use of technology by our students. We must create a learning environment that supports 21st century learning. The solution is obvious: schools need to focus on the digital classroom.
Here’s a brief visualization of what a digital classroom could be based on my own readings, searches, and thoughts.
Assuming that this mindmap represents an ideal digital classroom set-up with technology, psychology and social learning dynamics in place, we end up with this definition:
A digital classroom is a classroom that is completely immersed in technology. Every student has access to a device with an internet connection - whether it is a laptop, tablet, Chromebook or another device - and most (or all) of the learning material is delivered via an online, exciting, interactive platform. Digital classrooms use online educational apps and websites to stimulate creativity and critical thinking.
Let’s not forget to take the 21st century learning skills into account, for both the student and the teacher. By visualizing these learning skills, we get an idea of what a teacher and a student need to know, can and do, but especially which questions arise from this to be able to perfect these skills within the learning environment:
Let’s proceed with the list of top ten things teachers want from digital classrooms. This list is based on the results of a questionnaire created by Educational technology expert, Nik Peachey. Using a collaborative brain-storming tool called tricider, Nik asks us to contribute ideas on what we’d like to see in an ebook about exploiting online video in the digital classroom? The ideas are then voted upon and we can clearly see which ideas are the most popular. Although his first book is about exploiting video, he’s planning a whole series of books about the full range of things we need to know regarding the digital classroom.
“The ideas here are worthy of a series, not just a single book ;-)”
- Teachers want to know how to manage diverse types of digital environment. They are particularly interested in online and blended learning paradigms such as flipped learning. This gives them the opportunity to offer differentiated learning content.
- They feel that video tutorials are a must for demonstrating new technology. It gives them the opportunity to also quickly teach students how to work with the newer way of working. This generation will use the tutorials in a playful way to get results quickly.
- They would like reviews of different types of apps for creating videos, including suggestions about how to use the app for learning purposes. For example, it would be nice to have an application when learning a language that allows a student to present his subject by using a video. A number of skills are immediately used and practiced by the student. A nice way for the class to view the different presentations. You can put the usually boring lectures that we know into a fresh digital new look.
- They want to let student create their own video content for authentic purposes and to feel pride in their work. Isn’t it awesome to present your work with modern apps and to make your fellow students enthusiastic.
- They want tips on how to exploit the visual aspects of video.
- Ideas and advice for using video in digital narrative. When a story is told with digital images, this is called "Digital Storytelling". You can do this in the classroom in two ways. On the one hand, the teacher can make and tell a story, so that students are confronted with learning content in a fresh way, which often results in an enthusiastic response. The teacher can easily show this story to the class on the interactive whiteboard. On the other hand, the teacher can ask the students to make a digital story on their own, such as a digital essay or a digital comic story. In this assignment, the students are trained on many different skills: they have to come up with a topic, do research, analyze information, process it and structure it as a story. Because the students present their stories to the group or on the internet, there are many moments of reflection.
- Advice on how to choose an appropriate clip, image, game, … This always remain a difficult task. Numerous websites are already helping us with this, but wouldn’t a teacher's life be easier if it were to be more visible?
- Suggestions for action plans and tasks teachers can do to start incorporating video technology into their teaching.
- Ideas about how to exploit the visual aspect of the video rather than just for listening comp.
- A tool box of useful applications for doing things like video editing, clipping, download, etc.
Education, education, education, …
For all those 'new things' teachers will need to educate themselves. They want good examples of digital tools, and in particular how they should be implemented.
These trainings can be followed on an online learning management system or by attending webinars and live sessions (MOOCs).
Gradually they will discover new things by exchanging their ideas with other teachers. It’s absolutely great to hear colleagues talk about how they work with interactive cubes in their class, train their skills, use a template to create new content in small groups and new ideas for digital learning on different devices (laptop, tablet, chromebook).
So let's believe in the communities of teachers and digital classrooms - let's all share the experience! #i3ALLSTARS