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Posted by EdView360 on Feb 17, 2016
At EdView360, we’re big fans of digital learning. We’ve seen the transformative effect that excellent digital instruction can have on students, teachers, and entire classrooms, and we couldn’t be happier today to be celebrating Digital Learning Day (DLDay).
Now in its fifth year, DLDay is an Alliance for Excellent Education event dedicated to celebrating the very best that digital learning has to offer. As educators, we also see today as an occasion to reflect on the changes that technology is bringing to our classrooms. What makes digital learning so great? And what exactly makes great digital learning?
For some, the easy answer might seem to be rooted in the technology itself. That's understandable, as we've seen in just the past few years rapid sophistication of adaptive and digitally personalized learning—and the best is yet to come!
Still, we would argue that the real impact of digital learning technology isn’t about the technology itself, or its most impressive “features.” The real impact of digital learning comes from the broader, systemic, pedagogical, and often behavioral changes that excellent technology stimulates. In some cases, this means that teachers are finally empowered to deliver exactly the kind of instruction they always envisioned, if only they had the time and resources. In other cases, it means that students are empowered to achieve things they’ve never imagined at all.
Let’s look first at how excellent digital learning can support teachers. Most teachers would agree that, in a perfect world, they would want to deliver targeted, one-to-one instruction to every one of their students individually. This kind of personal teacher-student interaction has been shown time and again to be the most effective for helping to improve student understanding and facilitate positive learning outcomes. Unfortunately, it’s also been effectively impossible.
Enter digital learning. The best digital learning tools function as an extension of the teacher's presence in the classroom, continuously monitoring each student’s understanding of countless subtle learning concepts, instantly adjusting lessons to make them more effective for each individual student, and feeding actionable insights to the teacher throughout the process.
This kind of innovative technology allows teachers to direct their attention precisely where it is needed most, to fine-tune and personalize their teaching for maximum efficacy, and to make the most of the time they have with each student. Digital learning can’t (and shouldn’t) clone teachers—or replace them—but it can dramatically increase their reach in the classroom, effectively giving them superpowers.
And the superpowers afforded by excellent digital learning aren’t limited to teachers. When highly effective ed-tech is integrated into a learning environment, the entire classroom ecosystem is improved—because learning never stops. The best digital learning technology helps to ensure that students receive precisely the support they need in real time, empowering them to work toward their full potential, and to do so within an uninterrupted trajectory.
That’s when the real magic happens. When learning becomes continuous and all-encompassing, students approach it differently. They begin to take pride in their schoolwork. They take ownership of their achievements. Best of all, they embrace the learning process as a whole—developing the kind of “growth mindset” that allows them to focus on their own path of development, rather than on artificial or unnecessarily competitive milestones. Those are the kind of shifts that can have a profoundly positive impact not only on a student’s education, but on a student’s life trajectory.
As we reflect on digital learning today, those are the outcomes that we can’t help but focus on. The future of digital learning technology isn’t just about excellent technology; it’s about excellent learning.
Is your school or district participating in Digital Learning Day today? Tell us how you are using educational technology in the comments field below, and check out the full schedule of DLDay online events.