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Digital Instruction in Education: What It Means for Teachers. (Part 1)

Posted on the 09 February 2015 by Swoopadmin @SwoopStudios

Digital instruction in Education: What it means for Teachers, is a very short but concise two-part blog that will investigate the effects and opportunities of the digital instruction movement in learning institutions and it’s impact on school teachers.

Part one will look at the areas of instruction that are supported by web-based tools and in part two, we will go beyond the tools that save teachers time to explore some more advanced methods and practice of teaching that are coming up as a result of digital instruction tools.

Teachers are now becoming increasingly more aware and more accepting of web-based digital tools that are similar to the ones that have changed and improved the works of other professionals in different industries.

Although it is true that some schools have not completely adopted digital tools, sometimes due to lack of funds from school or students inability to access technology, digital changes are nevertheless, persistently sweeping through classrooms. Internet access vis personal devices, including; mobile phones, tablets and computers, have become increasingly prolific. According to research from Microsoft Advertising, with results from over 1,500 families from London, Manchester and Birmingham who took part in the survey, UK households, on average, possess ten connectable devices and six of those are hooked up to the Internet. Also, the number of educational resources available online have risen to a staggering amount. There are literally, thousands of officially recognised and accredited educational courses on online channels like YouTube.

Having said that, it is important to remember that Digital Instruction must not be mixed up with the e-learning or Open University long distance learning movement, where students learn solely online.

Digital instruction movement can instead, be defined by the large number of web-based tools and resources that fits in a smooth and continuous manner, within a teachers daily workflow to help them save time and promote other educational teachings and innovations.

Tools to adopt and Practices to save time.

The digital overthrow has helped to streamline each industry it has touched, by simplifying and converting previously hard processes for professionals.

Systems such as “Trello” gives companies an easier way to manage and handle projects while the ones like “SoundCloud”, give musicians the opportunity promote and share their work after recording. In the same way, there are now, time-saving tools that can help teachers to simplify some of the slow and dull processes that face the art of student instruction and student learning.

Where classroom behavior management has become a hot topic in education, tools such as “Class Dojo” (www.classdojo.com) are now making it easier for teachers to capture students behavior and visibility to disciplinary process by eliminating taxing data entry into student information systems.

Teaching Curriculum

The rapid and sudden increase of digital and open learning resources online, have threatened the use of traditional textbooks as the primary source of knowledge for students because it has disrupted teachers management of their curriculum more than any other instructional area in the educational setting.

The need to control this fundamental shifting in power of content to digital age instruction, is the reason resources such as “SmartBinder” was initiated.

SmartBinder is a free tool that allows teachers to build and organize cloud-based binders of digital material, turn them into lesson content, create lessons with files, images, videos, and web content, send those lessons out to students, and receive feedback in real time on how students are doing.

It can also help co-teachers work together to access and build better lessons and curriculum in their courses.

Assessment.

Methods of assessment are  now becoming streamlined and digitalised via web-based tools that automate grading. Some of these tools, like “MasteryConnect”,  provides necessary equipments that help to implement comprehensive learning and save teachers time in the process. In addition, through a browser or mobile device, MasteryConnect allows teachers to collaborate and connect in a social way around assessments. (www.masteryconnect.com)

Another such helpful tool is the “Socrative” app. (www.socrative.com) which also saves time but takes student response and ease of use to a whole new level. ‘Socrative’ works by engaging the entire classroom with educational exercises and games while capturing student results in real-time. It interacts with the data collected, to further student understanding in the moment, and review the reports to prepare for future classes. Socrative will even aggregate and grade your pre-made activities, saving you time, so you can engage more with your students on an individual level.

Grading

Class grading, calculations and reporting have been a cause of distress and annoyance for many teachers, especially at the end of terms or year. Now however, web-based toolS like “Engrade”( www.engrade.com), allow teachers to update and calculate their grades speedily, saving time, especially for those who’s specialties are not rooted in mathematics!

These systems act as a one-stop shop for classroom tools—attendance, grading, calendars, seating chart, behavior tracking, and more.

Join us in part two, where we will look beyond time saving tools for teachers and move to explore the dynamic new trends in methods and practice of teaching that are currently emerging in the digital world. Stay tuned….!

Written by Gayle Thomson @SwoopStudios

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