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Transforming Education in the Digital Age
posted by: Cindy Omlin | February 26, 2013, 01:28 AM   

Technology is fundamental to our global progress. The forward charge of digital resources has forever altered how we communicate with each other and how we conduct our daily lives. Students are tethered to their iPads, smartphones, and laptops, while chalkboards, textbooks, and overhead projectors have become relics of the past. As educators, we must work to ensure that our students are prepared for our current digital world and, more importantly, the days yet to come.


The Impact of Technology

Forward-thinking educators pride themselves on predicting the changes, challenges, and achievements possible for their students. Who in the field of education a generation ago could have predicted how integral computers would be to our students' lives? It's estimated that 90% of Americans have some kind of computerized gadget, including cell phones and tablet computers. Traditional classroom resources are quickly being replaced by their digital counterparts, but our goals as educators are still based on strategies that, in many cases, do not incorporate the advantages of technology.

It might sound cliché, but if we want to solve the world's toughest challenges and build a better future, we need an incredibly effective and aware educational system. If we educate future generations to be critical thinkers, skilled craftspeople, and responsible world citizens, then we have truly succeeded as educators. The way to reach those goals in today's society is through recognizing the advantages of technology and teaching students how to use it effectively.

Benefits for Our Students

In the digital age, our students are experiencing a revolution in how they are presented with — and study — new information. For young people, technology is only going to become more entrenched in their everyday lives.

Aside from the obvious benefit of not hauling a stack of books around, mobile- and Internet-based technology brings educational content to life. The impressive body of knowledge in every field of study can be shared between communities of individuals who continually challenge themselves to delve deeper into a subject. Educators and students can benefit from applications that individualize our schedules, give us suggestions, remind us to practice, and assess our strengths and weaknesses.

In addition, intuitive technologies can help facilitate connections between subject areas that we might not have identified on our own. Students can have a truly interactive experience with today's digital learning resources. Textbooks don't talk back. As students, we didn't receive feedback from these books, and, as teachers, we see how difficult it is to spark interest and inspiration with such limited tools. In contrast, the promise of digital content is that it evolves right alongside its users. Students now have the ability to view videos of historical events or listen to the audio of landmark speeches if they are embedded into digital texts. The topic of study comes to life through multiple dimensions.

Embracing Tomorrow

Many educators already incorporate revolutionary modes of teaching on a daily basis. Innovations like Jog the WebSkype in the Classroom, Promethean Planet, and theLearning Network provide quick and reliable means to connect with students and other professionals.

Key learning experiences can be supplemented and enriched by sharing ideas, assessment tools, and primary resources with a community of learners. By incorporating tools of technology in the classroom, educators can integrate the information they present with the way students interact with information outside of the classroom. We should not be afraid to try different approaches to find the optimum student response to new material. As students, didn't we search for those genuinely exciting and insightful moments that transported us into our studies?

Experimentation can help educators determine which lesson plans, lectures, or even assessments could benefit from digital resources. Most importantly, educators need to have an open mind about the opportunities technology has to offer. By embracing this progression in education and its ability to bring a more enriching and individualized experience to our students, we are paving the path for their future success in the Digital Age.

Ujjwal Gupta is the co-founder of BenchPrep, a cross-device learning platform that allows students to buy educational and test prep content from leading publishers and study across all devices. It allows students to practice tests, get real-time scores, compete, and chat with experts.


Originally posted by Alix at AAE.

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