Digital Schooling

A Clear Route to Digital - Overcoming the Challenges of EdTech

The Central Challenge of Digital Education - “There is no consensus or definitive explanation of what technology integration looks like in a classroom, or how it can be achieved”


The Promise of Digital Education

The promise of digital education continues to beckon.  Today we all rely on our devices to educate ourselves, whilst research by academics has illuminated that promise in much more detail.   

Early on it was apparent that interactive and multimedia content increased the engagement of learnersi.  Over time the emergence of blended learning models were shown to promote more personalized and flexible learningii, whilst increased digital collaboration by teachers improved lesson planningiii .  The use of digital devices themselves were shown to assist teachers deliver content more effectively, provide scaffolding and facilitate collaborative learningiv. There are numerous other studies that have each highlighted specific learning advantages provided by digital education. 

 

The Central Challenge of Digital Education

Some of the challenges of digital education are readily apparent: the potential for distraction is substantial as digital devices form the nexus of student’s socialization and entertainment, as well as educationv. Concerns about plagiarism, the reliability of online content and access to unsuitable content also come to mind. However, there is one central challenge that overshadows all others.

“There is no consensus or definitive explanation of what technology integration looks like in a classroom, or how it can be achieved”vi

 

Defining the Dimensions of Digital Educations

We would go further and say that there is no well accepted definition of the dimensions of digital education, let alone how they will be integrated!
Without a clear definition of what we are trying to achieve with digital education we are unlikely to be successful. In this series of blogs, we are going to provide a simple but robust definition of the dimensions of digital education and then describe each, providing a set of conditions that both define success and enable a smooth transition. As part of the series, we will also describe a series of simple steps and a roadmap to digital education.
The model we have found most useful in defining the dimensions of digital education is from The Smart Classroom: Learning Challenges in the Digital Ecosystemvii.
The dimensions described are:

    • Educational resources (such as digital devices, learning tools and digital content)
    • Pedagogical practices (methodologies)
    • Roles (such as teacher and student)
    • Axiological principles (values and ethics)
 

The Lesson at The Center

In the centre of this model is what the authors describe as smart classroom education, which serves well as a proxy for digital education, done well. This aligns perfectly with the vision we have at ProScola, and we have adopted the authors’ approach. We think of it as ‘putting the lesson in the center’.
Wherever we start in the model, by considering the other dimensions we ensure we are taking in the essential considerations for success. For example, if we are thinking about educational resources: Digital educational resources must support educational practice to the benefit of specific roles guided by clear principles.

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Figure 1 – the core requirements of digital education

By using this model to define digital education we can better address issues such as infrastructure challenges, inequitable access to technology, teacher preparedness, content relevance, digital literacy gaps and data management challenges. These were the kinds of challenges highlighted in Impacts of digital technologies on education and factors influencing school’s digital capacity and transformation: a literature reviewviii.
This thoughtful approach will help to ensure that digital education serves as a catalyst for positive change rather than widening existing educational disparities.
In the next post, we will consider the challenges presented by digital resources such as digital devices and content.Wherever we start in the model, by considering the other dimensions we ensure we are taking in the essential considerations for success. For example, if we are thinking about educational resources: Digital educational resources must support educational practice to the benefit of specific roles guided by clear principles.

 

About ProScola

We didn’t found ProScola to enable digital education. We were founded by teachers wishing to use technology to reduce the overwhelming workload and stress levels faced by teachers with the clear aim of allowing teachers to do more of what they love – which is teaching. However, to accomplish our aims it has become apparent that defining a path to success in digital education is essential and it has become part of our mission. If this article has inspired you, please contact Jason Thompson – jason.thompson@proscola.com

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