The New Digital Learning Playbook: Understanding the Spectrum of Students’ Activities and Aspirations

I thought the title of this article truly spoke for itself. Simply put, there IS a new playbook when it comes to teaching our students and it is becoming more and more digital. Furthermore, student perceptions and preferences are something we can no longer ignore.  If teachers do not learn the “rules” (aka technology) of the game…they will not be relevant and will cause their students to lose in the longrun. Technology, if used properly, prepares our students for the game of life. As the author states in the press release, “let’s grab on to that meteor tail and leverage the authentic views of our students to create new digital learning playbooks that will meet the needs of all of our diverse learners.”

Diverse learners – that is what it is all about.  As the press release points out, there are differences between male and female students, and obviously age & grade plays a factor.  The results of such studies should be used as important data to tell us what our students think and how they plan to use technology today and in the future.  One thing within the article that was disheartening is that female students are less likely than male students to follow STEM careers.  I think this is because of social stigmas placed on our girls, but I do believe it has come a long way.  I myself used to be in technology sales and was one of a handful of women on my team.  I think it is our jobs as teachers to encourage girls to become interested in math and science and one of the best ways we can do that is through technology!

I found it interesting that both male and female students found it frustrating to not be able to use their own mobile devices in class for schoolwork.  The school I worked at last year implemented a “bring your own device” program, as most public schools are doing now.  I was surprised that some schools are not allowing students this access.  I understand the security issues, but there are ways to prevent any infringement, and the benefit of allowing students to use their mobile devices outweigh the risks (in my opinion).  Students use these devices at home with social media, digital gaming, etc and are familiar with how to use them.  They are most efficient on their own devices, therefore, it is in the best interest of the schools to allow them to use them in class as well.  Of course, there needs to be school provided devices available for those students that do not have their own.

Programs such as Speak Up are impoortant to gain perspectives from a variety of teachers, administrators, students and community members.  What a powerful tool for future education.  There was so much good information in this press release but I think the most important take away for me is to stay relevant.  Knowing my students and their needs is critical.  Designing lesson plans that incorporate technology is the only way to reach all of my students.  This means I need to edcuate myself and use the resources around me to learn different technologies, as well as ask my students and stay interested.  There is so much to learn and the best teachers are the kids themselves!  Creating differentiated and relevant (topics of interest) lessons is key.  My hope is to inspire my kids and give them the tools they need to be creative and grow in their own way.

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2 Responses to The New Digital Learning Playbook: Understanding the Spectrum of Students’ Activities and Aspirations

  1. twallace18 says:

    You mentioned several excellent points. I had a similar reaction to this article and the Brain Rules piece, calling to mind, Bill Maher’s “New Rules.” While Mahrer’s show is a comedy, ‘many a true word is said in jest!’ There are new rules, and thank goodness there is a playbook. While many of us try to assemble before reading the instructions, it is beneficial to have a playbook while navigating what can be a minefield in the digital world. One does not want to be left behind.

    Additionally, I like your reference to female presence in the technology field. When my sister-in-law (approaching age 60) was in high school she was advised against pursuing an education in the sciences. If a guidance counselor made the statement it would be blasphemy, and grounds for counseling. Calling an old ad for a arguably bad product, Virginia Slims cigarettes, ‘We’ve come a long way, baby!’ However, we certainly have not come far enough, if the research reveals that girls are shying away from STEM. Perhaps, this is a research question which needs further exploring.

    • nkhan3 says:

      I agree Aleks! Well said, we as educaiors have to learn the rules of the game.
      We have to reach out to each and everyone of our students. No child should be left behind! When we TRULY understand as educators that we have diverse learners, differentiation will be implemented for each and every child so that it is relevant to the learner.

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