There’s a lot of sound and fury around the increasing use of digital technologies – and not just in learning and teaching. It’s either self-proclaimed futurists insisting that an avalanche is coming, or naysayers loudly proclaiming an inherent evil in all electronic screens. The reality is, as usual, somewhere in between and there are some fantastic opportunities for learning, as well as some huge challenges.
What’s undeniable is that digital technologies are rapidly becoming our normal way of engaging with information. They are now at the centre of our commerce – our banking and shopping, our entertainment and current affairs, our socialising with family and friends. And more and more, they are central to the way we work – my new boss (hi John) seems very content reading meeting papers on his smartphone or tablet.
So it shouldn’t be a surprise that those digital technologies are rapidly becoming the centre of our learning and teaching. Already iLearn at MQ generates 1 billion (with a b) views annually, and all the evidence points to huge student use of our existing online resources. And judging by the current year 8 experience of my own kids (and yes, I know I shouldn’t generalise), our students’ use of digital technology is only going to increase.
Our approach to teaching should understand that. Properly designed and utilised, digital technologies provide tremendous opportunities for better learning. It can also free up teaching time, and allow more effective student interaction in face to face engagements. Fortuitously, our student cohorts (like the broader world) are increasingly engaged with digital technologies – to best address them, we need to fully develop emerging digital learning possibilities. So what about a principle along these lines:
Design for Digital, Digital by Design…
- All of our learning will be blended, with every unit offering a mix of face to face and online activities;
- Our core curriculum content and assessment (including examinations) will be on open, accessible digital platforms;
- Our suite of fully online programs will be strategically expanded and strengthened