Technologies to Engage Learners

Participation and the Digital Divide

Participating actively in the digital world has become a necessity rather than a choice in the modern competitive world. Parents, employers and the community expects its members to be digitally competent. This blog post provides an over view of the digital divide in the society which affects participation levels and in turn creates a knowledge gap.

Parents are aware of the increasing influence of the digital world and expect the schools to raise the digital competency of their children. Schools are expected to bridge the digital divide by offering the students better technology than what they might be able to afford at home. Though the students of today belong to a digitally native generation, it is still an unequal digital world. In Australia, there is a varying level of digital experience among students. Students coming from lower socio economic households do not have the same access to technology as the students coming from middle and upper socio economic households (Howell, 2012). In a classroom resembling the below picture, it is understood that some of the schools in rural areas, from developing or underdeveloped countries cannot even afford to have chairs and desks for their students. In such a scenario, to make digital participation a priority might be unrealistic.

pixabay-gender-1459661_1280
An image of a classroom without chairs or desks as seen on Pixabay website (n.d.)

There is a growing interest in technology rich learning environments or TRE’s in Australia as well as in the other parts of the world. There are three types of uses of technology in schools namely, teachers using technology based activities in class, students using technology to complete assignments, doing collaborative work inside and outside class etc and technology used for administrative purposes which helps in keeping track of student and teacher information. The primary goal of using technology in schools is as a support system which aids student learning (Woolfolk & Margetts, 2013).

The gap between the people having or not having access to the internet is narrowing according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. There is a need to explore the issues of accessing quality internet services to reduce digital disparity as cited by Fox (2014). In countries like Africa,  mobile technology is playing a vital role in bridging this gap, easing access to the internet and communications  and thus empowering citizens with information at the click of a button (El-Khalili, S, 2015).

The Australian Curriculum has developed a digital technology curriculum which will help reduce the knowledge gap in children caused due to the digital divide (Australian Curriculum, n.d.). Children who belong to low socio economic groups will not be able to perform in a better manner and with the provision of digital technology in schools, these children can have better access. Mobile applications like the ‘photomath app’ helps solve handwritten math problems and teaches children how to solve it themselves. Students who have access to these technological help have better chances of enhancing their grades.

Thus it is understood that the topics are interconnected and to gain access to digital information, digital fluency could be increased, which in turn will bring greater digital participation, so that the digital divide can be reduced.

References

Australian Curriculum,( n.d.). Digital  technologies. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/digital-technologies/curriculum/f-10?layout=1

El-Khalili, S (2015). Mobile technology bridging the African digital divide. Retrieved from http://nehandaradio.com /2015/05/18/mobile-technology-bridging-the african -digital-divide/

Fox, M.(2014, Feb 26).Digital divide still an issue for low income earners. The Sydney Morning Herald.p.1

Howell, J.(2012). Teaching with ICT digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne ,VIC: Oxford University Press

Pixabay.(n.d.).classroom with no tables and chairs [image].Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/gender-class-training-trainer-1459661/

Pixabay.(n.d.).pair of dividers[image].Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/architect-designer-pair-of-dividers-297622/

Woolfolk,A & Margetts, K (2013). Educational psychology (3rd ed). Frenchs Forest ,NSW: Pearson Australia

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Digital Issues and the nature of schooling in the digital age

The digital world has opened a plethora of opportunities and with the opportunities come  several digital issues too. This blog explores the negative aspects of the digital world including cyber bullying, scams, identity theft, cookies, internet based fraud etc and how the nature of schooling can enable young children to be careful users of digital technology.

Cyber bullying is a major issue faced by the student community. Students can be made aware of how to recognise and deal with cyber bullying. Identity theft is another major digital issue. It is the type of fraud involving stealing money using personal details of another person. The office of the Children’s e-safety commissioner has a good guide about eSafety issues and how to protect personal information online (Australian Government, n.d.). Cybercrimes are on the increase in the modern world and schools in the digital age can play a major role in helping children, from being victims of cybercrimes.

pixabay-cyber-bullying-122156_1280
Image saying No to Cyber Bullying, as seen on the Pixabay website (n.d.)

The Australian Government has listed balancing online time, online gaming, offensive or illegal content, sexting, trolling and sharing of photos and videos safely on social media, as the digital issues under eSafety information (Australian Government, n.d.).There is a lot of information on this online resource for parents, students and the public giving practical advice on each type of digital issue and how to avoid getting into major issues. Poster presentation is an effective method which can be used in schools to make students become aware of the issues involved and English teachers play a major role in fostering the creative writing skills of students with the added advantage of sending though an effective message to the community.

The nature of schooling has changed with the use of technology. Different schools and different countries are at different levels of technology usage. Schools in Australia unlike schools in Singapore ,New Zealand etc have only around five years of using formal technology in classrooms.  Schools can create a digitally rich atmosphere in a collaborative manner with the use of limited resources. Flipped Classrooms are created when classes are recorded and students get the opportunity to learn the concepts by viewing them at their convenient time, as many times as they want(Howell, 2014). Students require guidance from teachers and parents about how to protect their digital identity and digital reputation. Skills necessary to make students be mindful users of the digital media can be taught in schools. Awareness videos like the one given below can be used by schools to raise awareness in kids in schools .

Cyber crime awareness video as seen on You Tube (Fatal Netcode, 2015, Oct 24)

The learning Technologies overview of the Australian Curriculum which is awaiting final endorsement ,envisages creating digital solutions and problem solving skills.Students will apply the skills which will meet their legal and cultural safety and responsibilities(Australian Curriculum, (n.d. para 8).

References

Australian Curriculum.(n.d.,para 8).Digital technologies overview.Retrieved from http://v7-5.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/digital-technologies/learning-in-digital-technologies

Australian Government. (n.d.). Protecting personal information.  Retrieved from https://esafety.gov.au/esafety-information/esafety-issues/protecting-personal-information

Australian Government.(n.d.).eSafety information.Retrieved from https://esafety.gov.au/esafety-information/esafety-issues/digital-reputation

Fatal Netcode.(2015,Oct 24).Cybercrime awareness video [Video file].Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmGIBXCdtLc

Howell,J.(2014). Living and learning in the digital world Mod 3 Week11[iLecture]. Retrieved from https://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au:8443/ess/echo/presentation/3540c5f3-92af- 4a01-93d6-2d9462252547

Howell,J.(2014).Living and learning in the digital world Mod 3 Week 9 [iLecture].Retrieved from https://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au:8443/ess/echo/presentation/cde07f6d-f531-4863-8d1c-2d03075ca100

Pixabay. (n.d.). Say no to cyber bullying [image]. Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/cyber-bullying-bully-rumor-teasing-122156

Pixabay.(n.d.).Smartphone training [image]. Retrieved from                     https://pixabay.com/en/smartphone-hand-training-learn-1446555/

 

 

Digital Identities and Security

Creation of a digital identity and the use of digital media in a secure manner is a vital topic in the modern world. Each individual has the freedom and responsibility to create an identity for themselves in the digital world. This blog post explores in brief about how to be mindful while creating a digital identity and how to explore the digital world while maintaining a feeling of security.

Individuals can have two types of digital identity- a personal identity and a public digital identity (Howell,2014). While using the social media, care should be taken to deliberately filter the information that can go public and that which could be more beneficial if kept private. Conscious effort could be made to keep a ‘me’ space, ‘we’ space and a ‘see’ space. ‘Me’ space refers to the personal and private space, ‘we’ space is what information can be shared between friends and family and ‘see’ space is what can be seen by the public.Digital identity contains a personal collection of data which remains permanent. Maintaining an e-portfolio helps in making a deliberate effort to enhance your digital identity by filtering the information which could remain online for several years and still give a positive outlook. The term digital footprint is used to refer to the information that is left behind permanently in the digital media.

Schools and parents have a responsibility to create a safe environment for children by creating awareness of being safe in the digital world.The importance of creating a positive digital footprint is presented in a project by the Moore Public Schools (2016, April 25). Most of the students interviewed belonging to the upper secondary level, were users of Instagram, twitter and  snapchat. Students could be monitored by parents and teachers and given corrective advice . Students could be made aware of the dangerous impacts of sexting and cyber bullying. Schools can have poster making activities on infographic web tools like Piktochart , where students research on cyber bullying and digital security issues and make posters like the one given below.

cyber-bullying_550_13c5c23940e7ff935b40470433b0c8e7cf25c4b9
Poster created by Roopa on Piktochart

A person who uses digital technology sends out information and receives information.Children can be victims of cyber bullying even in schools and this makes it more important to think about the safe practices that can be taught to students. Students can be taught safer habits of using digital technology  and this can be achieved through developing digital fluency( Howell, 2014).

The Australian Digital Technologies curriculum gives opportunities for students to “Work with others to create and organise ideas and information using information systems, and share these with known people in safe online environments (ACTDIP006)” (Australian Curriculum, n.d.). So parents can rest assured that the Australian schools have developed the digital technology curriculum to encourage students to use technology in a safe environment.

Interesting links on the topic of digital identity and security

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW8skH_5ZCY

 

References

Australian Curriculum.(n.d.).Digital technologies curriculum .Retrieved from http://v7-5.australiancurriculum.edu.au/technologies/digital-technologies/curriculum/f-10?layout=1#levelF-2

Howell,J.(2014).Living and learning in the digital world [iLecture]. Retrieved from https://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au:8443/ess/echo/presentation/2b50dab8-203d-42a5-bf23-cc6e57691672

Howell,J.(2014). Living and learning in the digital world [iLecture].Retrieved from https://echo.ilecture.curtin.edu.au:8443/ess/echo/presentation/1636447f-aa10-42de-bec3-f6fe6f44932e

Moore Public Schools. (2016,April 25).Think twice -your digital footprint matters [Video file].Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eSxZPu4oqQ

Pixabay.(n.d.) Digital security.[image].Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/grid-network-security-secure-1511498/

Pixabay.(n.d.) Cyber Bullying.[image].Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/cyber-bullying-bully-rumor-teasing-122156/

Whiteville, R (2016). Cyber-bullying poster. [image]. Retrieved from  https://magic.piktochart.com/infographics

 

Digital Information and Fluency

The changes happening in the world due to the revolution in the digital world has seen changes in the field of education too. Digital information available in the form of images, web links, videos etc., offer a variety of messages. Teachers and educational institutions have a major role to play in making the modern generation digitally fluent, to create positive outcomes. This blog post gives a brief synopsis of the relevance of gaining digital fluency, to access the wide world of digital information, especially in relation to the current Australian curriculum.

Digital information is abundant and teachers and parents could guide the children, to make them digitally fluent in a safe environment. Teachers and parents have to make a deliberate effort to learn the skills to make themselves digitally fluent before they can instill it in the children. As cited by Howell, (2013), teachers should aim to make the ‘The Technology Neophytes’ in the Primary classes from Year 4, digitally fluent and digitally capable learners. From Year 4 to Year 7, students reinforce the skills they have acquired for digital fluency. Digital fluency is created in learners through scaffolding in the form of creative activity, purposeful activity and experimental activity (Howell, 2013).

Digital information has emerged as the most common form of reading and storing data, which can be easily made available and easily accessed.  Tredinnik, (2006) & Tran (2015) have cited the challenges raised by   digital information. While Tredinnik, (2006) cited the vast possibility of duplicating digital information, Tran (2015) cited the challenges faced by the Libraries in upgrading the facilities and the staff qualifications, to cater to the need of the modern world of digital information.

The new Australian curriculum prioritizes the use of technology in Education. The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has outlined information and communication technology competence as one of the general capabilities, to be incorporated into each learning area (Australian Curriculum, n.d.). Children today who are digital natives use the internet for games, social networking and watching movies. Teachers and parents have a major role to play in guiding the children to use the digital information, for positive learning outcomes (White,2013). White (2013) suggests that digital fluency can be achieved with the help of a K-12 digital fluency subject, which includes topics like acceptable behaviour, ethics, digital commons and copyright, digital skills etc. Personal experience reveals that this is being practised in schools in some parts of the world as seen in the  below picture, and students and teachers are learning the skills to be digitally fluent in the  complex skills like web designing.

pixabay-classroom-467730_1280
The image of a School in China using technology in class, as seen on Pixabay website (n.d.)

The latest changes to the Australian Curriculum, including the introduction of multi modal texts, could be a major move to make students and teachers digitally fluent. The activities in each subject area are closely tied to the curriculum and there are clear learning objectives. By the end of Year 12, students are trained to become technological innovators. The new curriculum makes use of the vast resource of digital information, to hone the digital skills of their students. Thus we hope to see a future generation of digitally fluent people, who can make use of the digital information in a meaningful manner.

Interesting Links on the topic

https://www.theguardian.com/social-enterprise-network/2013/aug/02/young-people-fluent-digital

https://rd.acer.edu.au/article/digital-fluency-for-the-digital-age

References

Australian Curriculum. (n.d.). General capabilities. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/curriculum/general-capabilities

Howell, J. (2013). Teaching with ICT. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au

Pixabay.(n.d.).Tablet helps store a library of books[ image].Retrieved from  https://pixabay.com/en/tablet-hands-keep-books-computer-1632909/

Pixabay.(n.d.). School in China using technology in class [image].Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/classroom-school-china-asia-467730/

Tran, H. A. T. (2015). Challenges in the digital information era. Library Management, 36(4), 315-328. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/docview/1684384541?accountid=10382

Tredinnick, L .(2006).Digital information contexts: theoretical approaches to understanding digital Information. Oxford: Chandos. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/science/book/9781843341598 on 14th September 2016.

White, G .(2013).Digital fluency for the digital age. Retrieved from https://rd.acer.edu.au/article/digital-fluency-for-the-digital-age

 

 

Life Long Learning in the Digital Age

The digital world has changed the way things are learnt and has created new vista for seekers of knowledge. Lifelong learning makes people keep up to date with the ever changing world. Lifelong learning helps in acquiring the skills required to survive in the competitive and challenging world. This blog explores the concept of lifelong learning.

pic
Image of an Old Couple trying to be lifelong learners, as seen on Pixabay website (n.d.)

In the modern world, learning is possible at any age, if a person is self-motivated and has the necessary digital skills required to access the stupendous digital information available. Free video sharing websites like YouTube, provides both auditory learners and visual learners with a variety of topics to learn from.Digital world has made networking easier making it possible to connect to a person on the other side of the world. Lifelong learning enhances personal development and self-sustainability in the competitive job market. Adult Learning Australia (n.d.) cites that digital literacy and social inclusion are strongly related. Lifelong learning provides a platform for a fulfilling life at any age and can be used for personal development or professional development (Skills You Need, n.d.).The Global Education and the Australian Curriculum help students to be lifelong learners (Global Education,n.d.).

The proposition for shaping the Australian Curriculum recognizes the right to gaining knowledge and skills which will provide lifelong learning and participation in the Australian Community (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA],n.d. p.9). The latest Australian Curriculum for Senior Secondary classes in English describes  unit descriptions as “analysing the effects of using multimodal and digital conventions such as navigation, sound and image (ACEEN026)” which helps students to be lifelong learners.(ACARA, n.d.)

Howell (2012) cites that lifelong learning is made possible with the advancement of technology. On the other hand recent researches conducted, which analysed the motivation and obstacles to adult participation in lifelong learning in the digital age came to the conclusion that lifelong learning methods are interrupted by networked technologies. (Head, Alison J.; Van Hoeck, Michele ; Garson, Deborah S.,2015).

We cannot  trivialise the role of technological advancements in making lifelong learning accessible to a larger part of the community.  The global citizens of the digital world have more access to online learning portals which gives more convenience even for a layman, to access knowledge through multiple means.For the successful use of technology for the benefit of lifelong learning, the learner would have to gain digital fluency, so that the umpteen data available can be accessed.

Interesting Link

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042811025237

References

Adult Learning Australia(n.d.). Life long learning. Retrieved from https://ala.asn.au/non-formal-lifelong-learning

Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA],n.d. p.9..The Shape of the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/_resources/Shape_of_the_Australian_Curriculum.pdf

Australian Curriculum (n.d.).English senior secondary curriculum.Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/seniorsecondary/english/english/curriculum/seniorsecondary#page=2

Global Education(n.d.). Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.globaleducation.edu.au/teaching-and-learning/australian-curriculum.html

Head, Alison J.; Van Hoeck, Michele ; Garson, Deborah S.(2015). Lifelong learning in the digital age: A Content Analysis of Recent Research on Participation. First Monday. 20 .243. Retrieved from : http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v20i2.5857

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.

Pixabay.(n.d.). old couple trying to be life long learners [image].Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/the-old-man-mobile-couples-1451277/

Pixabay.(n.d.).continent flags and human silhouettes[image].Retrieved from https://pixabay.com/en/continents-flags-silhouettes-human-975936/

Skills you need (n.d.). Lifelong learning. Retrieved from http://www.skillsyouneed.com/learn/lifelong-learning.html