The Digital Approach – eLearning Industry

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Use Of Digital Tools And Technologies In Education

The advent of technology has brought a lot of changes to our lives. Technology is ubiquitous. From using machines, we are now exploring the usage of robotics in different industries. Wired landline telephones became outdated when smartphones were launched in the market. Smartphones were the game-changer along with other mobile devices such as tablets and pads. Who would not use a smartphone if it has all you need already? With your smartphone alone, aside from basic texting and calling, you already have a calculator, a radio, a camera, and connecting to the internet is just at the tip of your finger. Thus, we can easily understand how technology found its way into our classroom. For the past years, teachers have creatively integrated these technologies into their teaching and learning processes, and this is the digital approach in pedagogy.

The Digital Approach In Pedagogy

1. The Digital Pedagogy

As posted by the University of Toronto Libraries (2021), Digital Pedagogy Lab defines the digital approach as considering digital technologies through a critical pedagogical perspective; thus, it is using digital tools thoughtfully in the teaching and learning process. Therefore, it also includes the impact of such digital tools in education. Brian Croxall (2013, MLA Digital Pedagogy Unconference) mentioned that, simply, digital pedagogy is to alter the experience of learning through the use of electronic elements to improve the experience of education. 

Thus digital pedagogy is the teachers’ attempt to change the teaching and learning experiences of students through the thoughtful use of technology. We do not simply use PowerPoint for presentations, replacing the blackboard and chalk, or ask our students to watch a video from YouTube because we are too lazy for discussions or we are suffering from a sore throat. It is using technology in our classrooms as a supplemental tool to make our lessons more enticing and engaging to our students.

This pedagogical approach is also termed digital education, defined by the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Academic Development as eLearning or technology-enhanced learning. They also defined it as using the technologies and digital tools in education innovatively. With the use of technology, teachers are given the opportunities to improve their lesson plans by preparing engaging learning opportunities for their students, either face-to-face or online.

2. The TPACK

To further enhance one’s idea of what digital pedagogy is or how to use this pedagogy, it will help to review what TPACK is. Mishra and Koehler (2006) mentioned that technological pedagogical content knowledge or TPACK enumerates the knowledge teachers are required to have to be able to integrate technology in their teaching. The TPACK model is an interplay between three primary forms of knowledge: content (CK), pedagogy (PK), and technology (TK). Each knowledge is not isolated from the others but instead intertwined and interconnected.

Content knowledge is our familiarity or grasp of the subject matter that we are teaching, while pedagogical knowledge is the teacher’s capacity to create and facilitate learning in the classroom through different strategies. Lastly, technological knowledge is the teacher’s knowledge on using technological tools and resources and gracefully integrating them into the learning process. Along with the three primary types of knowledge, we also have pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), technological content knowledge (TCK), technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK), and technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK).

Koehler & Mishra (2009) stressed that TPACK doesn’t talk about knowledge individually but as a basis to make technology integration effective. In other words, TPACK is the interrelation of the three forms of knowledge such as technology, content, and pedagogy in our teaching and learning processes.

3. Sample Applications

The following are examples of basic technology that we use in our teaching and learning processes:

  • Microphones, clickers, smartboards, and calculators
  • Smart television sets and computers along with the projectors
  • Mobile devices
  • Blogs or websites
  • Online media
  • Study tools
  • Computer-based testing or quizzes
  • Learning Management Systems

Listed below are examples of online and/or mobile applications used for different subject areas and class concerns:

  • Math
    1. Khan Academy
    2. KooBits
  • Science
    1. Google Earth
    2. BioInteractive
  • Language
    1. DuoLingo
    2. Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  • Learning Management System
    1. Moodle
    2. Google Classroom

Conclusion

To conclude, the digital approach is our thoughtful integration of technology in our teaching and in our students’ learning experiences. With the digital approach, both students and teachers develop their adaptive and technological skills. But like many, I would agree that technology, no matter how advanced it is, will not be able to replace teachers in the classroom. Nothing can replace a teacher’s sincerest concern for her students or his earnest passion to be part of social change.

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