It’s your first day taking Introduction to Genetics and Evolution at Duke University with the renowned professor, Dr. Mohamed Noor. You haven’t taken biology since high school, so you think the content might be a little too advanced, but you’ll worry about that later today after your Microeconomics class at the University of Pennsylvania. Mid-way through the lecture, you find yourself a little stumped with genetic recombination, but Dr. Noor happily pauses the lecture for you while you do a quick Wikipedia search of the topic… and grab a snack before plopping back down on your couch and clicking the play button so the Coursera online class can resume.
Digital technology is increasingly transforming the student-teacher classroom interface, online and offline, as affordable and accessible distance learning becomes the method of choice for millions of students and professionals-in-training across the world.
Not only does digital technology offer an alternative experience to traditional brick-and-mortar school, students may use it to complete graduation requirements or catch up on studies. Even businesses are utilizing digital technology for orientation and training. In fact, more than 90% of teachers believe that technology has a huge impact on their ability to access and share resources with students and fellow teachers.1 With an ever-growing need for flexibility of teaching in different learning styles and skill levels, this multi-modal database of curriculums is allowing us to bring content to the classroom that we simply couldn’t before.
Using a computer and internet connection, teachers can supplement their lessons with YouTube EDU tutorials, Khan Academy videos, or customizable games like Jeopardy to reinforce content and offer students enjoyable interactive methods of learning – the kind of personalized learning that is shown to be effective.3 With this technology, students can go beyond supplementing their learning – they can teach themselves. This is where technology becomes more than just an adjunctive educational modality, and it’s the reason so much of the foundational learning taught in schools can now be learned on the internet.
It may be cliché, but digital technology is really all the information and education you could possibly want, right at your fingertips. Through Codecademy, you can become a programmer without paying a cent, maybe even get a degree online; through Duolingo, you can market that skill overseas by learning another language, and with Spreeder, train yourself to read over 1000 words per minute in that language. The possibilities are endless.
It’s up to you: What will be taught in your classroom?
- “How Teachers Are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms.”Pew Research Centers Internet American Life Project RSS, Pew Research Center, 27 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 June 2015.
- Rose, David H., and Anne Meyer. “Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning.” Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1703 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria, VA 22311-1714, 2002.
- “Research on the Use of Khan Academy in Schools.” SRI International. N.p., 2013. Web. 14 June 2015.
- Cox, Grace. “The Internet: A 21st Century School?” Hello Giggles. N.p., 26 Nov. 2013. Web. 14 June 2015.