The Fourth Fluency is “DIGITAL”

In the current educational environment, in particular for students in Prep to Year Three, digital fluency is just as important as fluency in language, numeracy and literacy skills. So much so that in recent years, amendments to the curriculum have included specific requirements relating to levels of digital competence (Australian Curriculum, n.d.).  I believe that a curriculum in this digital age needs to respond quickly to ever-evolving digital advances.

kind-wifi
The photo “cartoon on digital natives and immigrants” (larrycuban.wordpress, 2015)

I found it interesting to discover that by the end of Year Three, students are expected to be proficient in a range of digital skills including being able to turn a computer on and off, use a mouse, initiate programs and conduct basic internet searchers using key words (Howell, 2012).  Considering my first experience with a computer didn’t occur until my teenage years, and that experience came through a standalone IT subject, this emphasised to me that children are now exposed to digital technology in all stages of development, with the early years being the most influential.

As a future educator I am now aware that to assist students to become digitally fluent I will need to incorporate digital technology into all subject areas and vary how the students use each tool. I will need to ensure that lesson structures provide students with the freedom to explore the potential of digital technology either individually or through exchanging ideas and peer supported learning. It is my responsibility to maintain a high level of digital fluency in order to provide my students with the appropriate guidance as their digital fluency developments.

digital-fluency-3
The photo “digital fluency” (eneretlis.wordpress, 2015)

I was surprised to learn that digital technology is far more accommodating than I imagined, and is a great way to encourage students to experiment through investigation and be creative using digital tools and complete purposeful activities (Howell, 2012).

Reference List

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

Eneretlis.wordpress.com, 2015. digital fluency [Image]. Retrieved from https://eneretlis.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/digital-fluency/

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT Digital Pedagogies for Collaboration and Creativity.  South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press

Larrycuban.wordpress, 2014. cartoons on digital natives and immigrants [Image]. Retrieved from https://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2014/05/24/cartoons-on-digital-natives-and-immigrants/

What does it mean to learn in a digital world?

print-in-a-digital-world
The photo “the digital world has infused with the physical world” (minisoftinc, n.d.)

In a world where digital technology dominates many aspects of everyday life, students expect that their learnings will be delivered using forms of digital technology. Digital technology has evolved from being a delivery tool in the classroom to an instrument of change in how and what students learn. This has changed the structure, method of delivery and way in which educators interact with their students (Howell, 2012).

With the expectation from students, parents, employers and the community that students will leave higher education digitally fluent, how does this impact today’s educators? As a digital migrant and future educator, I acknowledge that some students’ knowledge of technology will exceed mine, and I understand that students have a strong preference for learning using familiar digital platforms.

cropped-digital-page-kids1
The photo “what is a digital world” (kareycummings.wordpress, 2015)

As many students are regular uses of digital technology in their personal lives, they welcome the transition to using these tools in their formal education, and educators will find that students are motivated to learn. It is my responsibility to maintain a positive attitude towards technology, to embrace student input and to respect the thirst of students to learn in a digital environment. To this end, I will remain alert and open to advances in digital resources and opportunities.

The consequences of failing to provide students with the opportunity to learn in a digital world won’t just affect them now, but will affect them into the future in their formal education, employment prospects, personal development, social interaction and their ability to participate in the global information society (Howell, 2012). When students enter the workforce, a consequence of digital technology is that their competitors for future employment could come from anywhere in the world, which means that educators and students must be prepared for the challenges of the digital world.

Reference List

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT Digital Pedagogies for Collaboration and Creativity.  South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press

Kareycummings.wordpress, (2015). what is a digital world [image].Retrieved from https://kareycummings.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/what-is-a-digital-world/

Minisoftince (n.d.). the digital world has infused with the physical world [image]. Retrieved from http://www.minisoftinc.com/the-digital-world-has-infused-with-the-physical-world/

The digital divide – is it a Gap or a Canyon?

digitaldivide-2
The photo “digital divide 2” (prezi.com, n.d.)

I grew up believing that geographical isolation was the major contributing factor to the digital divide in Australia.  However I now appreciate that other factors equally influence how readily people access and use digital technology, and the consequences of that digital inequity. Locality, socioeconomic status and educational level influence each other and combine to impact an individual’s ability to access and effectively use digital technology (Willis & Tranter, 2006). 

alice-springs-school-of-the-air.-crop
The photo “alice springs school of the air” (usaus-h20.org, n.d.)

A recent television broadcast highlighted the difficulties for families in remote communities, and in particular for School of the Air students in receiving basic education, due to slow and unreliable internet connections. A parent commented  “Not every day is brilliant, whether we’ve got the internet or not, but just that slight bit of disruption can actually throw us off schedule for days and weeks” (McClymont, J, 2015). As remote students are completely reliant on online delivery of lessons, coupled with the unreliability of digital services, families are left to seek alternative solutions to educate their children (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2015).

The socioeconomic status of a household can seriously impact on the availability of digital technology for children. A recent report revealed that 98% of households with an income of at least $120,000 had internet access, compared to only 57% of households with income below $40,000 (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2014).

Location-independent-Australia
The photo “location independent australia” (ytravelblog.com, n.d.)

For lower income earners, this unfortunately becomes a pattern where successive generations cannot access opportunities to fulfil their educational potential and raise their socioeconomic status (Willis & Tranter, 2006).  This prompted me to consider my role as a future educator in assisting children break out of this mould. It is evident that today’s students are both required to and expect to obtain a level of digital fluency enabling them to learn both now and in the future.

The digital divide is narrowing as people rely less on desktop computers due to more affordable online options using handheld devices, which enables more people to access digital technology on demand (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2015).

Reference List

Australian Broadcasting Corporation. (2015, August 12). Slow internet in regional Australia creating a ‘digital divide’ and harming education and business [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2015/s4292363.htm

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2014).  8146.0 – Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2012-13. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/DE28AB7779067AACCA257C89000E3F98?opendocument

Prezi (n.d.). digital divide 2 [image]. Retrieved from https://prezi.com/t_phlmfk_-j0/doges/

usaus-h20.org (n.d.). alice springs school of the air [image]. Retrieved from http://www.usaus-h2o.org/schools/alice-springs-school-of-the-air/

Willis, S., & Tranter, B. (2006). Beyond the ‘digital divide’ Internet diffusion and inequality in Australia. Journal of sociology, 42(1), 43-59. Retrieved from http://jos.sagepub.com/content/42/1/43.abstract

ytravelblog.com (n.d.). location independent Australia [image]. Retrieved from http://www.ytravelblog.com/things-gone-wrong-australia-road-trip/

popplet

The photo “how to make a popplet a collaborative mind mapping tool ” (blogs.kqed, 2014)
The photo “how to make a popplet a collaborative mind mapping tool ” (blogs.kqed, 2014)
To view the Year 3 Maths resource I created using popplet, click on the link below:
http://popplet.com/app/#/2707750
popplet
Evaluation Matrix
Weblink to access popplet : https://popplet.com/
Who should this digital teaching resource be used with?

This resource is for use with Year 3 students.

How should it be used?

This resource is displayed on screen for the entire class to view, enabling group participation.  A complementary hard copy hand out is given to each student.

Which subject or learning area would it be most appropriate to use in?

This resource is used in a maths lesson plan which will teach the steps in learning to tell the time.popplet 2

Identify the strengths of this teaching resource

Popplet is a user-friendly program that allows users to generate visually engaging presentations that incorporate text and visual images.  This functionality allows content to be presented in an easy to follow pattern, allowing students to learn via teacher explanation and then reinforce their learnings via practical exercise.  The program allows any combination of images and text to be imported to support the desired learning outcomes.

Identify any weaknesses of this teaching resource

Popplet has limited functionality which restricts students’ ability to directly interact with the onscreen content.  While presenting the lesson in a digital form, the program does not provide students with any additional learning about digital technology.  For the lesson to be effective in engaging the students, complementary hard copy resources are essential.

Explain any ideas you may have for further use of this teaching resource

This resource is readily adaptable to all levels of primary school education and across all subject areas.  In particular the program’s structure allows the creation of a process flow diagram that could be applied to a wide range of subject matters that involve a step-by-step learning process.

 Reference List

blogs.kqed (2014). how to make a popplet a collaborative mind mapping tool [image]. Retrieved from http://blogs.kqed.org/education/2014/02/21/how-to-make-a-popplet-a-collaborative-mind-mapping-tool/

A Web Whiteboard

A web whiteboard
The photo “a-web-whiteboard-cross-platform-collaborative-brainstorming” (Web.appstorm, n.d.)
To view the Year 1 Art/Drawing  resource I created using A Web Whiteboard, click on the link below:
https://awwapp.com/s/efbfce9c-0a18-4559-ad80-6de3810ec61b/
web
 Evaluation Matrix
Weblink to access A Web Whiteboard: https://awwapp.com/
Who should this digital teaching resource be used with?

This resource is for use with Year 1 students.

How should it be used?

This interactive learning tool enables the teacher to create a lesson that involves both group learning and individual participation.  Each student will have access to the program and be required to complete a series of activities on their personal devices.  

Which subject or learning area would it be most appropriate to use in?

This resource is used in an art/drawing lesson plan.  The interaction allows students to refine their motor skills, have some fun when drawing with the mouse and allows them to work autonomously.   

Identify the strengths of this teaching resource

This is an easy to use program that young students would become comfortable in using after minimal instruction.  Limited functionality is a strength because students are less likely to become overwhelmed or distracted by a complex range of options and can focus on the lesson content.  The resource also has the option to download the finished work for students to save or print. 

Identify any weaknesses of this teaching resource

This resource is best suited to students in the initial years of schooling and is therefore not transferable to older students who have attained a satisfactory level of digital fluency.  Due to the interactive nature of this resource educators may have limited control over the content produced by individual students. 

Explain any ideas you may have for further use of this teaching resource

This resource would be readily adaptable across all subject areas of early learning.  As students become more familiar with the program teachers may encourage them to initiate the use of the resource by themselves or with peers. 

Reference List

Web.appstorm (n.d.). a-web-whiteboard-cross-platform-collaborative-brainstorming [image]. Retrieved from http://web.appstorm.net/reviews/communications/a-web-whiteboard-cross-platform-collaborative-brainstorming/