The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic made the implementation of technology in the classroom a hot topic of discussion. Make no mistake: Digital learning is no temporary solution — it is the future of education. Teachers will need to become experts at creating innovative digital learning environments in order to better meet the needs of modern students. Skills developed by earning an advanced degree, like the online Master of Education in Applied Digital Learning at Lamar University, can prepare them to smoothly transition their schools into the digital era.
Advantages to Digital Learning
Both educators and students can reap the benefits. Digital learning is a time saver for educators, it increases the effectiveness of learning experiences, and it allows for customization based on the needs of individual students. Findings from a K-12 Schoology survey titled The State of Digital Learning show that “an overwhelming majority of teachers and administrators … agree that digital learning positively impacts student growth and achievement.” Leaders in the world of education must be comfortable with and have a strong understanding of how to incorporate, digital learning.
Challenges of Digital Learning
The implementation of digital learning is not without its challenges. First and foremost is access to the necessary technology. Far too many students do not have their own digital devices or consistent access to Wi-Fi. School districts may need to create partnerships with internet providers or device manufacturers to ensure that all students have the technology tools they need to succeed.
Additionally, schools must provide ongoing professional development opportunities to keep teachers on the cutting edge of digital learning. A shortage of digital curricula may initially be problematic, although this concern should diminish as digital learning proliferates more.
One of the most common instructional strategies for digital learning is the flipped classroom. In this model, students are asked to become familiar with educational materials, typically videos, before attending class. This provides more in-class time for practicing or developing a stronger understanding of the content area concepts introduced in the pre-class materials.
Flipped classrooms also free up teachers to use their time efficiently. They can assess where students may need additional instruction or what concepts may need to be reinforced. The flipped classroom model has proven to be effective because students can actively learn in a group environment under the guidance of their teacher.
Digital Apps and Technology
Apps provide a way to increase flipped-classroom effectiveness and student engagement. Here are a few of the most popular:
- Edpuzzle – This video-sharing app lets teachers include notes and questions.
- BookWidgets – This app provides digital templates for interactive exercises.
- Duolingo – This language-learning app is great for short lessons and flipped classrooms.
- Clarisketch – Teachers can use this app to create animated sketches.
- Khan Academy – Extremely popular app with a wide array of learning videos.
- Loom – This screen-capturing software can be used to make instructional videos.
Additional Online Resources
The U.S. Department of Education is another resource with suggestions for enhancing digital learning curricula. Online resources like CK-12 are also part of the public domain, which means they are free for any educator to use.
An M.Ed. in Applied Digital Learning online from Lamar University is well-suited to educators involved in incorporating digital learning at their schools. This project-based degree program is also suitable for corporate trainers and other professionals tasked with developing the digital strategy for their organizations. Affordable tuition, a flexible academic calendar, and a curriculum that can be completed in as few as 12 months make the fully online M.Ed. program a practical option for working professionals.