21st-century digital technologies in work and education
Our lives are increasingly defined by a daily enmeshment with a range of digital technologies. These technologies are never static, always evolving, driving innovation and progress across a multitude of industries.
Education is no exception, as digital technologies are rapidly changing the way contemporary classrooms operate. Teaching professionals – in partnership with education experts and teacher-parent communities – have significant roles to play in order to better engage students, while harnessing the transformative potential of technology in the classroom.
With a growing focus on the creation of authentic learning experiences and the integration of classroom technology, there is an emerging need for school teachers and education leaders to be digitally-fluent and attuned to the needs of students, for whom becoming a competent digital citizen is vital for success later in life.
The technological education revolution
Education institutions and schools are in the midst of being re-imagined. This is especially true at tertiary level, where learning is migrating increasingly to dynamic online platforms, as traditional on-campus learning becomes blended with both synchronous and asynchronous virtual learning environments.
At all levels of education, from primary to tertiary, digital technologies are being adopted at a significant rate – hardware such as laptops and tablets have already become standard in the classroom, and virtual reality technology is seeing increased use and development within the education space. Teachers benefit too, saving time with intuitive data management software and tools that track student progress and engagement.
It is essential for teachers, educators and education experts to integrate technology in pedagogically sound and transformative ways.
The emphasis on more hands-on, technology-enhanced learning has impacted every facet of school life, with teaching as a central force. (Horizon K-12 report, p. 9).
There is an opportunity for teachers and education experts to upskill and better understand the nature of digital technologies, so as to develop effective ways to use these technologies to support learning outcomes.
Trends in the adoption of digital technology
Both the 2019 Horizon Report on higher education and the Horizon Report K-12 2017 identify numerous key trends that are accelerating technology adoption in education.
In the short term, as blended online learning becomes more commonplace, we can expect to see an emphasis on the redesign and re-imagining of hybrid learning spaces. This topic is investigated in-depth in the QUT Online unit Designing Learning Spaces.
There is also a growing focus on the measurement of learning in the mid-term, supported by algorithmic-based personalised learning systems and pathways. This makes it easier for teachers to identify when an individual student is struggling, and whether a learning intervention is appropriate.
With education data analytics becoming more prevalent, it is also possible for teachers to transcend the standardised testing and assessment that characterises traditional education. By doing so teachers are able to develop deeper understanding of individual students’ learning trajectories.
In the long term there will be a focus on advancing and participating in cultures of innovation. QUT Online’s Participating in Digital Cultures unit foregrounds this, highlighting the importance of digital engagement in work and life, and the need for teachers to actively prepare students for critical, creative and ethical participation in digital cultures.
Professional development and emerging education leaders
Teachers, of course, are on the front-line, tasked with helping students cultivate the ingenuity and creativity necessary to solve technology-based problems in innovative ways.
Just as there is a need to advance digital literacy among students, teachers must also engage in ongoing professional development, with support from schools. (Horizon K–12 Report, p. 9).
Tertiary educators, too, are in the middle finding ways to adapt their teaching practice, to be more in line with the widespread move to new forms and modes of delivery in the tertiary education space, as well as modularised and disaggregated degrees.
The most frequent discussion among panelists concerned faculty development and retraining faculty to adopt pedagogy for active learning classrooms (ALCs). (2019 Horizon Report, p. 11).
The other essential ingredient of embedding digital technology in the classroom is ensuring there are opportunities for teachers to upskill and gain the expertise they need to prepare students adequately for the future of work.
Contemporary and high-quality online postgraduate programs have an important role to play here, equipping teachers with foundational skills in digital technology, and the pedagogical theory that guides the use of this technology in the classroom.
Upskill with a Graduate Certificate in Education (Digital Learning and Leadership) today. Play a key role in the reimagining of learning spaces, both physical and virtual, and the successful implementation of digital technology in the classroom.