Some digital citizenship challenges for schools

Accessibility

The issue of digital accessibility arises when considering learning beyond the formal school day. Survey data has shown that nine in 10 young people (5 to 14 years) have internet access in their home. Those without a home connection are accessing the internet at school, the local library, at a friend’s house or via a mobile device data plan. Use of a computer to go online is still high, with mobile phones (usually smartphones) as the next device, followed by tablets (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2013, Raco 2014).

Student owned mobile devices and/or school assigned mobile devices support their learning across multiple internet-connected environments. Students use technology for an extensive range of school work, e.g. accessing online information and database services, using the school portal, taking online quizzes/questionnaires, creating presentations, interacting with teachers and peers, viewing teacher created videos and learning resources, participating in class blogs/discussions.

Pedagogical framework

A second challenge focuses on the need to identify and establish a pedagogical framework that will support the development of future work/enterprise skills. Blended learning models have the potential to yield positive results for students. A hybrid learning approach is supported, whereby students are involved in both supervised learning in the classroom and accessing self-paced learning (student controlled) that is usually online. This model changes the way technology is employed in the classroom. Because access to digital tools and resources can happen in and out of the classroom, students can engage in different learning activities throughout their day. There is a blend of teacher-facilitated, (e.g. online quizzes, teacher created resources), and student self-directed, (e.g. interaction with peers and teacher, commenting and contributing online), use of technology.

The student voice on the benefits of blended learning adds depth to the deliberations for adopting this approach to learning.

Benefits of digital learning (Views of middle school students)
I am able to learn at my own pace (64%)
I am developing creativity skills (63%)
I collaborate more with my classmates (61%)
I have more control over my learning (58%)
I gain a better understanding of the class materials (56%)
I am developing critical thinking and problem solving skills (54%)
I am learning in a way that better fits my learning style (53%)
I spend more time mastering a skill or learning something (51%)
(SpeakUp 2015)

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