The New Digital Learning Playbook

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Speak Up is a national initiative of Project Tomorrow. The Speak Up National Research Project annually surveys K-12 students, parents, educators, and administration about the role of technology for learning in and out of school. Speak Up’s 2013 National Findings provides some very interesting information about the ways students are using technology.

The article states that the mobile device is “the new gateway to self-initiated technology use for schoolwork.” 64% of parents said they would purchase a mobile device for their child to use at school if it was allowed. Students are saying that it’s an obstacle to school technology use when school’s do not allow students to bring their own devices. Students were asked about their aspirations and ideas for improving technology use at school. Their answers from Speak Up’s Findings are below.

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I question students’ intentions of wanting greater access to websites, using their own mobile devices, and recharging their mobile devices at school. I graduated from high school 4 years ago. I don’t think students’ mindsets have changed that much. I used my iPhone to text and check social media in class. I remember my access to websites was fine – we just couldn’t view YouTube or Facebook. I’m not sure I would have gotten much work done if I could have. My personal opinion is that kids are bored. I don’t think that the problem is so much about the use of technology. I think the content needs to be more relevant and interesting to students. Then, they won’t care if they’re using tech or not.

The article talks about “envisioning the ultimate school” and how one-size does not fit all. Students, parents, and educators do not share the same vision of the ultimate school. It’s important to take all views into account. Each school and student population is going to be different. It’s important for each school to hear the voice of its students and parents before making its technology game plan. I think it’s important to ask students why they want something available at school to make sure their intentions are good. In addition, educators really need to get to know their students on a personal, deep level so that learning can be made personalized, interesting, and relevant whether or not tech is involved.

When I’m a teacher, I will incorporate technology when appropriate. I think it would be a good idea to get to know my students and parents’ use of technology at the beginning of the year to see what types of tech they like to work with. Each year, I’m going to have to adjust how I incorporate tech in the classroom to fit the interests of my students. I want to make sure that using technology enhances learning in my classroom, and that I’m not just using it for tech’s sake.

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