Wednesday, September 5, 2012

8 Myths About Digital Learning

Myth #1: Students and teachers can find everything they need online
Myth #2: Digital learning is non-linear
Myth #3: The digital classroom is a playground
Myth #4: Digital learning is interactive
Myth #5: Digital learning is collaborative
Myth #6: Digital learning is creative
Myth #7: Digital learning develops problem-solving
Myth #8: The role of the teacher in a digital classroom is new and different

Each of these statements is a talking point or selling point for the expansion of digital tools in the classroom, especially 1:1 tools.  Each is also a facile generalization about digital learning - a modern myth based upon shallowly considered jargon.

Laptops, iPads and other devices are being purchased by districts having no idea what to do with them beyond the promises of these myths.  It's time for educators to take a deeper look at this jargon.  How, exactly, does each intersect with learning?

My points do not, of course, invalidate the concept of digital learning, a concept to which I have devoted the last 20 years of my career in education.  My purpose is simply to remind educators to proceed with purpose.  By questioning the validity of each of these statements as part of the on-going self-assessment of teaching strategies, teachers can improve their use of 1:1 digital tools. School leadership can (and should) extend and improve critical professional development around these ideas.

Myths are often founded in truth, and each of these statements is true of the best online learning experiences. Teachers should strive to create and find those "best of" experiences.

This leads directly to the discussion of Myth #1.  For the sake of simplicity, my discussion will focus on the iPad and internet tools, but the points apply to all tools that create a 1:1 learning environment matching one student with one digital tool. 

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