The essential role of trainers and teachers

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Using ICT to better engage students, create, disseminate, store and/or manage information is already being done in many schools, universities and other education institutions. However, digital pedagogy remains unevenly distributed across Europe as schools are unevenly equipped and teachers unevenly trained and comfortable to implement it.

In some contexts, ICT has become integral to the teaching-learning interaction, through such approaches as replacing chalkboards with interactive digital whiteboards, using students’ own smartphones or other devices for learning during class time, and the “flipped classroom” model where students watch lectures at home on the computer and use classroom time for more interactive exercises.  In other situations, the electronic elements introduced in class are less advanced (power point presentations etc.) and/or remains exceptional. 

Digital pedagogy is not a magical solution with which all trainers would systematically achieve their learning objectives and all students succeed. Conversely, it is not only a fashionable trend of our modern world either. Using technologies may positively impact and enhance learning experiences if and when teachers are digitally literate and understand how to integrate it into their classroom. In order for technology to be efficient, there needs to be a purpose to it.

Hence, digital pedagogues (educators) should constantly be asking themselves the following questions while considering using technological tools:

  • What tools are available for me and my students to play with?
  • How can improvisation occur online to reinforce learning?
  • Does digital learning end when the course ends, or is it sustained perpetually by the online learning environment (aka, the Internet)?
  • Who are my students, and where can they be found? What are my students’ URLs? What is mine?
  • Do disciplines matter online? Do canons exist? What is the point of rote memorization when everything is available online all the time?
  • Where is my authority now that all authority is a Google search away?
  • What happens when learning is removed from the classroom and exposed to the entirety of the digital landscape?

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