Topic: Digital Technologies to Engage and Connect Learners
How many of our students are digital natives*? Anyone born after 1980 was born into the digital age and in Australia there are over 15 million smartphones and 11 million tablets#. While it is sometimes hard to keep up with the exponential progress of digital technologies, as educators, we can reap great benefit from the engagement, flexibility and access that these technologies offer. In the 21st century one is not fully literate unless she or he is also digitally literate. A modern educator can harness technology in the classroom to start a two-way conversation between educator and learner, work remotely, get real time input and feedback and make the learning environment more welcoming to many students. In the bring-your-own-device age, the possibilities are even broader. Notwithstanding the benefits, the drawbacks such as the digital divide and cyber safety must also be explored in the construction of our programs. Getting on board this fast moving train is a challenge for many, but there are numerous simple ways to use technology not as only as a tool, but also as a vehicle for different ways of thinking and exploring.
Helene Markmann has worked in the pre- and post-compulsory education sectors for many years as an educator, manager, trainer and consultant. She has taught in the education faculties at Edith Cowan and Curtin Universities and currently lectures in ESL and General Education at TAFE. Her areas of specialisation are ESL, digital technologies in education and literacy.
Helene presented at the NMTAFE Symposium Bringing People into the Workforce in 2016.
*Marc Prensky, 2001
# Yuan Wang, 2016 Australian mobile statistics: how digital is increasingly a mobile-first experience retrieved from https://yump.com.au/2016-australian-mobile-statistics-how-digital-is-increasingly-a-mobile-first-experience/