5 essential digital learning reads

Key points:

  • Digital learning is a key part of students’ school experiences
  • As technology evolves, so, too, do students’ learning opportunities
  • See related article: Is AI the future of education?
  • For more news on edtech trends, visit eSN’s Digital Learning page

Digital learning is a critical component of what happens in today’s classrooms. Edtech tools, connected learning experiences, and 21st-century skills all play a role in preparing students for the future.

But digital learning trends and technologies change so quickly that sometimes, it’s difficult to know where to focus or where to invest funding, time, and resources.

Here are 5 must-read stories about digital learning trends and developments to help your school leadership team determine which digital learning resources and edtech tools can best benefit students:

1. Digital learning requires digital research skills: Right now is the perfect time to start a research project with your students, as it will help them develop skills they will use for the rest of their lives. While your students, who have grown up in the Information Age and think they already know everything, any classroom teacher knows that our students need help more than they think. Our students’ belief that everything they need to know is online can, without the right skillset, leave them prey to misinformation. Let’s teach our students to steer through the online ocean of data to be both effective researchers and responsible digital citizens.

2. Digital escape rooms merge creativity with student engagement and skill development: Escape rooms are engaging for people of all ages–they require durable skills such as creativity, critical thinking, determination, and the ability to work in groups to solve challenges. It makes sense that educators would craft their lessons around the concept of an escape room–and that’s just what high school educator Lynn Thomas has done. In this Q&A with eSchool News, Thomas details how she found inspiration to create escape room learning opportunities and the benefits she sees for her students–and she offers a look at a new ChatGPT challenge she’s created.

3. Esports can engage even the youngest of students, and these programs help students develop critical skills no matter what paths they pursue: Scholastic esports is rapidly growing, and many schools are starting to incorporate esports programs into their curriculum. The benefits of esports make a compelling case for creating a program: Research shows that students who participate in scholastic esports experience social and emotional benefits, increased academic achievement, and higher graduation rates. These positive learning outcomes make esports popular in secondary grades, with both students and educators advocating for the addition and growth of scholastic esports in their middle and high schools. But esports isn’t just for the older kids, and starting an esports program in early elementary school can be an effective way to lay the groundwork for esports participation as students make their way into higher grade levels.

4. In an AI-driven world, how can students maintain their own voices? Now, more than ever, students’ future success in an ever-changing world requires that they learn how to think critically and creatively while collaborating with others to solve complex problems. But the unwritten curriculum of most schools—instilling process perfectionism through rewarding flawless performance—is probably doing more harm than good. Against this backdrop, there’s a lurking concern that AI is just going to help students find mindless shortcuts for cheating their way to good grades. But that’s only a risk if schools and teachers hold a low bar for what they expect of their students.

5. Effective digital learning means educators must know how to leverage digital tools correctly: When properly integrated, AI can amplify the work of teachers, shrink equity and accessibility gaps, and provide unrestricted access to information. But for technology to make a meaningful change in K-12 education, we need to address the true source of the problem: broken instructional models. Even though countless technology tools have been introduced into the market, classroom practice looks eerily similar to how it did a hundred years ago. That’s because educators are still equipped with an antiquated model of teaching that isn’t designed to be responsive to students’ learning styles. By leveraging AI and technology to rethink traditional teaching methodologies, we can level-set our classrooms to more effectively empower educators and personalize student learning.

Laura Ascione
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