~Week 4: Digital Media~

Digital Media- New Learners of the 21st Century from Upper St. Clair School District on Vimeo.

[The full video is on Vimeo]

     “Teaching in the Internet age means we must teach tomorrow’s skills today.”                                                                                                                                                  – Jennifer Fleming

     For me, the most impressive thing about this documentary is the task-based learning lead by technology. Success in 21st century requires problem-solving skills more than content knowledge from the textbook. Compared with students taught in traditional education, students in digital age should not only learn the facts, but also learn how to apply facts into the real world innovatively with the use of technology. They are learning not just to become competent for the existing jobs, but become able to produce new opportunities and new ideas. As mentioned in the video, “we should understand that sometimes we don’t have answers”. It is these students that will give answers to questions they raised. What teachers can do is to develop their “deep passion” to identify questions and find a solution.

     In order to achieve this goal, teachers in this program attach the importance to two essential elements in curriculum design. One is students’ interest and the other one is the power of play. These are almost nowhere to be found in traditional learning and teaching. Every student has his/her own interest, which can be developed into his/her motivation to learn. That’s why some of them are really passionate about what they are doing and what they can do in the future. Moreover, they are learning with games and digital media. Therefore, they are learning without knowing how much they have learned already. Conscious rote learning in traditional instruction becomes unconscious internalization and competence.

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     Digital media also provides various tools for students to present their works. Teachers now are aware that students simply have different styles in learning and they have the right to choose the presentation tools that work best for their project. They have the same learning goal but different ways to achieve it. Students’ level of engagement is increased when they have the right choice as well.

      Overall,  learning and teaching can benefit a lot from the integration of digital media into educational technology. Here are some opinions from another blogger discussing what can educational technology learn from social media in order to achieve better instruction.

        –> What Can Educational Technology Learn from Social Media?

      So far I don’t know for sure what kind of environment I will be teaching in the future, but one example in this documentary inspires me a lot. The teacher changed students’ impression of museum from a boring place to an interesting adventure through the integration of digital media and technology. Learning inside the classroom matters, so is learning outside the classroom. Online resource matters, so is tangible resource in the real world. The connection between these two can bring new spark in task-based learning as we can see in the video. Students, then, take an active role in their experience during the task. They are learning as well as having fun.

       One thing that I know about my future teaching is that I probably will be teaching language. For Chinese students, many of them are hesitating when it comes to writing or oral practice, especially when topics are basically limited to classroom settings and serious topics in the society. It is thereby hard to raise their interest. However, they are active in social media expressing their ideas and opinions in Chinese towards certain international events or famous celebrities. Then why don’t I encourage them to use certain social media where they can find similar attractive topics but express their opinions and ideas in English! There are a large amount of topics on the platform that they can feel free to discuss. Even though it can not help students with their writing skills much, their interest and habit of writing something in the target language on a daily basis are good for their learning.

      Here is another video I found about DML that introduces a precise idea of digital learning and connected learning.

 

     There is no doubt that learning with digital media is a fantastic idea. However, there might be problems if we lose the proper balance. Digital media is just one choice among many tools that teachers and schools can use. Students are expected to make contribution to this world by making good use of technology and digital media rather than totally rely their lives on technology after their schooling. Here is a video about trust when using digital media in learning. From this video, we can know that people do have concerns with using digital media, which may eventually handicap their active use of technology if the questions can not be answered appropriately.

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