Sunday, 21 August 2016

Learner Needs in a Digital Teaching Environment

Learners entering the education environment need to be able to develop the skills and knowledge to prepare for employment later in life. By today’s standards, learners are entering education to prepare for future employment for jobs that do not yet exist.  Education and employment needs are changing as the world evolves technologically.  As teachers, we need to provide this knowledge to all our learners (including ourselves).

From: What Every Teach Needs to Know About Digital Literacy 
Digital literacy is key to teaching in order to provide the skills, knowledge and understanding for young people to enter the workplace, further education and higher education. Increasingly, digital literacy is becoming the primary form of information transfer and communication, taking over from letters, phone calls and even face-to-face interaction. Business transactions without face-to-face contact would have been rare twenty years ago - in twenty years from now, perhaps the reverse will be the case. 

Learners need to be taught now which tools are effective and how to use them responsibly. Creative, collaborative and recordable communications techniques are essential for the next generation to interact in social, cultural, economic and intellectual careers and life. 

Digital literacy involves using emerging technologies to communicate meaningfully across technology, language, social, cultural and intellectual barriers. Educators need to teach concepts and techniques to allow learners to work with any digital device, and adapt to new technology quickly using the skills and concepts they have been taught. A variety of devices, platforms and web standards need to be incorporated into the educational experience to ensure learners are fully literate in digital technology; not simply familiar with it.

The way in which people work is changing with technology being a large part of the change. Research (Jisc) indicates that flexibility is a major characteristic of the way people now work and that
technology is changing job roles and has influenced the way we communicate and work. ( - Judy O’Connell)
  •        How are we responding to the changing digital needs and expectations of our learners?
  •     Do the experiences and the digital environment we offer to our learners adequately prepare them to flourish in a society that relies heavily on digital technologies?
  •     What are we doing to engage learners in dialogue about digital issues and to work
    collaboratively with them to enhance their digital learning experience?
Do you agree that teachers must be skilled in digital literacy?
How can you embed digital literacy into your subject area?
How confident are you with your digital skills? 
Do you have time to develop your own skills?


  1. Hi, Melinda. Nice commentary! I like your four questions, and it would be good to see people 'thinking out loud' on this one. My own answers are 1. Yes. 3. Insufficiently 4. No. Q2 is obviously more complex, and I will think a bit longer about that one. I personally think the answers to all of these questions can lead to more focus on efficiency. Whatever you do needs to not take a too much time in the long run, so as not to detract from other learning objectives. This applies to both learners and teachers.
    By the way, The 'The evolution of FELTAG: a glimpse at effective practice in UK further education and skills' by Paul McKean and Sarah Knight describes some examples where staff in colleges have adopted effective practice, without necessarily destroying their work-life balance:

    1. Thank you so much, Paul. I appreciate your contribution and feedback. I will be delivering the digital literacy qualification soon - so it is great to get some additional insight.
      I will check out the article you mentioned. Cheers for that. Thank you once again! MG


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