Technology is a mighty tool that deepens the learning process, and makes it more interactive and flexible. That’s why the electronic resources are in the spotlight of modern education. Teachers are using the new digital media to encourage student participation. Useful digital tools don’t replace the traditional teaching methods, they complement and enhance them. Know that it’s never too late to catch up and improve your teaching knowledge and skills.
All those gadgets
Students are using computers and gadgets in numerous ways, including the educational purposes. They are computer-literate and eager to explore via internet. They like to learn at their own pace and have a flexible schedule. A teacher should take advantage of these facts, and avoid falling behind on new educational standards and practices. You might have to invest some time to get familiar with these, but it will pay off in more than one way. Don’t be discouraged if your computer skills are limited. This could be the perfect opportunity to take them to the next level. First thing to check though is whether you have the right equipment to utilize all the digital tools out there.
At your disposal
Many teachers have decided to create a course web page, and email and discussion groups. Students can exchange information and discuss topics between themselves there, while you can give them instant feedback and guidance. Hence, with the help of online resources, educators can motivate learners like never before.
Introduce some new activities and exciting challenges for your students. The internet enables you to do a thorough research and make lectures more interesting and original. Use presentation software to augment the lectures with audio, images, tables and video files.
There are also many web-based reading sources to check out. They should be at the student’s disposal at all times, which was unimaginable or unpractical a decade ago. It’s best to combine electronic and traditional resources in a “blended learning” model. You can always digitize the essential material and upload it on the web.
Just make sure you evaluate the quality of online sources in person. Editorial and quality standards on the internet are fluid at best. Your students should also be aware of this, so that they don’t take anything for granted. But, if the origin of the resource is a prime institution like Stanford than you shouldn’t worry.
Established libraries and archives are a safe bet as well. Take a look also if libraries in your area or are offering digital resources. It’s worth checking digital object repositories such as Jorum or MERLOT. Always try to confirm the author and seek for reviews, if any. Production and pedagogical values, format and copyright issues are also of the utmost importance.
The digital revolution is happening all around us, whether we like it or not. The fact that students are immersed in this process should speak enough in favor of implementing e-learning solutions. Explore new teaching techniques that are available in the digital age. Stay vigilant though, since anyone can make a website today. Be a critical consumer and teach your students to be the same.