Voki Part 1
Voki (2016). Digital World Part 1. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/zjr6d53
The Digital World is the world in which we use technology and over the past 20 years there has been rapid changes in the way we communicate with others and access information through the use of digital technology (Starkey, 2012 p. 15). Digital technology has the versatility to be utilised across social, personal, professional and an educational setting to simplify our lifestyle. Participants from a digital native or digital immigrant background are engaging in the innovations of the internet, computers, iPads and mobile phones which empower them to source information instantly and connect with anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time (Howell, 2014).
Voki Part 2
Voki (2016). Digital World Part 2. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/hxkynyt
Email, Skype and Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have contributed to breaking the barriers of isolation for many as these sites allow individuals to be part of a wider community and enables them to stay in constant contact with loved ones and friends by posting pictures, videos and messages (Broadbent, 2009). Through the digital world the future of how students are educated is altering to accommodate the digital native student and, schools and educators will have to take advantage of the convenience of digital technology by incorporating interactive whiteboards and educational apps, like Reading Eggs and Mathletics into lessons (Prensky, 2001 p. 6). Additionally, teachers are obtaining resources from educational websites and curating information through digital platforms like Pinterest and Scoop it to assist in digital pedagogy (Howell, 2012, p. 5).
(Richter, F. 2016)
Voki Part 3
Voki (2016). Digital World Part 3. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/hxxr2dw
Education is no longer restricted to the formal years of schooling, with the digital world encouraging lifelong learning through independent, self-directed learning and permitting further formal education through online university courses (Howell, 2012 p.13). This is providing the opportunity for future generations to enter the workforce digitally proficient and ready to function in an environment that relies on technology through computers to manage databases, sales and marketing (Howell, 2012, p. 6).
Since the introduction of the internet and digital devices, we have seen three factors that contribute to the digital divide between who does and does not have access to the digital world (Bentley, 2014). These factors are affordability, accessibility and the participant’s comprehension of technology. All of which present themselves in developing and developed countries, cities and rural towns (Tarman, 2003). In the digital age, it is assumed that the affordability and accessibility of the internet and digital devices only applies to developed countries. Yet, statistic’s state only 62% Australians have access to the internet due to low-income households not being unable to afford expensive broadband and rural towns not having an available connection to the network (Howell, 2012 p. 56).
“In 2011, 80% of all Australians accessed the Internet regularly, but just 6% of residents in some remote Aboriginal communities even had a computer.” (Creativespirits.info)
This statistic is changing due to the advance of mobile technology which is reducing the digital divide through the affordability of cheap mobile devices and access to the internet in rural areas via satellite technology. Making mobile technology the fastest growing choice for connecting to the digital world (Mbero & Asare, 2013).
“Digital technology has a large role to play in overcoming Indigenous social disadvantage. With access to technology fundamental issues in communities can be solved. Everyone needs to have access to information.” (Dukes, 2015)
Similar changes are occurring to the global digital divide, with developing countries also gaining access to the internet through satellite technology and non-profit organisations are supporting the movement to give children the opportunity to obtain laptops (Mbero & Asare, 2013). However, the lack of electricity supply to many areas in developing countries does not accommodate regular powered laptops. A solution to this problem has been established by the philanthropist Nicholas Negroponte, who is providing children in schools with low-cost laptops that charge by using a hand crank attached to the laptop (TEDTalks, 2007).
The digital divide between participant’s comprehension of technology can be difficult to address as like any subject, not everyone’s level of understanding or interest is the same (Howell, 2012). As a mutual place of learning, schools are playing a key role to help reduce the digital divide and increasing digital fluency with the introduction of technology into the Australian Curriculum and access to digital devices in classrooms (Howell, 2012).
The 21st century has seen technology change the way we access information and interact with others and there is an expectation from employers and parents for students to enter the workforce digitally fluent (White, 2013). Digital fluency does not mean having the ability to be proficient in the complexities of coding, but refers to the ability to use technology in a confident and effective manner within our personal digital world (Howell, 2012). Digital fluency is comprised of two characteristics; skills and experiences. The skills component is the comprehension of how to use digital technologies like a computer or a digital camera and experiences permit the ability to identify the capability of technologies like Word or PowerPoint to create and, enhance writing and literacy skills (Howell, 2012, p 115). Although the current generation is deemed to be digital natives there appears to be a gap between the competency found in personal and social digital fluency and the limited digital fluency within an educational setting (Howell, 2012).
ACARA, has acknowledged the need to include technology into Australian schools to increase digital fluency and since 2014 technology has been included in the curriculum framework (ACARA, 2016).
“Although traditional skills remain important in the framework, a range of new skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration are asserted as important in the digital age.” (ACEReSearch, 2013)
The digital immigrant teacher is now upskilling their digital pedagogy to provide digital fluency opportunities in the classroom by modelling how devices and programs work and more importantly allowing students to develop their digital fluency through the experience of constructivism (Howell, 2012 p. 22).Permitting independent learning from trial and error and learning from peers are valuable lessons that lead to a better understanding of a tools ability. These practices empower students to become true digital natives and encourage lifelong learning in the digital world (Howell, 2012 p. 13).
Tips for promoting digital fluency in the classroom:
- Provide digital technology in the classroom
- Allow students to observe how digital devices, apps and programs work
- Allow students time to explore digital technology through trial and error
The impact of the digital revolution has seen digital technology included into the Australian Curriculum and educators are now evolving teaching practices and upskilling their digital pedagogy to include digital technology into classrooms to cater for digital native students (Howell, 2012). With the assistance of whiteboards, iPads and computers, teachers are able to deliver and adapt lessons to suit different learning styles and increase student’s digital fluency through convenient access to educational apps and websites through the ability digital convergence (Johnson, n.d.).
Incorporating technology into schools can be challenging due to lack of funding, inadequate training for digital immigrant teachers and technical issues that can hinder lessons based around technology (Green, n.d.). Another issue to contented with is reducing the digital divide that exists from low-income households, restricted internet access and varied levels of participant’s digital comprehension (Howell, 2012). As a mutual place of learning, schools offer students the opportunity to equal access to digital technology in the classroom. However, for this to succeed teachers need to receive regular digital training and reliable technical support. Educators also need to take personal responsibility to enhance digital pedagogy to assist with identifying and modifying digital activities to promote positive digital learning (Green, n.d.).
Developing my WordPress blog with the use of a computer has shown me a creative alternative to displaying my work and has highlighted how digital technology can be versatile by incorporating the cyber platform Voki to demonstrate an audio summation and Prezi to create a visual story of my comprehension of the digital divide (Howell, 2012, p. 90). I also discovered the importance of independent, student-led learning which, with initial scaffolding from tutors encouraged my problem solving, higher order thinking, inquiry learning and collaborative learning skills (Howell, 2012 p 173). Engaging and exploring cyber platforms through trial and error has helped me to develop my digital fluency to be able to confidently apply digital tools into a classroom setting and the curation tools Pinterest and Scoop it enhanced my critical thinking and analysis skills to permit me to manage and organise ideas to assist with lesson planning (Flintoff, Mellow & Clark, 2014).