How Digital Tools Improve Teaching and Learning

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Digital tools are transforming essential elements of the education space. Understanding how they are impacting teaching and learning will help guide your consideration of which tools are useful and how to best implement them. 

  1. Increase collaboration: Just as social media has given rise to new definitions of community, digital tools are transforming community and the give-and-take between students and teachers. Platforms for web-based discussion threads and creation of course or class wikis alter the types of student involvements in project-based and writing-specific assignments. A piece of student writing can become a diverse and substantive document when it is the basis for a step-by-step exchange of ideas and questions between teacher, peers, authors, and mentors. When digital tools are integrated in a pedagogically sound fashion they also promote and enhance other essential skills sets such as communication, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, digital literacy, entrepreneurship, global awareness, and digital responsibility/citizenship.
  2.  Innovate assessment: As formats and contexts for assignments evolve, the methods of assessment has had to keep pace. The openness of the online environment and the integration of such things as game attributes, shape all kinds of assessment, esecially formative assessment, which measures learning progress (not only endpoints in learning). 
  3. Transform time-frames around learning: In many instances, digital tools offer an asynchronous environment for response and inquiry not present in brick-and mortar environments. Written and video discussions online can enable diverse views, opportunities for collaboration, and time to think and plan before responding in ways that in-class discussions do not provide.