Digital Learning is a relatively new concept, brought on by the rapid advancement of tools and software that have become part of our everyday lives at work and at home. It uses technology in all of its various forms to help students (as well as teachers and other learners):

  • create,
  • communicate,
  • connect, and
  • collaborate.

Digital Learning changes the dynamics of today’s classrooms. Students are part of the digital generation. They use cell phones and social networking sites to stay constantly connected. They navigate the internet easily – usually more easily than their parents or other adults. In many cases, students are the teachers when it comes to Digital Learning.

Prairie South is a recognized leader in incorporating technology into the classroom. Teachers and students use a variety of instruments and online applications to enhance learning in and out of the classroom.

ISTE is the International Society for Technology in Education. One of its main roles is to provide standards for schools to follow. It offers student, teacher and administrator standards. Prairie South will be using these as a guide for teachers, students and administrators to follow as they continue to embed technology and into the classrooms. ISTE has also been developing a wiki that offers more ideas on what the implementation of these standards look like.

Here are the main ideas included in the student standards released in 2007:

1. Creativity and Innovation
Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.

2. Communication and Collaboration
Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.

3. Research and Information Fluency
Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.

4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.

5. Digital Citizenship
Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

6. Technology Operations and Concepts
Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.

Read/Write Web
  • Blogs
  • Wikis
  • Podcasts
  • RSS
  • Social bookmarking
Digital Storytelling
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Images
  • Search and find skills
  • Media awareness
  • Understanding and creating information in a variety of contexts
Safety and Privacy
  • Living safely in a digital world
  • Protecting privacy and information
  • Developing social skills specific to digital living

“Properly used, technology will help students acquire the skills they need to survive in a complex, highly technological knowledge-based economy”
– The George Lucas Education Foundation

Read/Write Web: Sometimes referred to as Web 2.0, the Read/Write Web refers to changes in the ways the Web is used that emphasize online collaboration, creation and sharing among users. While the first iteration of the Web was typically presented to users to read and view, the Read/Write Web allows for a two-way flow of information, and encourages and allows users to get involved in posting and creating content.

Digital Stories: Digital Stories use computer-based, or new media, tools to tell stories. These stories can contain a mixture of images, text, graphics, recorded narration, video clips and music.

Blog: From the shortened form of Web log, blogs are user-generated, online personal journals. ‘Bloggers’ – blog writers – can post thoughts, ideas, reflections and commentaries, along with links to related information. Typically, blogs also provide a comment section for readers to respond to information presented on the blog.

Wiki: A wiki is a web site that allows visitors to add, remove and otherwise edit and change content, typically without the need for registration. It also permits linking among any number of pages. The ease of interaction and operation makes wikis an effective tool for mass collaborative authoring.

Podcast: Podcasts are media files – either audio or video – distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers. They are different from most other digital media formats in that once subscribed to, new content is downloaded automatically as soon as it is added. Like so many other digital-age words, podcast is a blending of the terms ‘iPod’ – the original media player for which they were developed – and ‘broadcast’.

Social Bookmarking: Social bookmarking allows users to store, classify, share and search links to relevant web sites. Rather than (or in addition to) adding bookmarks on their own computer, users store the links on a social bookmarking site, classifying them through the use of tags.

RSS: RSS is a format for delivering regularly changing web content to users who have self-subscribed. Rather than having to visit the originating web site to check for updates, RSS allows content to be pushed outward to subscribers as soon as it is posted, making it a useful tool for news-related sites, blogs and other online publishers. RSS stands for Rich Site Summary; alternatively, many use it to mean Really Simple Syndication.

Digital Divide
: The Digital Divide describes the gap between those with regular, effective access to digital and information technology, and those with very limited or no access. The concept includes physical access to the tools, as well as the resources and skills necessary to effectively use such technology.

Folksonomy: A user-generated classification that uses tags to categorize and retrieve web pages, photographs, links and other web content. Used in conjunction with social bookmarking, folksonomies make information increasingly easy to search and navigate over time.

Tags: A relevant keyword or term associated with or assigned by a user to a piece of information (like a picture, article or video clip), that describes the item and enables keyword-based classification and searching.

By Will Richardson

  1. We need to unlearn the idea that we are the sole content experts in the classroom, because we can now connect our kids to people who know far more than we do about the material we’re teaching.
  2. We need to unlearn the premise that we know more than our kids, because in many cases, they can now be our teachers as well.
  3. We need to unlearn the idea that learning itself is an event. In this day and age, it is a continual process.
  4. We need to unlearn the strategy that collaborative work inside the classroom is enough and understand that cooperating with students from around the globe can teach relevant and powerful negotiation and team-building skills.
  5. We need to unlearn the idea that every student needs to learn the same content when really what they need to learn is how to self-direct their own learning.
  6. We need to unlearn the notion that our students don’t need to see and understand how we ourselves learn.
  7. We need to unlearn our fear of putting ourselves and our students “out there” for we’ve proven we can do it in safe, relevant and effective ways.
  8. We need to unlearn the practice that teaches all students at the same pace. Is it any wonder why so many of our students love to play online games where they move forward at their own pace?
  9. We need to unlearn the idea that we can teach our students to be literate in this world by continually blocking and filtering access to the sites and experiences they need our help to navigate.
  10. We need to unlearn the premise that real change can happen just by rethinking what happens inside the school walls and understand that education is now a community undertaking on many different levels.



-teachers recognize the power and need for social learning -students create personal learning networks that support their learning goals
-teacher leads students to resources and develops skills to become creators of knowledge -students experience a culture of publishing and presenting their learning
-authority of information is constantly challenged
-information must be examined for credibility
-students understand how to determine the authority and credibility of information
-teacher incorporates all six strands of communication into all classes -students are able to choose and develop communication skills that best suit the situation
-teachers see themselves as learners first -students can describe how their teacher learns
-teachers look for opportunities to explore appropriate social behaviour and connect this to both offline and online environments -students demonstrate what it means to be a respectful, ethical digital citizen
-teacher provides students opportunity to teach -students see themselves as teachers as well as learners
-teachers provide opportunity to learn beyond the time and constraints of the physical classroom -students access learning anytime, anywhere, with anyone

Last Updated: July 21, 2015 at 11:41 am