Designing Effective Digital Learning


Ideas to keep in mind when thinking about digital learning 

Every school has ambitious goals of creating effective, inclusive and welcoming spaces for their learners. We put thought into the design and layout of spaces, the furniture, the finishings and the learning content. But we must not forget that there needs to be intentionality given to the technology if we are to create future-focused learning environments for our young people. Let’s have a look at some ways that this can be achieved. 

Setting a Digital Vision – Your ‘What’, ‘Why’ and ‘How’ 

This is the first and most crucial step in planning for a digital future. An effective digital vision is the context and becomes the cornerstone on which everything is built. Decisions on and discussions around direction, resourcing, pedagogy, investment, infrastructure should all be based on what is in the vision. Questions like, “Is this going to help us reach our vision?” or “How does this help us achieve our vision?” are what should be framing and guiding conversations in this space. The vision is what everything comes back to. 

Make Courageous Decisions Around Infrastructure 

Even the most ambitious and well-meaning plans can fall apart if they’re not in lined with reality around infrastructure. Whilst it’s true that learning can, and does, happen without a device, having access to them sure does open opportunities that don’t otherwise exist. As we know, money (and tech, for that matter) doesn’t grow on trees – in reality, setting the foundation for effective digital learning practice takes time and stages of deployment. For instance, decisions have to be made on how these environments are going to look. Some questions to aske are: 

  • Which type(s) of devices are going to be used by learners?  
  • What ratio of school-owned vs family-owned devices will be there?  
  • Is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) an option for your school?  
  • Purchase vs lease options? What screen/TV/projector is going to be used in the class?  

There are many questions to be asked and many options to be looked at. As mentioned earlier, these questions become a lot more straightforward when viewed through the lens of the school’s digital vision. 

What is the Learning Going to Look Like? 

It’s all very well putting devices into classrooms and getting kids working on them, but there needs to be a plan and a ‘why’ behind designing and delivering effective digital learning. Many will be familiar with the SAMR model, one that challenges educators to look beyond merely substituting the exercise book or worksheet for a laptop or tablet, but instead encourages use of the device to redefine learning in ways that would be otherwise impossible with pen and paper. 

Learning websites and apps are ‘a dime a dozen’, but in order for us as educators to ensure that we’re not just giving our students ‘busy work’, there needs to be intentionality and a plan behind what learning is going to look like when it comes to going onto devices.  

Get the Right Professional Development 

This is where we can help! Our team at UTB are all previous educators with experience across the classroom, in positions in management and leadership oversight, we can help at all stages of these conversations – from an ambition to a vision, all the way through to sitting in front of the students and making it happen.  

Want to hear more? Get in touch with our team today! 

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