Digital Pedagogies and its use in education and schools
Within two decades, the Internet has democratised access to information in many parts of the world. This global network of networks currentlyconnects more than two billion users worldwide (World Internet Stats, 2011), driving significant changes in the way we socialise, work, learn, and, indeed, live.
One aspect of lifestyle that has significantly evolved with technology is learning. Teacher-to-student and peer-to-peercommunication and learning are increasingly supported by digital technologies; in particular, social media technologieshave ushered in the age of connectivist learning, introducing a completely new set of principles of learning and learning design centred on collective sharing of tools and information.
‘Too young’ for technology?
Even proponents of online education are undecided about whether there is a ‘right age’ at which to introduce children to technology. That question is easily answered if you look around the bus or train the next time you commute to work. See that two-year-old handling her mother’s iPhone with the dexterity of a master gamer? In terms of motor skills capability, children can be introduced to the computer as early as decidedbythe parent.
The now famous ‘Hole in the Wall’ experiment conducted in 1999 by Dr Sugata Mitra showed thatchildren naturally possessthe motor skills required to operate a mouse, keypad, buttons and other features of a technological device. For the experiment, Mitra’s team installed freely assessable computers across several slums in India and observed how, even with no prior exposure or experience to computers, slum childrenwere able to learn to use the computers on their own by naturally and gradually developing the dexterity for the device.The findings from the experiment strongly suggests that children are able to learn to operate as well as play with computers by themselves, through picking up skills and knowledge as they construct and adapt to their learning environment. Motivated by innate curiosity and social learning, they seek and internalise new knowledge effectively, possibly even more so without adult supervision, which may restrict their freedom and imagination.
Engaging our children constructively through digital pedagogies
What if teachers could capitalise on children’s interest in computers and social media technologies to help young learners connect with curriculum? What if we could educate our children in ways so that they would always want to write, design, explore and play games for learning no matter where they are, simply because they found the learning fun, even for instructive subjects like–yes!–Mathematics?
That is exactly what the Postgraduate Certificate in Education-Digital Pedagogieshopes to achieve. Thisprofessional development programme, whichhas been developed by Asian International College,focuses on the application of ICTs for pedagogical transformation, and represents engaging, state-of-the-art training in technology-mediated education. The program covers four critical aspects of ICT-based/supported educational practice, which are: Games & Augmented Reality in Education, Social Media for Education, Digital Discipline Learning, and Technology Mediated Assessment. The programmedelivers expertise in digital pedagogy, which is fast becoming one of the essential qualifications for educational professionals as a result of therapid increase in the population of ‘digital natives’ at schools of all levels worldwide.
Technology is now absolutely pervasive in our lives, and constitutes an essential part of twenty-first-century living. As parents and educators, we must learn to recognise both the opportunities and challenges that it presents. The sooner we embrace technology as a tool to guide and encourage creative thinking, the better.
With a forward looking approach towards the gaining importance of ICT in education and for capacity building of teachers in basic pedagogy and ICT, Taaleem College of International Studies (TCIS), Mohali in collaboration with Asian International College (AIC), Singapore is offering a Post Graduate Certificate in Digital Pedagogy (PCEDP); a professional development program that focuses on the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for pedagogical transformation. Taking full advantage of available emergent information and communications technologies, the PCEDP represents engaging, state-of-the-art training in technology-mediated education. It will encourage innovation in both teaching strategies and curriculum design among professional educators in right through K-12 system to professional education including tertiary and vocational education. To know more about this programme, one can visit www.taaleem.edu.in/course.html
Cindy Wee is Research Analyst/Editor at Curriculum Innovation and Research Centre at Knowledge Universe, Singapore. She has previously worked in the areas of student services, internal communication and journalism and is currently working on the PGCertifiacte of Education-Digital Pedagogies programme with Asian International College, Singapore