What is a Digital World?


What is a Digital World?

We live in a world where we communicate extensively with people we have never met, we create digital artefacts which we can share with anyone who is connected to the internet and we are able to search and find information on almost any subject we wish to learn about. This is often referred to as the digital world. The way teachers address student participation in the digital world is important as it effects how they teach and how the students learn. In Australia, parents, students and other stake holders in education expect students to participate in the digital world for multiple reasons including to ensure life-long learning and to be digitally prepared for future technologies (Howell, 2014). For this to happen it is important to consider the effect a digital world has on teaching practices and how students learn.

With the dawn of the digital world the role of the teacher and way students learn has changed. Area Education Agency 267 (2012) explains how students collaborate online, focus on creation of digital artefacts, address real life problems and have become more self-directed. Students no longer view the teacher as a fountain of information. Howell agrees, learning will be more student-centered and with the help of technology “the classroom will no longer be limited to a physical space” (2014, p. 63).  Instead the teacher becomes an enabler and challenger who supports life-long learning rather than from the text learning. Firstly, teachers can empower student by providing them with the tools they need for learning (Area Education Agency 267, 2012). By encountering multiple tools the students’ digital fluency will be developed. Secondly, teachers become challengers by teaching students to be critical evaluators of information they encounter on the internet (Howell, 2014). By providing multiple current tools and teaching students to be critical evaluators the teacher is supporting the students’ life-long learning. Students need this support to become critical participants in the digital world which will continue to be a part of their world through their lives in future studies, occupations and social life.

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Area Education Agency 267 [AEA267Iowa]. (2012, December 17). Education in a digital world [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfA2Th1HlEE<

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). (2012, May 7). 21st Century education [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA1Aqp0sPQo

Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Kneale, J. (2015). What is a digital world? [Image]. Retrieved from https://tagul.com/show/zjf7l3iwvks6/What%20is%20a%20digital%20world

Digital Fluency

Digital fluency is using technology and manipulating technological knowledge and skills to use unknown technology comfortably. Howell (2014) describes digital fluency as an ongoing process, as students are continuously engaging with new technologies. This can also be referred to as lifelong learning. A part of a teacher’s role is to develop digital fluency in students so they are critical evaluators and active digital participants who can make technologies work for their purpose. The Australian Curriculum describes this as developing students’ ability to manage and operate ICT (Information and Communication Technology) to meet their learning needs (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), 2015). Therefore, it is a teacher’s responsibility to engage students in many different technologies for many different purposes so they become digitally fluent for lifelong learning.

To support students in becoming digitally fluent teachers must take a multifaceted approach which allow students to think creatively and critically as they explore technology. Howell (2014) describes two aspects of effective learning of technology which support digital fluency as Creative activity and Purposeful activity. Creative activity involves authentic learning tasks which allow students to use their experience to build on prior knowledge and learn new skills. Students become “digital content creators” who not only use technology to seek information and entertainment but they contribute for a purpose (Howell, 2015, p 136). However, it is important to consider the true outcome being assessed. While it is in the curriculum for students to use, develop and learn new skills with technology it is priority they learn to communicate and critically evaluate information using technology.

Purposeful activity is interlocked with students becoming content creators and communicating beyond the classroom. Through engagement with multiple technologies students can learn to use technology for their individual purpose. Howell (2014) states Purposeful activity supports students in learning how to make technology work for them and become technology innovators. As a teacher this can mean allowing students to select their own choice of technology to use and collaborate with peers to source the best technology for the purpose.

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tool  not outcome Image: Muir, 2013.

‘It is important to consider why we are aiming for digital fluency. It is not simply for students to be able to create meaningless digital artefacts but to help them become active digital participants and problem solvers.’


Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Pdf/ICT

Briggs, S. (2014). Digital fluency cartoon [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.opencolleges.edu.au/informed/features/digital-literacy-skills/

Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Muir, M. (2013). What do you want kids to do with technology? [Image]. Retrieved from https://multiplepathways.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/2-the-real-power-of-technology-in-schools/

Participation and the Digital Divide

Voki Introduction!

Participation refers to students engaging with and using technology to achieve curriculum outcomes and participate in the digital world. The digital divide refers to the gap between what parents can afford for their child and what the child needs to participate fully. It is an expectation of students, parents, teachers, employers, government and the wider community that students are digital participating and schools’ are bridging the digital divide (Howell, 2014). This influences teachers’ pedagogy and the digital focus in curriculum to ensure digital fluency is achieved by all students.

Firstly, to fully understand the importance of participation teachers must appreciate the role it plays in empowering student to learn for the future. Charleson (2012) states access to digital technology and mastery of digital networking and communication are empowering. In today’s world a high priority is placed on being digitally capable and lifelong learning which is fuelled by having access to technology. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) (2015) agrees, “to be empowered within a technologically sophisticated society…students need the knowledge, skills and confidence to make ICT work for them”, which occurs through participation. The impact this has on teaching pedagogy is how teachers select and use technologies for teaching and learning. For example, a teacher who asks students to use a simple program such as word processing for to create a final draft will not be using technology to empower where as a teacher asking students to communicate their work to the wider community by creating a blog will be allowing the students to actively participate in the digital world.

Secondly, to enable all students to participate in the digital word it is important to bridge the digital divide. The responsibility to bridge the divide and empower students to participate is placed largely on schools (Howell, 2014) (Hague, Williamson, & Futurelab, 2009). Schools need to provide students with both the devices and knowledge for living and learning in a digital world.

In reflection, the need for students to authentically participate and have access to technology impacts on pedagogy adopted by teachers and schools and the life-long learning required to keep up with changing technology which students may wish to use in the classroom regardless of their home situation.

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 Voki References

Bentley, P. (2014, July 3). Lack of affordable broadband creating ‘digital divide’. ABC News. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-02/bridging-the-digital-divide/5566644

Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press.

 Blog References

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2015). Information and communication technology (ICT) capability. Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/generalcapabilities/information-and-communication-technology-capability/introduction/introduction

Charleson, D, M. (2012). Bridging the digital divide: Enhancing empowerment and social capital. Journal of Social Inclusion, 3(2), 6-19.

Gould, E. (2015). Digital Divide [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.laneterralever.com/digital-divide-fact-or-fiction/

Hague, C., Williamson, B., Futurelab. (2009). Digital participation, digital literacy, and school subjects [Fact sheet]. Retrieved from http://www2.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/lit_reviews/DigitalParticipation.pdf

Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Teaching Resource – Collaborize Classroom

I created this teaching resource for use in a year five classroom where many students are becoming online participants. The resource aims to make children aware of their online choices and how to handle adverse situations which may occur online.

Name of teaching resource

Collaborize Classroom – Ms Kneale’s Digital Citizenship Forum



Who should this digital teaching resource be used with?

This resource would suit students in Year Five and upwards. It could be too time consuming to log children of lower ages onto Collaborize Classroom. The discussion and computer skills of younger children may not be advanced enough to maintain a productive online discussion.

How should it be used?

For the resource to be most effective whole classes, year groups or schools should use this resource. It could even connect students internationally.

Which subject or learning area would it be most appropriate to use in?

The teacher can pose debates, topics or questions relating to any subject learning area using this resource.

Identify the strengths of this teaching resource

This resource is multifaceted, flexible and continuous making it a valuable classroom resource. Teachers can control topics, save results and create new topics which help construct and build on students prior discussions. It is also easy to embed video and web site links which allow students to easily navigate to web addresses.

Identify any weaknesses of this teaching resource

A weakness of the resource is plain font choice allowing for only minimal alteration resulting in bland headings for topics. It would also be more engaging if students could collaborate using audio tools too as this would reduce the boundary of poor typing skills for younger students or students with special needs.

Explain any ideas you may have for further use of this teaching resource

To further utilise this teaching resource I would engage the class in multi-classroom discussions and find a sister school who would take part once the students learnt to use the resource competently.


Democrasoft Inc. (2012). Collaborize Classroom logo [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.collaborizeclassroom.com/

Teaching Resource – Informative Report Writing Prezi

This resource has been created to guide young students though the process of writing an informative report. It can also be used as a example of a procedure or presentation.

Name of teaching resource

Prezi – Informative Report Writing



Who should this digital teaching resource be used with?

The resource is designed for year two students however it could be adapted for both younger and older students.

How should it be used?

The resource should be initially used by the teacher with the whole class as a group to ensure every aspect of the challenge is understood. This would allow for children discuss the task and ask questions if necessary. The Prezi would then be available on the Smart board or on iPads where children could revisit slides either individually or in groups.

Which subject or learning area would it be most appropriate to use in?

The resource is designed for teachers to use for the learning areas English and Technologies. It guides students through the process of writing an informative report and engaging effectively with technology.

Identify the strengths of this teaching resource

Some strengths including the portability, re-usability, easy navigation and engaging nature. The resource can be used multiple devices and either on or offline. It is easily edited for older or younger children.  Howell (2014) states students love technology and it engages them. With Prezi students can easily navigate through the information and interactive making it engaging for students.

Identify any weaknesses of this teaching resource

It is not easy to embed media other than YouTube videos and digital images. For example Voki cannot be embedded without uploading a screen capture to Youtube.

Explain any ideas you may have for further use of this teaching resource

This resource could be an example for describing a process, which is another English outcome in the Australian Curriculum.


Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: Digital pedagogies for collaboration and creativity. South Melbourne, Australia : Oxford University Press.

Prezi. Inc. (2011). Prezi logo [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.brandsoftheworld.com/logo/prezi

Hello digital world!

Watch this space! Blogs for ‘EDC 101 Teaching and Learning in a Digital World’ to come.



Header Image and Introduction Image References

ACP Computer Training & Consultancy. (2014, August 22). How to keep up with the digital world [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.acpcomputer.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/digital-world.jpg

Yassini, N. (2013). Digital World. Retrieved from https://absmagazine.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/entrepreneur_93894034.jpg