Instructional Strategies for Digital Learning Morning Session
On Digital Learning Day, February 6, 2013, hundreds of teachers participated in morning events at the Newseum, including the Instructional Strategies for Digital Learning session. This session was geared towards educators and others wanting to learn more about specific instructional strategies and approaches with digital learning. Topics included problem-based learning; flipping the classroom; mobile learning; online tools to support blended and face-to-face instruction; and formative and alternative assessment (e-portfolios). Educators introduced these instructional strategies, modeled the approaches, and provided tools and resources to support the instructional strategies.
As you look at the definition of "digital learning," you will see that it is instructional practice not a device or piece of technology. In fact, we ask educators to think about the ten elements below as they begin using technology in their instruction. In a digital learning environment, the teacher assumes increased professional responsibilities and must be supported. Some researchers refer to teachers moving from “sages on stages” to “guides on the side” or “facilitators,” but a fuller description is that the teacher now becomes a true “educational designer.”1 Applying technological tools of real-time data and assessments, adaptive software, online and digital content from many sources, and constant communication with students, parents, and others involved in a student’s education process, the teacher is able to design the pathway that works best for each student to realize his or her maximum learning potential.
Although this discussion only highlights some of these instructional practices, digital learning and technology can provide opportunities for teachers to apply evidence-based practices that support effective teaching and learning. The work of many researchers, including Charles Fisher,2 David Berliner,3 Robert Marzano,4 and John Hattie,5 demonstrates that well-designed and well-implemented instructional practices produce gains in learning by increasing the amount of “relevant instructional time.” Students need extended opportunities to engage in meaningful and appropriate learning experiences that incorporate proven practices.
1 G. Whitby, executive director of schools, Catholic Diocese of Parramatta, Australia.
2 C. Fisher et al., “Teaching Behaviors, Academic Learning Time, and Student Achievement: An Overview,” in Time to
Learn, ed. C. Denham and A. Lieberman (Washington, DC: National Institute of Education, 1980).
3 C. Fisher and D. Berliner, eds., Perspectives on Instructional Time (New York: Longman, 1985).
4 R. Marzano, D. Pickering, and J. Pollock, Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing
Student Achievement (Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2001).
5 J. Hattie, Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-analyses Relating to Achievement (New York: Routledge,