Teaching with Technology: Reaching Out in the Digital Age

Teaching with Technology: Reaching Out in the Digital Age

Susan K. Dennett (Florida Atlantic University, USA) and Maria D. Vásquez-Colina (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/javet.2012040105
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Abstract

In this article, the authors discuss how technology can enhance online teaching and student engagement. As the number of adult learners increase and the continuing use of online teaching increases, it is important to keep students engaged during learning. If the adult learners are engaged, they will most likely remain the duration of the course, ensuring retention in online courses. Currently completion rates for online courses can be significantly lower than those of the traditional classroom based on studies by a number of authors for a variety of reasons (Diaz, 2002; Lorenzetti, 2002; Murray, 2001). Students will also be more likely to sign up for future online classes when engagement strategies are used. By incorporating the type of technology students use in their everyday life will encourage engagement and relevance. When educators use technology effectively and efficiently in their classes, this increases engagement and provides a positive learning experience for the student. The article reviews literature that outlines different types of technology and the ways technology can complement an online class.
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Overview Of Digital Tools

Researchers and practitioners support the effectiveness of using technology when teaching online. As adult learners face the use of more digital tools in their daily lives, their familiarity to these tools increases and that makes instructors incorporate these tools into the learning experience (Olesen-Tracey, 2010). Digital tools refer to any electronic interactive tool or application used to enhance the online learning experience, e.g., wikis, podcasts, blogs, whiteboards. By using interactive and digital tools, educators can not only individualize and provide a quality learning experience for the adult student, but also boost student engagement if used appropriately (Manzo, 2010). Since there is an increasing number of adults returning higher education, it is vital to keep students engaged hence they can complete their coursework and degree (Fincher, 2010). Without the creative use of digital tools in an online course, educators run the risk of their students feeling isolated and confused. Consequently, students may drop out of the course and not enroll for future courses and have a negative perception of online learning. Poorly designed online classes may eventually be a barrier to learning and risk the existence of the online program if the turnover rate of students rises.

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