Technology and Digital Content: Promoting Learner-Centered Pedagogy

Technology and Digital Content: Promoting Learner-Centered Pedagogy

Maureen N. Short
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2953-8.ch012
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This chapter offers a comprehensive review of the integration of digital content and learning technologies into the curriculum to enhance the educational experiences of culturally and linguistically diverse students and students with disabilities. It addresses the challenge of how teachers can best use digital technologies to create interactive and engaging learning experiences and provides helpful considerations for working collaboratively with other stakeholders to meet the needs of all students.
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Digital technologies have revolutionized how people find and use information and expanded the scope of literacies for students and teachers. Digital literacy is consequently essential for both teachers and students to enable them to access and use these dynamic tools. Coupled with the changing technological landscape is the make-up of today’s classrooms. Whereas schools are charged with the responsibility of educating an increasingly complex and diverse population of students. Teachers have the challenge of meeting the individual needs of students who represent a wide range of diversity in abilities, learning styles, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, exposure to digital content, technology and early education. To accomplish this effectively and efficiently, teachers need to know the content they teach, have a repertoire of pedagogical strategies for connecting students with content and know how to integrate technology into pedagogy to achieve the desired outcomes.

This chapter examines how digital technologies applied to learner-centered pedagogy have transformed teaching and learning. It commences with a brief review of public policy and federal initiatives aimed at promoting digital literacy and twenty-first century work ready skills among students at all levels. This is followed by a discussion of learning theories that support digital and learner-centered pedagogies and an overview of the concepts of digital technology, digital literacy, and learner-centered pedagogy. Finally, some recommendations based on current research and conclusions are made. The goals of the chapter are:

  • 1.

    To identify possible ways to integrate technology in the classroom.

  • 2.

    Identify digital literacy skills that teachers and students need to be prepared for the future and be work ready.

  • 3.

    Articulate how digital content and learning technologies promote and support learning of all students including students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and students with disabilities.

  • 4.

    Describe how learner-centered pedagogies provide opportunities for students to explore content and promote learning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Visual Supports: Pictorial or video representations of activities, tasks, or behaviors that serve as unspoken reminders of what a student should do.

Accessibility: The design of apps, devices, materials, and environments that support and enable access to content and educational activities for all learners. Also applies to accommodating the individual learning needs of students, such as English language learners, students in rural communities, or students from economically disadvantaged homes.

Digital Natives: Native speakers of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.

Differentiated Instruction: An approach to teaching and learning whereby teachers adjust their curriculum and instruction for students with different abilities e.g. average learners, English language learners, struggling students, students with learning disabilities, and gifted and talented students in the same classroom.

Student-Facing Digital Instructional Tools: Those applications that students use for learning (does not include digital gradebooks, professional development tools, or instructional improvement systems).

Digital Use Divide: The gap between students who use technology in active and creative ways to support their learning and those who predominantly use technology for passive content consumption.

Digital Learning: Any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience and encompasses a wide spectrum of tools and practices, including: a) interactive learning resources, digital learning content (which may include openly licensed content), software, or simulations, that engage students in academic content; b) access to online databases and other primary source documents; c) the use of data and information to personalize learning and provide targeted supplementary instruction; d) online and computer-based assessments; e) learning environments that allow for rich collaboration and communication, which may include student collaboration with content experts and peers; f) hybrid or blended learning, which occurs under direct instructor supervision at a school or other location away from home and, at least in part, through online delivery of instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path, or pace; and g) access to online course opportunities for students in rural or remote areas (ESSA, 2015 AU53: The in-text citation "ESSA, 2015" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ).

Digital Immigrants: People not born into the digital world but have adopted many or most aspects of the new technology.

Multimedia: The presentation of material using both words and pictures.

Learner-Centered: The perspective that couples a focus on individual learners with a focus on knowledge about learning and how it occurs and about teaching practices that are most effective in promoting motivation, learning, and achievement for all learners.

Disruptive Innovation: Innovations are disruptive if they replace a previous technology or way of doing things.

Digital Divide: The gap between students who have access to the Internet and devices at school and home and those who do not.

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