By Jeff Volpe
The pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital learning. That shift was already taking place as cloud computing, digitization and device connectivity were dominating students’ and teachers’ personal lives. The same technology capabilities were gradually finding their place in classrooms as the pandemic kick-started a wholesale move to remote learning environments.
Even though students and teachers have returned to in-classroom learning, it has become clear that interactive and inclusive learning are the way forward and will continue to play an integral role in shaping education delivery. Now the focus is on maximizing the potential of the digital learning tools and processes that are in place to level up the digital classroom experience.
Most schools today already have the digital capability for delivering interactive e-learning programs that support active learning. However, many are not yet realizing the full potential of digital teaching and e-learning. As such, they are missing out on important teaching and learning opportunities that will improve engagement and outcomes for their students. There is so much more than can be gained from digital learning software, interactive whiteboards with screen sharing capabilities, and video-assisted learning, to name a few.
One critical advantage of digital technologies is that they can quickly adapt to different needs and accommodate multiple learning styles. With individualized approaches, students can take a more active role and learn at their own speed. Interactive tools can also serve as assistive technology for students with disabilities and learning challenges, supporting a more inclusive approach.
Classroom dynamics can also be improved. With the right digital tools, students can easily share their work, discuss content individually and in groups, and engage directly with teachers without the need to interrupt live instruction sessions.
With digital tools, teachers also have the benefit of observing how students are engaging with their content in real time to assess what is resonating with students – or not. With these insights, they can conduct informal, personalized assessments during (or after) instruction and determine how effective a particular lesson is, and quickly adapt it as needed.
In addition, digital tools can play a key role in developing the soft skills that are increasingly in demand in the world of work. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report notes that critical thinking, analysis, problem solving and active learning will be the top in-demand skills leading up to 2025. Today’s digital learning tools play an invaluable role in helping students to develop those skills that will help them prepare for success in the future, such as critical thinking, collaboration, and the ability to adapt to change.
The good news for many schools is that the foundations for digital learning are already in place. Thanks to technology advancements, many of these tools are platform agnostic, browser-based, easy to learn, do not require software installation and offer built-in support.
One leading EdTech solution provider, ViewSonic, has made its myViewboard whiteboarding software available license free to schools, colleges, and universities in response to extended school shutdowns and expanded e-learning initiatives – and continues to do so today. Educators can also find a wide range of free on-demand, online support tools that cover a spectrum of digital learning topics, from how to use interactive software to cloud-based curriculum development.
Understandably, some educators have voiced concerns about learning gaps created during the pandemic. In hindsight, non-standardized learning through a digital classroom experience has proven otherwise. In fact, the digital classroom experience has not only allowed teachers and students keep pace with curriculum standards, but it also provides students with additional skills that undoubtedly will help them in their post education work life while empowering them to play a more active role in their own learning. Teachers for their part, have been able to implement more inclusive classrooms, expanding their support for individual students and improving outcomes.
Recent events have proven that interactive and inclusive learning has an important role to play in shaping the future of education by helping students learn in they way they learn best. The technology capabilities are certainly in place. The question now is how to realize the full potential of those tools in the new digital classroom.
Jeff Volpe is President, Americas for ViewSonic, a leading global provider of interactive and collaborative visual engagement solutions for enterprise, education, consumer and commercial markets. For more information on ViewSonic’s education solutions, visit https://www.viewsonic.com/us/solutions/education/inclusive-classroom