The world of education is constantly changing and evolving. In fact, the one of the only constant of education is change itself. One of the biggest driving factors affecting the changes in education today is technology. Our students are part of a new generation – a generation that is constantly connected and surrounded with technology, and so it only makes sense to fully incorporate technology into our teaching practices. As educators, we are the ones who need to evolve and adapt our teaching practices in order to accommodate, foster, and expand our students’ use of technology. We need to create a learning environment that supports 21st century learning.The solution is pretty obvious: schools need to implement digital classrooms.
What is a digital classroom?
A digital classroom is a classroom that is fully immersed in technology. Each students has access to an Internet connected device, whether it be a laptop, tablet, Chromebook, or other device, and the majority (or all of) the curriculum is delivered via an online, engaging, interactive platform.
Digital classrooms use online educational apps and websites to spark creativity and critical thinking.
What are the benefits of going digital?
There are so many benefits when it comes to transforming a classroom into a digital classroom. In my opinion, one of the greatest advantages of going digital is that the possibilities of what you can do are endless. There are so many different websites, extensions, add-ons, and apps that teachers can use to enhance their teaching and connect with students. Digital classrooms prepare students for life in college and the real world by providing them with a technology-based education. Digital classrooms are also great for the environment because paper use is either eliminated or significantly reduced.
Making the Switch to Digital
Once your school district decides to provide the technology to facilitate a digital classroom, there are several options to consider when making the switch. First and foremost, you will want to decide how to deliver the content of your class to your students. Personally, I am a big fan of Google Classroom.
Google Classroom is a blended learning platform that is entirely free for educators. It is a great tool that allows teachers to deliver content-rich lessons to students, make announcements to the class, share Google calendars with students, and facilitate collaborative work through the various Google apps with the use of Google Drive. And since Google makes it easy for a user to switch from one account to the next, it is that much more convenient. In addition to Google Classroom, there are also other online digital platforms that school are adopting. Some other digital-based blended learning platforms include Haiku learning and Edmodo.
After you (or your district) decide which platform to use, it is time to create your content, build your digital class, and inspire your students.
Students prefer engaging, visually-stimulating, interactive educational materials that require them to collaborate with their peers and use an inquiry-based approach. Simply typing a lesson in Google Docs every day is not enough for students of the 21st century, nor does this take full advantage of what the digital world has to offer.
I create all of my SMARTePlans lessons with 21st century students in mind. These digital, interactive lessons and teaching materials are designed specifically to use in a digital classroom. These lessons offer students with rich, high-quality, interactive lessons that can be delivered via Google Drive, Google Classroom, and Microsoft OneDrive. These interactive, digital English lessons provide students with the opportunity to type directly into graphic organizers, highlight text while annotating, drag and drop information into charts, and more.
While most of my SMARTePlans are geared for secondary ELA classrooms, I do have one SMARTePlans lesson that can be used in any secondary classroom: SMARTePlans Back to School Digital Activities. This resource includes more than 10 different, engaging and interactive activities that secondary students can complete during the first week of school.