Do you have students who never seem to be engaged in what you’re teaching?
Every teacher has at least a few students who fit that description. While you might never be able to capture their attention through a lecture or an in-class project, you just might spark their joy for learning through a different, digital method. In fact, numerous studies have shown that students are more engaged in learning when using technology and digital tools in the classroom.
This article investigates the different types of digital learning solutions, shows how they impact student engagement, and provides examples of digital learning to inspire your next initiative.
What are digital learning resources?
Digital learning resources are technological tools used to enhance an individual’s learning experience. Also referred to as “digital learning solutions,” one of their best features is the ability to create more personalized educational experiences for learners. Even in the professional world, companies invest in digital learning solutions to educate workers and ensure they have the right skills for the job.
Classrooms that embrace digital learning resources often use a blended learning approach. In short, blended learning refers to courses that have a mix of online activities and face-to-face instruction with a teacher. For example, the flipped classroom is a common form of blended learning in which students independently study new concepts via technology and apply that knowledge through facilitated in-class projects.
READ MORE: Do you have questions about digital learning? Visit our digital learning FAQs.
Find the right digital learning solutions for your class
While there are thousands of digital learning tools to choose from, it’s important to find the digital learning resources that will make the most difference in your classroom. To get started, we’ve explained the four main categories of digital learning solutions:
- Simulations and models: With simulations, learners are able to manipulate interactive controls and see outcomes in real time. Simulations can be complex — like creating an electric circuit in an online program — or they can be simpler, like using Google Sky for digital stargazing. And bonus: Studies have shown that simulations engage students in “deep learning” rather than “surface learning,” which increases information retention.
- Animations and graphics: Videos, interactive charts and graphics, infographics, and images of most kinds fall in this category. Animations and graphics really work well for the 65% of the population who are visual learners. Because so many individuals are visual learners, videos and graphics reach a wide audience and typically result in increased engagement.
- Online games and quizzes: The education industry has discovered that gamification helps students engage in learning, develop new skills, and retain information. By applying typical game playing elements (e.g., scoring points, competing against peers, winning tokens, etc.), digital learning solutions effectively appeal to students’ innate curiosity and competitiveness. Organizations like PBS Kids provide free online games and quizzes to enhance students’ learning through gamification.
- E-books and e-notes: Electronic books and notes are great ways to share information with students so they can access it anytime, anywhere. Many teachers create a class forum or wiki where students can post notes, questions, and discussions so their peers can engage with them digitally. Some educators opt to provide all classroom notes and resources in their online learning management system (LMS).
7 examples of digital learning initiatives that you can implement tomorrow
No matter where your class is at in their digital learning journey, there are always new ways to expand and grow your use of digital learning solutions to engage your reluctant learners. Use these seven examples of digital learning to inspire your next initiatives.
- Create e-learning stations. If you have limited digital learning solutions available in your classroom, create rotating stations. Have games, online assessments, and/or educational videos ready to go on your classroom desktop, laptop, and/or tablet. Engage in a group activity with the rest of the class as students cycle through the e-learning stations.
- Start a student blog or website. Student blogs and websites can be great ways to connect with your students and give them a little autonomy over their own learning. You’ll also be giving them in-demand, real-world skills that can benefit them in the future. Make sure you set careful ground rules and monitor the site for any inappropriate activity.
- Go on a virtual field trip. Taking your students on virtual field trips is a great way to introduce them to new concepts and perspectives without the cost of travel. Quite a few organizations offer virtual field trips opportunities, like Discovery Education and Girl Scouts.
- Show — rather than tell — your next lecture. Even just changing up the way you lecture is a great use of digital learning resources and can increase student engagement. Enhance your next presentation with videos to illustrate key concepts. Or, flip a lesson and have students watch instructional videos on their own in preparation for an in-class project. Whichever route you choose to take, you’ll be appealing to that 65% of the population who prefers to learn visually.
- Assign smartphone video projects. If most of your students have access to smartphones, this is a great way to use digital tools and resources to support learning and motivation. Have them create commercials, newscasts, short educational videos, how-to projects, and more right from their smartphone.
- Replace a couple of assignments with online activities. If you’ve been printing out the same few quizzes every year, consider turning to online quizzes or game-like assessments to replace one or two of those old assignments. Students will have a challenging new digital tool to try out and — bonus — you can benefit from automated online grading!
- Organize an e-learning homework club. If your students don’t have access to technology at home, reserve a time for them to meet up in your school’s computer lab or library. Guide the students on how to organize their time and let them help each other out from there!
These are endless opportunities to start inserting digital learning solutions into your day-to-day classroom activities. Whether you start big with a fully flipped classroom or you start small with a virtual field trip, you’re providing your students with a valuable learning experience that just might spark their joy for learning.
READ MORE: Investigate dozens of ideas for celebrating Digital Learning Day at your school
Use grants to fund new digital learning solutions
For many teachers, the easy part is determining which digital learning resources to implement in their classroom. The real challenge is figuring out how to fund the purchase of these digital learning tools. We’ve created various grant resources to help connect teachers with the funding they need. Here are some of our top grant resources:
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Free, Printable Grant Writing Checklist
As you’re researching, organizing, and writing a grant proposal for education, keep this checklist close at hand to keep you on target and ensure you include all necessary information.