Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century

As an advocate on progressive schooling, I believe that digital schools are a genius idea. Times are changing. Learning is not just done through a series of math problems or reading a novel for class. Learning is done through a series of innovative teaching models involving the digital world. This type of learning allows young students to practice their analytical  and creative sides of their mind.

Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century provides a framework of how students can develop with technology. The documentary was definitely an eye-opener and made me realize how effective technology is to students. It looks as if these schools that were mentioned in the documentary are training these students for jobs they will invent. The teachers seem as guides while the students learn through series of trial-and-error. I personally love that ideology that the teachers are not looked to as authoritians and do not implement the same traditional teaching strategies you get in public education and that is what I got out of watching this documentary.

I fell in love with the idea of peer-helping learning model. The whole idea of the scavenger hunt at the museum and the GPS-based history walk seemed like such an effective way to make kids learn. By working with their peers, they learn communication and teamwork. James Gee proposes an interesting thought that goes off of this teaching method. He states that humans don’t learn from a bunch of words. They learn through experience. Therefore, digital media allows for experiences for these students. Through hands-on experiences, it is easier for a student to stay engaged. As amazing as reading books are, kids don’t seem to be learning from print. They are reading in different types of mediums and that is incredible.

This new way of teaching is not replacing teachers. In a way, it is replacing black and white boards, textbooks and handouts. It is a resource that can effectively teach a student. Unfortunately  my pessimistic view on the policy makers of American education hinder my belief that digital media based schools will be overpass the standardized-based public education in the next several years. However, I do believe that more progressive schools like the ones in the documentary will gain more popularity with parents and students. I am excited to see where the future of technology takes education!

This documentary opened my eyes to newer and more effective ways to reach our students.

Well done PBS.

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One thought on “Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century

  1. Linda says:

    Hi Mae, I enjoyed your post about Digital Media. One of the questions I had asked about technology in the classroom after watching Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century was if teachers were going to be replaced? I could imagine a large-scale online public elementary school where children didn’t attend school for more than a few hours a day. The majority of the interaction would take place via technology–virtual classrooms. I don’t think it will actually happen…but then again.

    I do agree with your assessment that it will take years for public education school policy to catch up with new technology–we will be learning it from our students before we will actually be able to use it in the classroom! The concept of a more project based school is interesting but the basic reading, writing, science, math, skills would still need to be taught. How would you incorporate those skills into new classrooms and measure the children’s learning?

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