Digital blurring refers to the diminishing boundary between our lives and digital technology. Technology has become ubiquitous in our daily life, and majority of my future students will be fluent at operating digital devices. They may be gamers, and will almost certainly be social media users. It falls to me to uncover and exploit the hidden educational benefits inherent in these behaviours.
Twitter can be used to demonstrate and practice writing techniques and promote information management skills. The character limit can be used to encourage the student to craft a succinct and interest-piquing summary of their key point, similar to honing a thesis statement.
When managing their newsfeed, the student has access to a wide range of data. From this, they must discern which information is of value and worth pursuing further. Twitter may also be used to keep abreast of current events. However, the unfiltered nature of news tweets, which is normally so advantageous, makes it unsuitable for use in a primary school classroom.
Blogging can be used as a motivating, real-world tool to improve a student’s writing and expression skills. However, I will need to ensure that the student’s work receives adequate feedback from both myself and their peers to encourage their efforts: I suspect the ongoing appearance of “shouting into the void” would become discouraging.
Virtual Worlds and Gaming
Virtual worlds and games can provide a host of benefits, including teamwork, resilience, logic and problem solving. However, within a primary school classroom, I suspect that the games I will be using most often will be the instructive variety: developed with a specific educational outcome in mind, and possible quite dry. If my students are engrossed in multi-player, online games outside the classroom, it may be a challenge to convince them that reaching the next level of Reading Eggs is a worthy aim. However, perhaps a tool that is adaptable to the student’s proficiency level and provides immediate multi-sensory feedback will trump worksheets for the average child.
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