What is a digital world?

The world we live in is increasingly digital. Use of the term digital world highlights the importance of technology and digital systems in our society. It relates to how our lives have changed through our use of digital systems; the way we think, learn, socialise and live has been transformed by our use of digital technology.

Learning in a digital world

Students are increasingly active users of technology, both inside and outside of the classroom.  As digital natives, today’s students have never known a life without digital technology. According to Howell, there is evidence that we learn differently when we use technology as part of the learning process (2012, p. 5). Students no longer research in libraries, they now use keywords to search the internet. Information is not simply text based; videos, discussion boards, pictures, and blogs bring information into the 21st century.  As you can see from the infographic below, students now collaborate, learn in their own way, and at their own pace.


Teaching in a digital world

Teaching involves preparing today’s students for the challenges of tomorrow.  Kubacka states technology “can be a useful tool for teachers in advancing 21st century learning” (2015, para. 1). Students require the skills to cope with the technological advances and education needs to change and adapt to provide these skills. This infographic shows some of the skills students need.


Employers now regard skills such as networking, critical assessment of information, and collaborative team work as important.  For students to develop competencies in these areas schools and teachers need to provide opportunities that are digitally rich (Education Canada, 2016, para. 5).

Teachers need to engage their students in meaningful and authentic learning activities. Educators can now use “data to identify students at risk, enhance multimedia presentations and online courses, and improve programs” (Clay, 2014, para. 4), while Prensky (2008, para. 24) states students prefer to work out solutions for themselves, collaborate, share their opinions and work with real-world issues.

By creating inquiry-based tasks that captivate students, and using technology in appropriate and innovative ways, teachers can engage students in learning that will enable them to be life-long learners.

More to watch

Check these videos out for more information about learning and teaching in a digital world.

The ‘New’ Trades: Rethinking Education for a Digital World

Learning in the Digital World: The Promise of Better Education for All

Education in a Digital World


Clay, R. (2014). Learning in a digital world. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/12/elc-learning.aspx

Education Canada. (2016). Teaching in a participatory digital world. Retrieved from http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/teaching-participatory-digital-world

Educational technology and mobile learning. (2016). 4 ways technology is changing the way we learn. (Image) Retrieved from http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/10/a-beautiful-visual-on-4-ways-technology.html

Fraser, K. (2014). (Image) Retrieved from https://kfraser1987.wordpress.com/

Harris, M. (n.d.). New skills for a new age. (Image) Retrieved from http://wikis4library.wikispaces.com/

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT. Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press.

Kubacka, K. (2015). Teachers in the digital world. Retrieved from http://oecdeducationtoday.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/teachers-in-digital-world.html

Prensky, M. (2008). The 21st century digital learner: how tech-obsessed iKids would improve our schools. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/ikid-digital-learner-technology-2008


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