What is e-learning?
Information retrieved from http://elearning.tki.org.nz/
E-Learning is defined as learning and teaching that is facilitated by or supported through the appropriate use of digital technologies.
E-Learning can cover a spectrum of activities from supporting learning to blended learning (the combination of traditional and e-learning practices), to learning that is delivered entirely online.
Whatever the technology, learning is the vital element. E-Learning is not simply associated with modes of delivery or the functionality of a particular technology, but forms part of a conscious choice of the best and most appropriate ways of promoting effective learning.
Best practice e-learning enables accessible, relevant, and high-quality learning opportunities that improve student engagement and achievement. E-Learning has the potential to transform the way teaching and learning takes place. It is about using digital technologies effectively across the curriculum to connect schools and communities and to provide accessible, relevant, and high-quality learning opportunities so that every student is better able to achieve their full potential.
Digital Technologies and the NZ Curriculum
Digital Technologies will be part of The New Zealand Curriculum, beginning at Year 1 from 2018.
Digital Technologies involve learning to be a creator in the digital world, not just learning to use systems. Learning about, and with, digital technologies will contribute to developing an informed digital society.
Digital Technologies will be organised around six themes which are the components of every digital system:
- Digital applications.
Digital devices run applications (also referred to as programs, software, or apps).
- Data representation.
Applications work with data, which might be as simple as the number of steps taken on a fitness tracker, or as complex as every transaction in a large organisation.
An algorithm is a process that acts on data. For example, a fitness tracker stores data about number of steps taken. One algorithm used is to add one to the number of steps whenever a step is detected; another algorithm might make decisions about how you are reaching your fitness goal.
A program is the implementation of an algorithm to process data; there are many ways to program (code) an algorithm, but a computer needs a program to be able to carry out the intention of the algorithm.
- Humans and computers.
The main part of the system is the human, who puts information in and gets it out of the system using an interface (which might involve buttons, images, sound, vibration, and more).
- Digital devices and infrastructure.
Devices are connected to each other through networks (which could be as simple as a USB connection, or as complex as the internet).
(Education Gazette, 2016) & Tim Bell (University of Canterbury)
Digital Literacy and Digital Fluency
Digital literacy and digital fluency describe students’ capability in using digital technologies to achieve desired learning outcomes.
- Digital literacy – A digitally literate person knows how to use digital technologies and what to do with them.
- Digital fluency – A digitally fluent person can decide when to use specific digital technologies to achieve their desired outcome. They can articulate why the tools they are using will provide their desired outcome.
Both are important, but if we teach students only to use digital devices, they will be consumers limited to making do with whatever the makers of digital technologies produce, and as a country we will be buying in technology rather than creating it and selling it to others.
Tim Bell (University of Canterbury)
A digitally fluent student:
- Knows where and how to find and access information quickly and accurately.
- Can critique the relevance and accuracy of information being accessed.
- Is an adept producer of digital content.
- Can recognise and use the most effective methods of reaching their intended audience.
- Understands and demonstrates how use digital technologies responsibly including – digital security (self-protection) and copyright.
In the years ahead, digital fluency will become a prerequisite for obtaining jobs, participating meaningfully in society, and learning throughout a lifetime.
Resnick, 2002, p. 33 via White, 2013
It is essential that digital fluency is fostered within the school curriculum and in the pedagogical practices of schools and teachers so students can thrive in the digital age.