Teaching in a digital age


Tony Bates has done it again – completing an extremely useful volume on ‘Teaching in A Digital Age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning for a digital age’. It’s available online in a range of formats and its FREE! It’s an excellent resource.

There's something in this book for everyone involved in education in the digital age – from an examination of the drivers of change in education and the changing nature of knowledge, to an analysis of the pedagogical benefits of particular technologies, an overview of MOOCs and online teaching and a few chapters designed to translate all of this into practical, effective teaching in a digital world. 

At nearly 500 pages it's one of those volumes you'll want to dip in and out of, with sections broken down into easily digestible 'chunks', each with a call to action included to provide a focus for how this may be translated into something meaningful in your own context. 

I particularly liked the breakdown and explanation of a 'learning environment' that is added as an appendix – the broad definition Bates references appeals to me:

Learning environment refers to the diverse physical locations, contexts, and cultures in which students learn. Since students may learn in a wide variety of settings, such as outside-of-school locations and outdoor environments, the term is often used as a more accurate or preferred alternative to classroom, which has more limited and traditional connotations—a room with rows of desks and a chalkboard, for example. The term also encompasses the culture of a school or class—its presiding ethos and characteristics, including how individuals interact with and treat one another—as well as the ways in which teachers may organize an educational setting to facilitate learning…..’ (The Glossary of Educational Reform, 29 August, 2014)

If we situate our thinking about modern learning/teaching in a digital age within this broad understanding of a learning environment then our appropriation of the ideas, frameworks and strategies suggestd by Bates in his book will be more likely to yield the results our digital age students deserve. 

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