In 2011, the Media Awareness Network began Phase III of its ongoing study Young Canadians in a Wired World. This qualitative research study was based on structured interviews with Canadian teachers. They were asked about the role played by digital technology in their personal lives and professional practice. Below is a summary of the study.
During the study, teachers volunteered their opinions about their students’ abilities in using digital media effectively, gaining digital literacy skills, enriching learning with technology and managing technology in the classroom.
With the influx of video, audio, chat, SMS, links and webpages, teachers are noting that it continues to be VERY important for students to learn about not only the tools but also the strategies for authenticating the information they find online.
These teachers identified five main challenges that they face in helping students get the most out of digital media:
1) The pressure to teach technical skills instead of digital literacy skills;
2) The impulse to revert to “drill and kill” teaching methods;
3) The potential for digital technologies to be disruptive in the classroom;
4) The shortage of PD opportunities for teachers to learn how to integrate technology effectively;
5) The value of digital media in allowing teachers to appeal to different learning styles.
Overall, teachers were positive towards digital media, yet they did acknowledge the challenge of student and teacher privacy when using these devices in the learning environment. As long as students are shown how to engage critically with the digital media they consume and consider the online ethical ramifications, teachers felt that technology continues to provide tremendous learning opportunities.
“The biggest skill students need is a moral compass. Today’s students are not just users of digital media, they are citizens of the online world.”
For the full report of Young Canadians in a Wired World, Phase III – Teacher’s Perspectives please visit the MNet Site.