Meeting the needs and preferences of the 21st Century learner using new technologies, tools and techniques.

(1.2: Explain how learning technologies, tools and techniques might be used to support digital literacy learner needs and preferences.) Every learner that sits before us presents with a new challenge, every learner is different and indeed unique. No group of learners are ever the same. It is this challenge of differentiation that makes being a teacher so interesting and indeed exciting. To date, teachers have had to take into consideration each learners individual learning style, we have to consider their prior knowledge, their literacy and numeracy skills, we may have had to consider behavioural or emotional needs, we may have had to consider learning difficulties such as dyslexia. It is my opinion, that a teacher is only as good as their tool kit. A teacher must be well prepared to meet any need that a learner may bring to the classroom. They must be prepared in order to provide the best teaching that the learner not only needs but deserves. We are currently living in  great time of technological advancement, never has the teachers tool kit looked so interesting and diverse. The 21st Century teacher looks very different, going are the days of flipcharts and death by PowerPoint, being replaced by Ipad’s, laptops, interactive white boards and smart phones. At our disposal today are a wide range of new technologies, techniques and tools, each one offering  a new opportunity to meet the diverse needs of the student. With this new array of technology, tools and techniques, the classroom itself is changing. Technology New technology in the learning environment may include the use of Ipad’s, tablets and note pads by both teacher and student  to complete tasks on. Never has access to new technology been more affordable and this has led to an increase of laptops, tablets and smart phones in the classroom, if it is in the classroom then it is potentially at the tutors disposal. New technology can also be used effectively to meet the needs of learners with different physical needs too. For example, computers are available with large print screens and keyboards for the visually impaired. Tools Learners are able to self differentiate using new tools in order to meet their own learning needs. For example, learners with poor levels of literacy are able to use software such as Gramarly in order to develop at their own pace. The teacher can set a task using a app where the learner can work to their own ability. For example using the app ‘Nutshell’, the learner can create a short presentation and lower level learners can write very brief slide descriptions and the higher level learners can write more detailed and complex descriptions. Techniques In terms of teaching techniques, the teacher has more opportunity to record classroom activity by facilitating the lesson via a collaborative online tool such as Hackpad. By using Hackpad the teacher can set a group task and the groups work can be monitored and recorded in real time. Evidence can be electronically recorded and submitted as evidence at the touch of a button. With all at their disposal a teacher has so much more freedom to get creative. You may want to send your learners off on a treasure hunt using QR codes as clues to a hidden gem created using an augmented reality tool like Aurasma. The teacher may also decide to manage the whole learning experience via a virtual learning environment such as Edmodo. The technological learning world really is your oyster. We must not forget also that learning should be fun and digital literacy learning tools, technologies and techniques offer a wonderful range of opportunities to hook in a learner and increase curiosity. Learning tools, technologies and techniques can also  be invaluable  for removing the barriers that we face every day when trying to engage learners in the learning process…..but………that’s for another blog!

ADDITIONAL CRITERIA 029 – 1.2: Explain how learning technologies, tools and techniques might be used to support digital literacy learner needs and preferences (minimum of 5 in total)

Whatever a learner’s learning need or preference there is sure to be an app or a piece of technology available to meet it. Writing enhancement platforms such as Grammarly could be used to support learners with low levels of literacy so that they can check their own work and correct their work at their own pace. Using fun and simple to use presentation tools such as Nutshell can help learners with low skill sets to increase their confidence in using new technologies and tools; using a tablet such as an iPad could also be used as it is so accessible and leaners can learn by doing. One of the best ways to learn how to use something is to simply play with it so an iPad would be a great way for a leaner to develop their skills. Some learners may prefer to learn in their first language and there are applications available to support this such as Bing, learners could also be introduced to Google Translate so that they can help themselves with unfamiliar words during a session. Whatever the need or preference, with a little bit of planning and consideration, the teacher is sure to meet it.

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