It was really intimidating for teachers to connect student’s learning beyond the classroom walls. It is beyond doubt that something was missing in text book learning, but schools hardly have the opportunity to take out students and give them real life examples all the time. The gadgets- iPad, laptop, PC and smart phone evolved as saviors. These make the work of teachers easier by developing an environment that can excite and engage students.

The growth of technology in the outer world created tension among the schools how to imbibe the changes so that kids are not away from this bliss. Students are part of consumer culture outside school where they have full access to internet. In such a situation, the school was bound to accept the digital modification that has revolutionized the way teaching used to be in class rooms.

Importance of transitioning to online education

The transition from text books to open educational resources has bunch of benefits. With the options the faculties can create their own presentations and assignment sheets for students. The students invariably can connect a lot more easily to these dynamic and digital contents. The teachers can edit and update the content when they required. This option, therefore, provides teachers full autonomy over the classroom content. There are many applications to ease the works of the teachers. Do the open education always that effective?

Technological advances frustrating for students sometimes

Where the technology comes as a big game changer in case of school teaching, it is not always that good for a student. Students employ digital tools and that is very natural, but they are finding it difficult to express themselves in different environments. Why this is so? Students always have to switch codes at homes, at school and in digital spaces. The digital engagement changes a lot from a space to another. It can be confusing, distracting and not that easy to do.

Schools do not permit students to use their personal cell phone. They have to stick to school supplies but as they step out off the campus, texting starts. The language pattern is abbreviated and often indecipherable. When in home the students, at the time of conversing with parents or others, have to adopt a completely different form of speech pattern.

They are mostly affixed to the way of communication with parents and peers even when they are at school. Therefore, when they are working on projects in classroom in devices like laptop or iPad, they frequently veer from the main topics and keep on watching videos or email from friends. This behavioral feature is not accepted in classroom as it breaches school norms. Teachers’ effort to enrich the engagement of students with the learning process is also at stake. The students are also confused but this is usually an impulsive action over which they have no control. This is the new digital tension with which the young people are growing up with.

Students and media

The modern students are turning to computers and games to find adventures and answers to all their queries. There is no harm in that but while playing games they can be at different levels at the same time. Even the website they are getting engaged with is determined on the basis of whom they want to be instead of what they exactly want.

However, schools function in linear patterns with clear demarcation from a grade level to another. Therefore, enough tensions persist between digital learning and linear structure of schools. In such a circumstance, what will be the suitable approach that will relieve the students?

Resolving the tension

The students and teachers have to work together in understanding the switch of digital code and find suitable entry points for students’ learning and engagement. The teachers has to find out ways so that students hardly have the scope to think something different in the classroom.

The teachers can

· Provide choices within the projects. In a class while one student may write story, another can concentrate on creating poems and deal with completely a difference genre of writing

· Encourage students to share their thoughts. This can include sharing songs, accumulating information from Google documents or posting on a blog that can be of school

· Enable chatting in class through tool like Today’s Meet

· Create specific standards for digital spaces. Clearly state the behavioral norms for using blogs, chats, documents and online forums

· Share the challenges of switching codes from virtual gaming environment to school space

· Create learning levels similar to that of gaming environment.The students must understand that they will require perseverance and determination for achieving further levels as they have to do in games

· Find out from the students what is striking about the different types spaces with which they are engaged. There can be a common point among these places that will allow the students to bring in some of great ideas that they come across while they are away from school

Zack Simpson is the eCommerce Marketing Manager for ReStockIt.com. ReStockIt is a leading online retailer of office supplies, school supplies, and restaurant supplies. Zack lives in Miami and loves spending time on the beach as well as fishing. He is an avid basketball fan, though he actively cheers against the local Heat team!