What is a digital world


I can still recollect when my parents called overseas, the entire neighbourhood heard them. They called using a landline telephone and the connection was poor. Consequently, they spoke louder as the connection disrupted. To exacerbate matters, their calls were typically amid the late nights, although, in Lebanon, it was morning. Fortunately, those ancient days are history and today we live in a digital age thanks to the developments of technology (ITU,2007), where it is possible to call anyone, anywhere at any given time.

The world changed to where digital technology and the internet are the crux of communication and knowledge, engulfed in digital technology and high speed internet worldwide, which we use daily and globally. The method that individuals use to access information and speak with each other have transformed and are now easy, resourceful and flexible (ITU,2007).


I did not realise how much digital technology I use, until I had to recount my daily activities in my workbook during my path to becoming a teacher. I wake up every morning to the alarm set on my iPhone or messages via an application called WhatsApp. I shop and pay my bills online, and check my emails. And the best part is I do not even need to leave my bed! As you can see, I am a bit reluctant to give up my iPhone. Not bad for a ‘digital immigrant’ (Howell, 2012)? I had to adapt from analogue to our digital lifestyle.


So, what about today’s teenagers, including my own, that have experienced childhood in a

Teaching the 21st Century Learner 

world rotating around digital innovations (Gallo, 2003)? Their use of smartphones, laptops or tablets, for instance, since childhood, have led them to be known as the “internet generation” (Howell, 2012), or “digital natives” for their dependence on digital technology (Prensky, 2008). Students as well as parents and employers, expect teachers to know how to teach using digital tools. They are more interested in digital learning activities which are fun and attention-grabbing (Howell, 2012), such as  Prezi or Powtoon. Or, even Brickflow where they can build stories with contents from Twitter or Instagram (Acedo, 2013).  As a result of this ‘digital expectancy’, educators are feeling the stress of (Howell,2012) their endeavour to adjust to the digital transition in the classroom (Prensky, 2008). They are used to being the qualified teacher; ‘the expert’ in the classroom, yet they may not know how to use digital technology or social media tools. Hence, finding this transition challenging. On the other hand, students can assist their teacher by sharing tips on the use of the device or tool, displaying interaction, motivation, engagement and learning outcomes (Hughes & Burke, 2014, p. 71).

Students working together in the 21st Century classroom




Digital PR. (2013). 4 Digital communication rules. [Image].retrieved from http://www.commpro.biz/digital-pr-2/4-digital-communication-rules/

Edutopia, (2013). Collaboration on Wheels: 21st Century Classroom Furniture at work. [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/collaboration-wheels-21st-century-classroom-furniture-work

EmergingEdTech, (2013).21st Century Skills [Image].Retrieved from http://www.emergingedtech.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/21st-Century-Skills.jpg

Gallo, L. (2013, June 03). Living in a digital world. [Web log post]. Retrieved from  http://now.uiowa.edu/2013/06/living-digital-world

Howell, J. (2012). Teaching with ICT. Digital Pedagogies for Collaboration and Creativity. Oxford University Press. Chapter 1.Pg 3-11.

Hughes, J. & Burke, A.( 2014).The Digital Principal. Excellence in Professional Practice (p.71). Retrieved from https://books.google.com.au/books?id=RK5xAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA71&lpg=PA71&dq=what+can+teachers+do+if+they+are+pressured+to+use+digital+technology+in+the+classroom&source=bl&ots=0tVFmbbPHx&sig=qjt6TRM1Y7ML1o1_n97fZeQCJDA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjDrojw17LMAhVH22MKHbjCBH4Q6AEIIjAB#v=onepage&q=what%20can%20teachers%20do%20if%20they%20are%20pressured%20to%20use%20digital%20technology%20in%20the%20classroom&f=false

International Telecommunication Union, (2007). Living In the Digital World. [Web log post].Retrieved from http://www.itu.int/newsroom/features/digital_world.html

Mike, A. (2013). Teach Thought. 25 Teaching Tools For the Digital Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/25-teaching-tools-to-organize-innovate-manage-your-classroom/

Prensky, M. (2008). The 21st- century digital learner. [Web log post]. Retrieved from   http://www.edutopia.org/ikid-digital-learner-technology-2008

Timms, A. & Alamy,(2015, June 16). Internet, phones and broadband. The Guardian. [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jun/16/20000-bill-bt-openreach-connect-phone-line




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