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Gerard LaFond

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A Digitized Teaching Philosophy That Uses Tech Like Kids Do

The education system has begun embracing tech in the classroom, but it needs to happen faster to better address needs of today's students.


The traditional education system is slowly but surely being turned on its head. Technology is finding its way into the classroom in new ways, enabling and encouraging a generation of students who have grown up using technology to better engage, understand, and master their schoolwork. These advances are changing the ways we think about learning, how we access and obtain information, and radically changing the way we interact with others. It’s a slow shift, but it’s not going away.

From the chalkboard to the SMART Board, a vision of today's student is radically different than that of a student in 1960, 1980, or even 2000. Today's "digital natives" have grown up online, bringing different expectations into the classroom. Today's student expects her learning experience to be a collaborative process—a mixture of traditional learning and game-like elements, or a live version of their online experiences.

Using technology, educators can provide an interactive, meaningful experience and create an environment where students can learn at their own pace, actively seeking out new information and empowering themselves to master subjects. Although the education system has begun embracing technology in the classroom, the immersion needs to happen faster to better address the needs of today’s students.

Here's how the two worlds can meet, and ultimately help students learn more effectively:

1. Provide students with a safe space to fail. In an online game, if a player fails a level, the biggest consequence is loss of points or a virtual life. The player is able to attempt various different solutions to the problem until they’re successful. In school, if a student fails, they face much more serious retribution or social stigma. Allowing a student to take chances without risk of ultimately failing a test, a class, or losing a year in school helps avoid a loss in motivation stemming from the shame of failure. Just like in a game, when a student fails fast, they learn faster.

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