This week's topic is Digital Learning (DL). DL is one of the pillars of ThinkLab (along with Teacher Learning, Student Inclusion, and Visionary Leadership). Why talk about DL this week? Because in many ways we are still at an early stage of understanding digital learning within school environments (even though we have going on 30 years experience). It is important to explore this as we consider our next steps.

While learning is the focus of school, assessment is a near bedfellow. To this end ThinkLab has been involved in developing assessment rubrics for DL that joins academic validity (in this case the IB MYP) with 21st century and other learning parameters. Rubrics that consider: The Task: Skill Focus, Visual Fluency,Information Fluency, Digital Adaptability, Purposeful Reflection, Communication, Collaboration, Level of Creativity and Innovation, and Time Management.

Some points to make about DL in a school environment:
  1. The task and approach are key components of what sort of learning one can achieve. Check out  Dan Meyer: Math class needs a makeover for some helpful insights into this.
  2. Leadership is being provided by school leaders who are linking such learning to each student's eportfolio, which will form part of a Student-Parent conference towards the end of the school year.
  3. Not all students who are comfortable with their position within traditional school academic expectations will be likely to be as comfortable with the  demands of digital learning (fast changing, open-asking, individual problem-solving etc)
  4. In a similar vein, the assessment demands that go with traditional school expectations can be at odds with the personal nature of digital learning. With an element of risk-taking always present in fast-changing environments the importance of supportive leadership and understanding is a key component of what can be achieved. Particularly in a time-poor environment.
As stated before, these are early days of understanding the system demands of Digital Learning and how school can embed value. Please contribute to what is a needed discussion.

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