A report takes a look at some of the digital learning tools and strategies shaping the next calendar year, like this student sitting in the library with a tablet.

5 digital learning trends for 2020

A report takes a look at some of the digital learning tools and strategies shaping the next calendar year

Digital learning puts the best edtech tools and strategies into the hands of highly-qualified and trained educators who know how to transform learning for students.

Digital learning tools are invaluable when they’re used by confident educators. In fact, when used appropriately, digital and mobile learning resources engage students–and they can even help boost achievement.

Online literacy platforms, virtual field trips, STEM simulations and modeling–these are just some of the tools that help elevate instruction in classrooms across the country.

Related content: 10 things to know about digital learning

A new survey from Schoology delves into top digital trends, challenges, and developments that will impact schools and districts across the nation this year.  The State of Digital Learning includes responses from 16,906 teachers and administrators.

Of those surveyed, 50.2 percent says digital learning impacts student achievement “somewhat,” while 45.4 percent say it impacts student learning “very much.” Just 3.8 percent say it impacts student learning “very little,” and 0.6 percent believe it has no impact at all.

5 key digital trends

The report sheds light on five key digital learning trends:

1. We have a critical need for relevant and effective professional development. PD is still missing the mark. For three years in a row now, administrators have reported the need to provide effective and relevant PD as their #1 challenge. In addition, the same concern has been the top priority for the past two years.

2. Most schools and districts view digital learning as an integral part of their teaching and learning strategy. Digital learning is a vital part of teaching and learning strategies for 98 percent of respondents.

3. The need for required digital citizenship programs is growing. The number of schools and districts that require students to complete a digital citizenship program has grown 6 percent since last year, helping to address internet safety issues—teacher’s #1 digital citizenship concern.

4. Coding is here to stay, but robotics is on the way. There’s no denying that coding is already a valuable and highly sought after skill in the world-at-large. By continuing to integrate coding into the curriculum, we are better preparing our students for college, career, and beyond. Keep an eye on robotics. With a 16 percent increase in classroom use over last year, the depth of technology integration is growing at a rapid pace.

5. Twitter is a hub for educators to grow professionally. With social media acceptance and usage on the rise in schools across the U.S., 30 percent of educators are finding and growing their professional networks while collaborating and sharing resources on Twitter. It will be to see how professional learning networks (PLNs) continue to grow in the digital space.

The report also takes a look at common digital strategies and challenges.

According to survey respondents, the five most common instructional strategies and practices are differentiated learning, blended/hybrid learning, individualized learning, personalized learning, and flipped learning.

Teachers’ most common challenges to digital learning include:
1. Student access to technology at home (42.5 percent)
2. Lack of time during normal business hours (39.4 percent)
3. Lack of parent involvement or understanding (29.7 percent)
4. Implementing a new instructional approach (23.7 percent)
5. Lack of digitized curriculum (21.4 percent)

Administrators’ most common digital learning challenges include:
1. Providing relevant and effective PD (37.3 percent)
2. Device management (35.8 percent)
3. Technological infrastructure such as Wi-Fi, security, etc. (31.1 percent)
4. Lack of instructor collaboration (24.1 percent)
5. Assessing and reporting on teaching strategy effectiveness (23.1 percent)

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Laura Ascione

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