Digital learning, all authentic learning, is dependent on one critical factor- the intrinsically motivated student. Most teachers view their instruction as an analogous process to the empty bucket, theory--the idea that students are empty vessels and teachers are imparting all the knowledge to the students by filling their heads with wisdom and knowledge. Paradoxically, all current theories and best practices of instruction contradict this notion. As a progressive society we seek students who are critical and reflective, and active, not passive learners in class. This active form of critical learning is the vanguard of teaching and learning supported by students and modeled by adults for a democratic society.
Students acquire knowledge through trial and error experimentation securing their thinking in a constructive process that is open to change and reflective thought. Curiously, schools conventionally model an instructional process that fails to incorporate the constructivist learning approach.
The digital learning model utilized by the Igeneration incorporates kinesthetic and metacognitive resources on the internet. Students, on their own, seek assistance through various instructional videos, 1:1 tutors and various virtual resources available today. Digital learning platforms demand student reflection and a personal motivation to synthesize the curriculum. This digital forum supports this teaching construct by eliciting student responses and engagement with the material and thereby, demanding teachers that are equally engaged.
Digital learning and self-motivated learning characterizes the teaching and learning process in the digital environment. It refines the student / teacher relationship and impels participants to engage the material thoughtfully. The demands of a post-modern society imply the need for students who are, in the words of Albert Einstein, passionately curious about their environs. Curious students are the best students. Technology and virtual learning paired with curiosity create abundant and dynamic learning opportunities for the 21st century classroom.
One need only visit a virtual classroom and witness the miraculous participation and change of students who have been marginalized socially, have an IEP, or simply go through the motions of memorizing and responding in the traditional direct instruction environment. As a teacher who supports a philosophy of critical pedagogy, the method encouraging students to question and challenge posited ideas, is crucial for a society to: socially, scientifically and humanely evolve. Virtual programs map out a course for our future and our children. Digital learning, the self- motivated learner, is at its core, the answer for liberating the last free state to us as humans which is the mind.
Keith Lockwood, Ph.D.
Manager of Teacher Effectiveness