iServi News | 16 October 2020 | Term 4, Week 1
Young people today are regarded as digital warriors and consumers of all things IT. Digital tools and technologies, including the internet and students’ digital literacy, have significantly changed the way students communicate and access information. As educators, it is important that we continually upskill ourselves in the use of digital tools and technologies to promote inquiry-based learning and enhance student engagement (Zhao & Hoge, 2005).
Given students enthusiasm for digital technology, I considered how I could explore digital platforms creatively to facilitate students’ learning. Contemporary research suggests the use of social media as a learning tool allows for greater engagement of students in meaningful learning experiences, promotes fun and encourages creativity (Bull & Adams, 2012).
Last term in Year 8 Humanities and Social Sciences, students learnt about the experiences and perspectives of people living in Medieval Europe. To demonstrate their understanding of the life of Charlemagne and the experience of living during the Black Death epidemic of bubonic plague, students created a mock Facebook profile and a series of Instagram posts, respectively. Using appropriate pictures and common hash tags, students constructed posts that reflected people’s thoughts, attitudes, and experiences, and described significant events. The simulated use of online software and digital applications prompted enthusiastic written responses and robust discussion amongst students, with many students eager to read aloud and share their posts and hashtags with the class.
Dr Katie Thiveos