With the increasing use of digital technology, more and more students use resources online and computer-based programs to expand their learning. However, tutors and educators alike are still not necessarily in the forefront when using technology. In today’s competitive learning environment, there is greater emphasis and need for educators to encourage students to understand and interpret student’s digital habits and communication patterns. Unfortunately, we notice that students are the front users when it comes to digital technology use and educators, particularly tutors, are catching up, while many are still falling behind. This creates a digital divide when establishing an effective learning environment, especially with one-one-one instruction.
Possible reasons for these may be due to lack of support to integrate digital technology, inability to incorporate lessons, practice methods, and understanding on how to use virtual programs, and lack of resources to incorporate digital technology during instruction. Some ‘traditional’ tutors may also prefer to use the paper-pencil based approach, using non-digital workbooks, resources, or materials. Others may have poor experience of technology-enhanced teaching and learning to facilitate course-planning, assessment, and instruction, that essentially they opt not to use digital learning tools to enhance tutoring instruction.
However, it is important to point out the 21st century skills require today’s generation to develop strong research and communication skills and to using digital technology to enhance these skills. Since knowledge-sharing is now readily available through online or via the internet, students are encouraged to connect, communicate, and understand how information and resources can be shared and utilized to perform tasks and projects. As a result, it is vital to promote the use of technology into learning and consider a repository of digital resources to serve as a supportive scaffold.
Let’s consider how information technology can change the conditions for tutoring and how specifically interactive, digital content may change the nature and means of instruction and conditions for learning. Today, the digital components and processes can be integrated in learning (or e-learning or distance learning), while changing the structural approach of instruction. These components include our interaction through computers, mobiles, i.e. organized in learning platforms, as well as means of documentation like e-portfolios, blogs, wikis, and image collections. We also perform virtual communication and sharing through social media and various networks. These days we even use media sites to expand our learning repertoire using YouTube and free online courses. Evidently, the most profound changes of information technology is the different structural modes of communication, in which content are thus conveyed by a screen in forms of visual modes and text and some content often embedded in social media network. All these changed conditions obviously had an impact on teaching and learning. Digital literacy is now one of the competencies required to engage in school and in the workforce.
As tutor, I recommend the use of digital technology and computer-based programs to enhance student learning experience. These not only provide as scaffold or a digital repository for students, but it also simplifies practice. Exposing students to wide array of rich-media content, for instance, is an effective approach to communicating to students the material, lesson, and curriculum. This does not mean to abandon the traditional practice of teaching using paper-based approach, but rather to digital ways to promote learning. After all, students perform most effectively when engaging in interactive yet fun and educational activities.