The digital evolution and technological advancement have affected every area of modern everyday life. Today everyone can get instant access to information on almost any subject they desire. Additionally, new file formats, websites, and apps appear constantly and greatly enrich the previous opportunities for learning and information exchange. It is therefore not surprising that the digital age has greatly affected the education process and the learning needs of today’s students.
Many students are faced with the need to improve their information management skills in the digital environment. With such a variety of widely accessible information, the pull pupils end up with is often quite overwhelming and distracting from the original goal of the task (Nelson, Voithofer, & Cheng, 2019). Studies reveal that modern students suffer from greater concentration and focus issues than their predecessors, which can be linked to the overabundance of available data (Lee & Wilkerson, 2018; Baron, 2019). On a similar note to balancing issues, some of the learners might be in need of greater personal assistance and contact with the teacher when technology is introduced into the classroom routine (Lee, Young & Cheung, 2019). Generally speaking, modern learners are in need of assistance and support in managing the ever-growing role of technology in their education and daily routine.
At the same time, for many students, digital technology opens the door to opportunities that were unapproachable for them before. It enriches the learning process allowing a teacher to incorporate a lot more interactive elements than was previously possible (Alfadil, Andreson & Green, 2020). For some disciplines, where constant practice is necessary to achieve high-standard results, the use of technology becomes a dealbreaker. Today, the use of digital technology in the classroom is by itself a need, whereas, in the recent past, the concept was closer to an opportunity (Starkley, 2019). Teachers now understand that the introduction and incorporation of technological elements into their approaches to the class are, in a way, a requirement (Nelson et al., 2019). As modern students exist in a highly digitalized world outside of the classroom, it is only natural that technology is a part of the effective way to connect with them.
The part digital technology plays in the learning needs of modern students can be largely explained by the evolution of the educational process in general. The standards across all areas are rising, with students reporting high levels of both pressure and excitement in their daily learning (Lee & Wilkerson, 2018). Modern pupils are accustomed to the idea of the world being their playground and are eager to explore the opportunities digital technology presents them with.
To conclude, the overall impact digital technology has on learners’ needs is mixed and largely double-edged. It increases the necessity for human connection and productive communication, making the relationships between teachers and students more valuable than ever. Yet, at the same time, digitalization becomes a need itself due to the exciting and useful opportunities it provides. It is important to also consider that the digitalization of education itself originated in response to the pre-existing needs and requirements that it then satisfied. All the needs of modern learners in the digital environment have originated on top of their need for greater amounts of diverse and accessible information being satisfied. Hence any attempts to satisfy these modern needs by actively removing the digital component from the system are counterproductive.
Alfadil, M., Anderson, D. & Green, A. (2020) Connecting to the digital age: using emergent technology to enhance student learning. Education and Information Technologies, (25), pp. 1625–1638. Web.
Baron, N. S. (2017). Reading in a digital age. Phi Delta Kappan, 99(2), 15–20. Web.
Nelson, M. J., Voithofer, R., & Cheng, S.-L. (2019). Mediating factors that influence the technology integration practices of teacher educators. Computers & Education, 128(330), p. 344. Web.
Lee, V. R., & Wilkerson, M. (2018). Data use by middle and secondary students in the digital age: A status report and future prospects. Commissioned Paper for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Board on Science Education, Committee on Science Investigations and Engineering Design for Grades 6-12. Web.
Lee, C., Young, A., & Cheung, K. (2019). Learner perceptions versus technology usage: A study of adolescent English learners in Hong Kong secondary schools. Computers & Education, 133, pp. 13–26. Web.
Starkey, L. (2019). A review of research exploring teacher preparation for the digital age. Cambridge Journal Of Education, 50(1), 37-56.