How to Boost Academic Achievement with Digital Learning Experiences
Despite all of the fragmentation in the educational community, there is still always one overriding goal: to boost academic achievement. While various groups will argue about what exactly that means or how best to accomplish it, that goal remains the same across the board. And digital learning experiences can help in your efforts to achieve that goal. And the best part is that most of the resources are offered without cost. While we have perhaps gotten used to this state of affairs, it is really stunning to think about the wealth of free resources that are available.
Educational researchers have long known that one of the main keys to improved student performance is to increase student engagement. Digital learning experiences offer an enormous variety of ways to engage students. Fortunately, the digital world is still new enough that virtually any digital tool will have some appeal to students. And the best, most innovative digital tools have an immense appeal that is likely to last. For example, Google’s Expeditions are, in effect, virtual field trips that are easily accessible through a smartphone, ideally (but not necessarily) with Google Cardboard added in. In other words, amazing free field trips to literally every part of the globe have become a reality. There is a trip available to spark the interest of every student.
Of course, students still need to learn basic skills and those are not always quite as inherently interesting as a virtual walk through Rome. But digital learning experiences can still help boost student performance. For example, CK12 offers a wide range of open educational resources. They cover most science and math subjects as well as a few areas in the humanities. They offer customizable textbooks, videos, animations, and practice problems. These tools make it possible to personalize instruction for each student—at no cost.
A similar platform, and one with perhaps a bit more student appeal, is Khan Academy. They offer an ever-wider range of resources, with a focus on higher-level math and an emphasis on videos. They have also partnered with The College Board to offer free SAT prep—an important offering, given that many families pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for private test prep classes.
Each student’s needs are different, but the wide variety of digital learning tools means that there is something out there that can enhance motivation and increase access to free, quality digital learning materials in order to meet the unique interests and needs of each student.