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I have written posts on the topic of Digital Pedagogy previously: “Digital Pedagogy: What do we need to know?” and “Digital Pedagogy” and I think that it’s a topic worth looking at again.

What is Digital Pedagogy?

ACRL define digital pedagogy as:

[focusing] specifically on the use of technology to break down learning barriers and enhance students’ learning experiences.

Hybrid Pedagogy defines digital pedagogy as:

…precisely not about using digital technologies for teaching and, rather, about approaching those tools from a critical pedagogical perspective. So, it is as much about using digital tools thoughtfully as it is about deciding when not to use digital tools, and about paying attention to the impact of digital tools on learning.

JISC defines digital pedagogy as:

…the study of how digital technologies can be used to best effect in teaching and learning.

Do We Need a Digital Pedagogy?

The simple answer is yes.

Of course, this answer then invokes another question: “but why?”

Where digital pedagogy is the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning, it also involves the integration of digital tools, resources and methods into the learning process to improve student engagement, understanding and retention. As teachers we need to be thinking about why we are using a technology. As such, here is a list of guiding questions to help us frame our thoughts about adopting technology in the classroom:

  • What problems will it solve?
  • Does it enhance the learning process?
  • Does it allow us to complete a task that in non-digital ways would be much harder/unworkable?
  • Does it assist in demonstrating a task?
  • Does it enable groupwork or collaboration?
  • Does it allow us to share curriculum content in a single platform?
  • Does it prepare the learner for employment?
  • How will we know if the technology is causing the expected result?
  • Will this help all students think and learn more deeply?
  • How will this tech empower students to control their own learning?
  • Does this tech prevent great ‘analogue’ thinking and learning?

Let’s put the need for a digital pedagogy into perspective. From 2008:

Today’s students use technology (IM, Facebook, Flickr, Skype) to be constantly connected— to friends, family, information and entertainment. Technology allows them to connect with more people, in more ways, more often… The current generation seamlessly transition between their ‘real’ and digital lives (BECTA 2008, p. 12).

The above quote was published in 2008.


The iPhone was only 1 year old in 2008. We’re now on waiting on iPhone 15 being released in September 2023 if Apple follows its traditional release patterns.

But back to the quote. BECTA saw in 2008 the role that technology was having in students’ lives. 15 years later the statement needs updating in terms of the tools that we use to connect with other people, but it rings true in every other way-and much more so than what was thought about technology in 2008. It permeates every aspect of our life, that it didn’t then: think about contactless payment; smart devices in the home (fridge/freezers, lights, etc); how we use one device (our phone) as a multi-functional device: phonecalls, messaging, email, photos & videos, music, streaming music & video content, internet browsing, e-commerce and as a mass storage device (along with much more that I haven’t listed like Augmented Reality). But think about how those tools can be used in schools – learning via your phone: podcasts, video tutorials and online learning platforms can all be managed from this device, which means we can use it to learn in so many powerful ways that didn’t previously exist. We can engage pupils in ways that didn’t previously exist. We can enhance pupil learning in ways that previously didn’t exist!

Using Digital Pedagogy to Meet the Needs of Our Learners

using digital pedagogy to meet the needs of learners

As the world increasingly becomes more digital, our pedagogy needs to adapt and evolve to meet these new challenges.

Our pedagogy has adapted to meet a range of student needs, some of which would typically include:

  1. Personalised Learning: Technology can be used to personalise learning by providing learners with access to resources that are tailored to their specific needs. For example, teachers can use adaptive learning software that adjusts to each student’s abilities and provides targeted instruction.
  2. Online Resources: Teachers can use technology to provide learners with access to online resources, such as videos, podcasts, and interactive games, that can enhance their learning experience. Online resources can also provide learners with opportunities to explore topics in greater depth and at their own pace.
  3. Communication: Technology can be used to facilitate communication between teachers and learners. For example, teachers can use email, messaging apps, or online discussion forums to provide learners with feedback and support.
  4. Collaboration: Technology can be used to support collaboration and group work among learners. For example, teachers can use online platforms that allow learners to work together on projects, share ideas, and provide feedback to one another.
  5. Assessment: Technology can be used to support assessment and evaluation of learners. For example, teachers can use online quizzes, tests, and assessments to measure learner progress and identify areas where additional support may be needed.
  6. Accessibility: Technology can be used to support learners with disabilities or special needs. For example, teachers can use assistive technologies, such as text-to-speech software, screen readers, or speech recognition tools, to support learners with visual, auditory, or physical impairments.

Overall, technology can be a powerful tool for teachers to meet the diverse needs of learners. By using technology effectively, teachers can create a more engaging, personalised, and inclusive learning experience for all students.

Using Digital Pedagogy to Enhance Learning Outcomes

using digital pedagogy to enhance learning outcomes

Teachers can enhance learning outcomes with technology by using it in various ways, such as:

  1. Digital Content: Teachers can use digital content, such as videos, podcasts, and interactive learning resources, to supplement classroom instruction and provide students with additional learning opportunities. Digital content can also be used to differentiate instruction and cater to diverse learning styles.
  2. Active Learning: Technology can be used to promote active learning by providing students with interactive simulations, virtual labs, and games that encourage them to explore concepts and apply their knowledge. Active learning can increase student engagement and help students retain information better.
  3. Formative Assessment: Teachers can use technology to implement formative assessment strategies, such as online quizzes and surveys, to monitor student progress and provide timely feedback. Formative assessment can help teachers identify areas where students need additional support and adjust instruction accordingly.
  4. Collaboration: Technology can be used to promote collaboration and teamwork among students. Teachers can use online tools, such as discussion forums and collaborative documents, to facilitate group work and peer-to-peer learning.
  5. Adaptive Learning: Technology can be used to personalise learning by providing students with adaptive learning software that adjusts to their individual needs and learning styles. Adaptive learning software can provide targeted instruction, practice exercises, and assessments to help students achieve their learning goals.
  6. Flipped Classroom: Teachers can use technology to implement the flipped classroom model, where students watch pre-recorded lectures or presentations outside of class and then use classroom time to engage in hands-on activities, discussions, and problem-solving tasks.

Overall, technology can be a powerful tool for teachers to enhance learning outcomes. By using technology effectively, teachers can create a more engaging, interactive, and personalised learning experience for their students.

Using Digital Pedagogy to Prepare Students for Employment

using digital pedagogy to prepare students for employment

Digital pedagogy refers to the use of digital technologies and digital media in teaching and learning. To prepare students for employment, digital pedagogy can be used in the following ways:

  1. Digital Skill Development: Digital pedagogy can be used to develop digital skills that are essential for employment. For example, students can be taught how to use software programs, design websites, or code applications. This is an area that a number of schools need to improve upon and it needs to start with timetabling – until we make space in the school timetable to allow teachers the time to develop these skills with pupils, the problem won’t be resolved.
  2. Digital Career Exploration: Digital pedagogy can be used to expose students to different career paths that require digital skills. For example, teachers can invite guest speakers from tech companies or organise virtual field trips to technology startups.
  3. Digital Portfolio Development: Digital pedagogy can be used to develop students’ digital portfolios, which showcase their skills, accomplishments, and work samples. Digital portfolios can be shared with potential employers or used to apply for internships or scholarships. I once had an interview with a top-end web design company in Belfast (Northern Ireland). The interview consisted of the interviewer (one of the Managing Directors) reviewing my web design portfolio and it was my job top defend and explain my design choices. That was it. Him, me and a large TV screen displaying websites I had built. I didn’t get the job, but I learned an awful lot about how important a portfolio can be and also how I need to be able to defend every one of my decisions to anyone. Our pupils can learn from this too.
  4. Digital Collaboration: Digital pedagogy can be used to teach students how to collaborate with others using digital tools. Collaboration skills are essential in the workplace, where teams often work remotely and use digital platforms to communicate and share information. Companies will always end up with a person who can do the job they are advertising for, but they really want to see how that person wil ember within the organisation-collaboration skills, and being able to work in a team is a big skill to have.
  5. Digital Citizenship: Digital pedagogy can be used to teach students about digital citizenship, which refers to the responsible use of digital technologies and online resources. Digital citizenship includes topics such as online safety, privacy, and digital etiquette, all of which are important in the workplace.

Overall, digital pedagogy can help prepare students for employment by providing them with the digital skills, knowledge, and experiences they need to succeed in the 21st-century workplace. By integrating digital technologies and digital media into their teaching, teachers can create a more engaging and relevant learning experience that better prepares students for their future careers.

Using Digital Pedagogy to Keep Pace With Technology

keeping up with technology

Digital pedagogy can be used to keep pace with technology by integrating the latest digital tools, platforms, and resources into teaching and learning. Here are some ways to do this:

  1. Continuous Professional Development: Teachers can attend professional development workshops, webinars, or conferences that focus on the latest digital trends and technologies. This can help them stay up-to-date with new developments in the field and learn new teaching strategies that incorporate digital tools. The difficulty with this is that the academic year is so tightly packed that it is difficult to create enough space and free time in the year to complete this. It is possible, but it really takes a conscientious effort to make this consistent. While the difficulties exit, the benefits are huge for teachers that do – the better qualified and more consistently developed teachers will typically see a return in their students exam results.
  2. Collaboration with Technology Experts: Teachers can collaborate with technology experts, such as instructional designers or educational technologists, to design and implement digital learning activities that align with the latest trends in the field. Many schools and companies are beginning to create ongoing connections with each other to share expertise, to the benefit of students. This helps pupils with learning new standards in subject areas and learn in new ways that can make learningmore effective.
  3. Use of Digital Learning Platforms: Teachers can use digital learning platforms, such as learning management systems, to deliver digital learning activities that keep pace with technology. These platforms often offer a variety of tools, such as multimedia content, discussion forums, and interactive assessments, that can enhance the learning experience. We can thank the Pandemic for the increase in use and existence of online learning platforms. It improves student learning, access to lesson and learning content and allows pupils to engage with curriculum content outside of the classroom, which has obvious positive outcomes for pupils.
  4. Student-Centered Learning: Digital pedagogy can be used to promote student-centered learning, which empowers students to use digital technologies to explore their interests and passions. This approach encourages students to take ownership of their learning and to use digital tools to pursue their goals.
  5. Project-Based Learning: Teachers can use project-based learning activities that require students to use digital tools to solve real-world problems. This approach helps students develop digital skills that are relevant to their future careers and encourages them to be creative and innovative in their use of technology.

Overall, digital pedagogy can help teachers keep pace with technology by providing them with the tools and strategies they need to create a more engaging, interactive, and relevant learning experience for their students. By using digital technologies and digital media in their teaching, teachers can create a more dynamic and adaptable learning environment that prepares students for the rapidly changing digital landscape.

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons for adapting your teaching pedagogy to include digital. Our pedagogy should always be engaged to be developed and improved. Truth be told, our pedagogy should always be ‘under construction’ or maybe more appropriately for teachers with more teaching experience, ‘under renovation.’ We should always be reflecting upon what works and what needs improvement in the classroom. The difficult aspect of this, if you’re like me, there may be a number of areas you want to improve or develop for your classes. My issue is time – as a subject leader, I have more responsibilities, duties and contraints on my time in school.

This means my advice to you is this: in the first instance be selective about what you want to change/develop/improve.

If you’re like me and you teach in a post-primary setting, you may have a number of exam classes. This is an area that I would prefer to focus on, as the curriculum content is typically exam-focused and so I can tailor my digital content to enagage pupils outside of the classroom.

There are also other issues to consider that you need to bear in mind so to not disadvantage any of your students, like the digital divide. This exists more prominently with younger students, but the evidence shows that older pupils will typically have their own digital devices. This allows us to make informed decisions about how to develop your digital pedagogy.

Little developments in your digital pedagogy that are considered, thought out and intentional will help you to ensure your digital pedagogy is evidence-backed and makes real enhancements to pupil learning.

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