These days, technology is so heavily ingrained in our day-to-day lives, we don't even think twice about it - from using contactless cards to GPS technology. This reliance on technology has drastically changed the way young people engage with information; they expect immediate answers and an overwhelming breadth of resources in which to find them.
Today's students have grown up with technology in a way unlike any generation before them. But how is this social shift affecting the way they learn in school?
Mobiles, tablets and laptops that are used in the classroom are simply there to complement traditional teaching methods not replace them, but it is becoming increasingly clear that visual mediums and interactive programmes are preferred by tech-savvy students.
Using apps and computer programmes can bring the curriculum to life, providing visual cues that students are more likely to retain. E-learning also acknowledges that each student will prefer to study in their own way and at their own pace, so its flexibility can help students with different learning styles. Students like 16-year-old sixth form student Max.
Max is studying the LiFE programme, a suite of e-learning financial education programmes. Max has Special Educational Needs and can find it difficult to listen, process and remember discussions and information. Max's mum, Sarah Selby-Bird, says using a digital learning platform for studying financial education suited his learning style, and has given him the confidence to continue learning.
"The content of the LiFE programme and the platform on which it is delivered has really captured his imagination. As his parents we wish more opportunities would be available for this way of learning, as we have seen a transformation in his whole outlook to learning."
"His learning experience has been transformed and in turn it has boosted his self esteem. The programme has allowed him to work at his own pace, and how the learning materials are presented really suits Max’s learning style. Max can do things like colour code certain topics so that he can remember key parts of the study material and revisit parts he is unsure of."
Solely delivering content online either through video or animation is still a long way off, but integrating it into a lesson plan or offering independent learning programmes that can be completed in a students own time are definitely a good place to start. Not only does this keep the content exciting, but it helps students like Max to really engage with the content in a way that is familiar to them in their day-to-day life.
Interactive games such as The Real Life Game, can be used across different areas of the curriculum including careers and citizenship. Students can learn by experience in these games, bringing textbook theory to life.
And it’s not just what they learn as part of the curriculum. Digital skills in employment (PDF) are still not where they should be, and students must be preparing for the jobs of tomorrow, familiarising themselves with technology that could be a part of their daily working life.
Bringing technology into the classroom - through the use of one-off apps, ongoing inpendent e-learning programmes, like LiFE, or even tablets and computers can improve students' digital skills, and help to increase their engagement and encourage their learning in and out of the classroom.