Digital content saves money and liberates the teacher

Digital content can be updated continuously – and delivered instantly and far more cheaply than printed content. It can be embedded with video, hyperlinks, animations and individualised, self checking tests.

The savings may even pay for the necessary infrastructure. Indeed more than one US school district is raising bonds to borrow money for pay for interactive whiteboards and iPad-style tablets for all their students – which the districts calculate will be repaid from savings on text books and materials.

Inspirational teachers produce motivated learners. Digital learning makes it possible for every classroom teacher to access inspiring pictures and animations and enlist the online support of a national ‘master teacher’ in his or her subject. And that second, possibly different way of explaining a subject – that virtual ‘learning support assistant’ – may be just the difference that makes the difference.

Digital learning can liberate the teacher. Blended learning – or its advanced version ‘flipped learning’ or ‘180-degree learning’ – calls for the basic facts and information to be learned by the student on his or her own, online via his tablet or computer.

When students come to the classroom, the teacher’s role is then to correct any misunderstandings, provoke discussion and extend and enrich the students’ knowledge. She becomes a guide rather than an instructor.