Why Students Are Better Prepared for Learning When Teachers Use Digital Tools in Their Instruction

Jen Boyle from the BEC PD Department

Ever walk into a classroom: zero energy, apathetic students, slumped over, eyes glazed? Let’s face it, as educators, we’ve all had our days.


Students’ Brains are Wired for Technology

According to the Joyce Foundation, excellent teachers—approximately the top 25 percent—create vibrant learning communities where students achieve about a year and a half of learning in one grade level. Single common denominator?

The jury is out, but overwhelmingly, the data shows these educators are finding ways tap into a finely honed, uber-complex system within reach of every student, 24/7.

Curious what this amazing system might be? You got it: it’s the human brain!

Consider this fact: by the time students step into our kindergarten classrooms, their brains are already hardwired for digital learning. No surprise! Their life experiences have built thousands upon thousands of connections due to the digital encounters they have every day—and many of them are already in place by age two.


Digital Tools Bring Relevance to Instructional Material

When we tap into the power of that vast network created by digital life experiences and use it in our instruction, our students will connect to lessons more deeply, have far greater motivation, display more perseverance in complicated tasks, and see the learning in our classrooms as an integral—and inherently more valuable—part of life. As always, with successful instruction, RELEVANCE is key.

When we implement digital gradual release—and integrate technology into mini-lessons—during guided learning opportunities and independent practice, relevance truly becomes the fourth “R.”


The Digital World is Home Base

Equally important, our digital veterans are most comfortable when they can network, reach beyond classroom walls, get feedback online, and see gamification (applying typical elements of game playing: point scoring, teaming-collaboration, rules, etc.) infused in our lessons or practice. Digital environments are a perfect way to make our digital veterans feel comfortable with the rigor of new core standards as we make the learning personal.

The flipside is not pretty: when technology is absent, our students tend to be absent, too, because their lives are increasingly centered around the new digital age.

So make learning personal for your students—check out sites like Benchmark Universe, Wonderopolis, and Blendspace.


Get your students prepped for learning. Get into their heads in a BIG way and see how far their learning will go!

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Comments for this article
  1. Amy Rudd

    Technology is a gateway of learning opportunity! I love the idea of “digital gradual release”. Thinking through how Benchmark Literacy is also built on gradual release, it makes sense to do the same with technology. Thanks for sharing this link with technology.

    • Ashley Hamilton

      Hi, Amy-

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts- we’re so glad you enjoyed the post. Please feel free to share our blog with anyone you think would benefit from its advice! We look forward to hearing from you again. Have a great day!