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Digital teaching resources: the future of education?

A teaching content revolution has begun in the Netherlands that could change the face of teaching across the country. The idea is simple: to make digital content available for all teachers and students via itslearning. The vision is huge: to have a fully plugged in teaching community that gets fresh and current content every day.

Imagine starting your teaching day by logging onto your learning platform to check for the latest teaching content. Perhaps the big news of the day is a new report on global warming. You browse the new resources, sorting by level and subject, until something catches your eye: an interactive geography exercise based on the global warming report. You review the content, and decide to teach it that afternoon.

Connecting college to the digital world

This is a future envisioned by Erik van Noordenne, Commercial Director at da Vinci College. Erik is already responsible for delivering courses to 380 vocational colleges throughout the country. Teachers simply log onto itslearning and choose the course they want to use, and students automatically only see the courses they follow.

“At the moment, the content is still based on existing textbooks because that’s what teachers are familiar with,” explains Erik. “We have simply taken the content, adapted it for digital use and loaded it onto itslearning – and as more teachers get used to the concept, we are thinking increasingly digital. But the big change will come through the students, who already think and work digitally. The students will lead the way, not the other way around.”

Creating teaching resources for today’s students

For Erik, this means making better use of the technology by creating more videos and animations, and linking tasks to different media, such as discussion forums and blogs. “The key is to think like a student,” he says. “Students are happy online, they flick from static pages to videos and listening to podcasts. We need to think the same way when we make digital content. I don’t think the big publishing companies can do it. They’ve spent too long thinking in paper.”

Reducing costs on textbooks and increasing teaching quality

As well as helping motivate students, there are a number of more concrete benefits to using a learning platform with pre-loaded digital content. A user subscription to itslearning – preloaded with 380+ courses – is around half the price of a single textbook, and doesn’t need transporting or storing. itslearning also automates many of the daily tasks teachers need to do, such as marking assignments and completing reports, to help reduce teacher workload.

“There are many obvious reasons for using digital content,” explains Erik. “But for many principals, it comes down to better teaching quality. Teachers don’t have a lot of time, but many are already creating their own digital resources. If they can find the content they already need in the learning platform, they have more time to spend doing what they do best: teaching.”

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