There is a new digital divide on the horizon. It is not based around who has devices and who does not, but instead the new digital divide will be based around students who know how to effectively find and curate information and those who do not.
There's a whole new language being developed around the hottest trend in education: online learning. From MOOCs (like a cow would say it but with a hard K at the end) to OpenCourseWare to '21st century learning' ...
Curation is a valuable skill for today’s learner. In a culture of content overload, members that provide great content to their audience will be recognized leaders in network communities. Optimally, we equip students to differentiate good content from bad in preparation for their further education and careers. Curating an online topic (and allowing comments) also increases self-awareness and provides additional insight from others. The nuances of sharing content and writing to an audience become much better understood through interactivity between the curator and participating audience.
The technology they use in their personal lives just makes sense for use in their learning as well. If a student badly wanted a new tablet or app for his or her own personal use but wanted nothing to do with it for any kind of learning whatsoever, we may need to look at the disconnect.
But there are other reasons why education consistently turns to technology
The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published the government's intentions for 'modernising copyright' in a document, aptly called Modernising Copyright. It details many changes including some to the fundamental Education Exceptions to Copyright which are to be enacted through secondary legislation by October 2013.
Format shifting - moving data from one platform/device to another for personal or study purposes will be permitted.
Copyright Exceptions for education will be 'media neutral' - they will encompass all media - films, music, etc - not just text-based media.
Teachers will be permitted to use materials within the Exceptions for teaching to 'illustrate' their teaching.
The Exceptions will cover VLEs and institutionally managed authenticated services.
There are a number of new measures to assist archives and libraries perform their work of supporting learning and teaching in the digital age.
Further measures to support 'Disability' are also being introduced.
So virtual reality applications have the potential to transform our social and learning reality. They have the potential to transform the way we read and interact with text. They have the potential to transform the way and the places where we teach and the relationship between teachers and learners.
Only half of current working teachers believe they can use technology to motivate students to learn, compared to 75 percent of incoming teachers. Only 17 percent of current teachers believe technology can help students deeply explore their own ideas, compared to 59 percent of incoming teachers. And 26 percent of current teachers believe students can use technology to apply knowledge to problem-solving, compared to 64 percent of aspiring teachers.