Digital culture: what is the importance and how it can be worked in school

17 minutes to read

The relevance of having a digital culture in education became even more evident during the new coronavirus pandemic. Schools that had already incorporated educational technology into their teaching practices had less difficulty adapting to the context of social isolation, for example.

Although this topic was already being discussed by school principals and teachers before the crisis, there was not so much urgency to create a digital culture. In some schools, certain practices had already been implemented; however, in most of them, insufficiently.

Educators had already noticed its importance, considering the needs that arise as our society evolves and its mandatory requirement in the BNCC (National Common Curricular Base) as well. However, this was an idea to be implemented in the not so near future, that is, it was not among the priorities.

To understand why your school needs to build a digital culture, find out below what it is, what its benefits are for students and the school, how to implement it, what tools to use for it and how to integrate it into the curriculum .

What you will find in this article:

What is digital culture

Briefly, we can say that the term “digital culture” refers to the necessary adaptations to accompany technological advances arising from digital transformation, implying the use of digital tools in daily activities and reflection on this.

In the educational context, this means integrating this type of resource into pedagogical practices. That is, instead of using them only in a timely manner – such as in slide shows or showing videos during classes – schools include them extensively in their daily lives, making them part of the teaching-learning process.

In other words, schools must promote the use of these tools, encourage reflection on them, teach students how to use them in different contexts, show how they are created and how they impact society.

The ICT Education 2019 survey indicates that only 28% of schools located in urban regions use virtual learning environments or platforms, of which 64% are part of the private education network. However, more than half of the students and internet users (58%) used cell phones to do school activities during the analyzed period.

In light of this, we note that although the potential to reach a large number of students using technology in education is high, since there are indications that this is well accepted by them, this reality has not yet reached most Brazilian schools.

Therefore, it is important to look for ways to establish digital culture in your school, ensuring that it is attuned to education trends and knows how to arouse interest in your students. As a result, several benefits will be noticed.

What are the advantages of digital culture

Children and young people use technology more and more on a daily basis. So, it can be a great ally to ensure your engagement in the learning process and the development of skills that lead to the integral training of students.

Here are some of the main advantages of digital culture at school for both students and the college.

Meets new student needs

Digital natives – children and young people who grew up in the presence of digital technologies – are naturally attracted to these resources and find it easy to use them. Thus, their behaviors and habits are quite different from those of people born in other times.

Today’s children and teenagers are accustomed to accessing a large amount of information quickly, surfing the internet, communicating via electronic devices, playing video games or online games, watching videos and cartoons quite often.

They have different needs, so traditional teaching, in which the teacher transmits knowledge and students learn passively, following the same pattern and style, is outdated and does not meet their demands.

Given this, it has become increasingly challenging to hold their attention during classes and awaken their interest in studies. On the one hand, they are eager to discover new things. But on the other hand, many schools use methods that are not sufficiently stimulating.

Implementing a digital culture at school is a way to bring the teaching-learning process in line with these new demands. Thus, it is possible to optimize it and engage your students, as discussed below.

Helps increase student engagement

When the school is able to really integrate technology into its teaching practices, it is easier to engage students. This is because students feel more encouraged to participate in the proposed activities.

In addition, digital culture makes it possible to adopt an individualized teaching approach, which allows students to identify difficulties and strengths. Thus, each of them is able to develop at their own pace and according to their learning style.

Consequently, student engagement increases – as it reduces the chances of being frustrated by not being able to learn at the same pace as your peers, for example – and they learn better.

Optimizes the teaching-learning process and school management

Technological tools optimize all activities related to the teaching-learning process, from class planning, through homework and group work to assessments.

So, the work of teachers is optimized, as they spend less time to plan their classes and have more resources at their disposal to facilitate the explanation of complex concepts and evaluate their students, for example.

Students also notice practicality when solving exercises and studying at home. They can do this through digital platforms, obtaining immediate feedback and understanding what went wrong, as well as watching video lessons to clarify doubts that persist after classes.

The benefits are not limited to these two groups in the school community. The digital culture must also be present in the routine of school principals, optimizing school management processes.

Allows you to develop socio-emotional skills and abilities

Since the digital culture promotes a profound transformation in the teaching-learning process, several skills and competences pointed out in the BNCC as fundamental to the personal and professional life of any individual can be developed.

Students are encouraged to take a more active stance, becoming protagonists of their learning, for example. In addition, depending on how the school uses digital resources, it is possible to stimulate creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, leadership, among other socio-emotional skills.

In this way, the school manages to provide comprehensive education and trains young people prepared to face the challenges that arise in the future, finding effective solutions to problems and promoting beneficial transformations for society.

How digital culture can be worked on at school

As you read this article, you may have noticed some possibilities of working with digital culture at school. But, next, we will dedicate ourselves especially to this theme, presenting some suggestions on how to do this.

The fifth general competence described in the BNCC determines that the student needs to know how to use and create technologies adopting a critical and reflective stance in social practices to achieve the desired purposes – communication, access and sharing of information, production of knowledge and problem solving both in personal and collective life.

Therefore, in addition to having technological resources – computers, smartphones, tablets, internet access, among others -, it is necessary to adapt them to educational activities considering various dimensions involved in this. Digital culture is much more than just using electronic devices in classrooms.

Promote reflections on technologies and teach how to create them

According to the BNCC, schools need to promote reflections on the use of technologies and also teach students how to create them. It is interesting to study theoretical, conceptual and practical aspects of technologies. One way to do that is to offer classes in robotics, programming, electronics.

In addition, it is important for students to understand the implications of technologies, that is, how they affect society and how they can be used to achieve specific goals, promoting changes to make the world and their daily lives better. In this way, they will make a conscious and critical use, meeting what is proposed in the BNCC.

Adapt the lessons

In a school that truly embraces digital culture, classes are planned with this concept in mind. The approach, content, tools to support classes and teaching materials consider the context in which students are inserted and their demands.

In addition, teachers seek to develop skills that go beyond academic knowledge. This is not always possible starting from classes prepared according to traditional models, which are generally not concerned with developing these other skills.

Therefore, it is important that educators understand what digital culture is, know how to use the tools made available by the school to promote it and are open to making changes in their teaching methods.

Invest in personalizing teaching

As mentioned, digital culture allows for personalized teaching. This approach respects the individual characteristics of students, offering what they need to develop according to their profiles.

So, in addition to being an innovation that is aligned to the moment we live in and to the new needs of students, by allowing them to have freedom and autonomy, personalized teaching improves and optimizes learning.

This is possible because students’ skills and difficulties are identified by teachers and taken into account when they develop their pedagogical strategies. Thus, students assimilate the studied contents better.

To achieve these goals, some of the most effective and practical resources are educational technologies, such as adaptive platforms, which we will discuss shortly in this article. Therefore, the digital culture facilitates the implementation of this methodology.

What tools can be used in education

Now see the main tools that can be used to promote digital culture in your school.

Adaptive platforms

Among the tools currently available, adaptive platforms are noteworthy. After all, they are based on the personalization of teaching, which brings several benefits that we have already addressed, and offer several resources. Some of them are:

  • video classes;
  • questionnaires;
  • educational games;
  • syllabus;
  • student development statistics;
  • complete didactic material;
  • online assessments.

In addition, the use of a teaching platform allows the teacher to make his classes more dynamic, facilitating comprehension, maximizing the use of classes and engaging students.

It is also interesting because it allows parents and guardians to closely monitor the evolution of children and adolescents, since the information is recorded on the platform.

Digital Books

Digital books are great tools to implement at school. Firstly, because it is possible to access them anywhere and at any time, all you need is a device to open them.

Thus, students are not at risk of forgetting them at home and do not need to carry heavy backpacks daily to have all the textbooks necessary to accompany classes and solve the proposed exercises.

Another reason is the possibility to interact with them. Students can make markings and notes on the pages, as well as easily return to a point they want to reread. Digital books are also interesting in that they allow them to do research to answer questions on the device used for reading.

Gamification

In education, gamification is a strategy that is based on the use of educational games. They promote the students’ immersion in the concepts studied in classes, allowing students to put them into practice, also learn outside the classroom and have fun during the process.

In addition, games arouse the interest of students, making them feel stimulated with learning. As a result, the contents are assimilated more effectively and their school performance improves.

Games also require the association of various skills to solve the proposed problems, such as concentration, logical reasoning and creativity. This is yet another reason to encourage your inclusion in your school’s pedagogical practices.

Another positive point of educational games is the fact that there are options for students of various age groups, especially those in early childhood education and in the early years of elementary school, which cover all subjects.

Social networks

Social networks can also be useful tools for schools that embrace digital culture. You can use them in a variety of ways both to promote learning and to encourage connection between members of the school community.

According to TIC Educação 2019, 94% of private schools located in urban areas already have a profile or page on social networks. They are a great way to inform students and their guardians about important events and activities related to the school, such as exam weeks and simulations.

They also serve as a means of direct communication with family members who are unable to contact the school in person, giving them the opportunity to do so in a more convenient way.

Another idea is to create pages to disseminate knowledge and projects carried out at the school or groups to discuss them. This can contribute to increase students’ interest in participating in these activities, since they occur in an environment that they feel more comfortable expressing themselves with.

How to integrate digital culture into the curriculum

To integrate digital culture into your school’s curriculum, it is necessary to follow some steps, observing some precautions. Follow!

Have good planning

Any change in teaching practices needs to be well thought out and planned. This is the only way to have a clear and broad view of what is being proposed, how to put it into practice, when to do it and what will be needed at each stage.

Therefore, the college needs to establish in a clear and organized way how digital culture will be implemented in the school, proposing an agenda with all the stages of this process and including all educators in decisions and planning. Thus, they will have a deep understanding of the concept and what is expected by the school board.

This also ensures that teachers are aligned when planning their classes and improves the relationship between them, bringing them closer together, which facilitates the creation and execution of interdisciplinary projects, for example.

Prepare teachers

Not all people learn to use electronic devices easily and intuitively discover all the functions available. So, for digital culture to be worked effectively in your school, it is essential that the faculty is prepared for this.

One of the biggest difficulties faced in schools that decide to work with digital culture is sometimes not the absence of devices and software, but rather the lack of teachers’ knowledge of how to use these tools effectively.

With that in mind, it is interesting that the directors of these schools provide educators with the possibility to learn to use technological tools and explore their functionalities in class.

Why is this important and how to do it?

During training to become educators and throughout their careers, teachers learn methods and take tests with their students to see what is most effective – a process that takes years.

Applying digital culture in schools requires relearning some concepts and rethinking pedagogical methodologies. So how could an educator do this without adequate preparation and achieve satisfactory learning outcomes? Teachers also need to develop specific skills!

This can be done through the promotion or indication of training focused on this subject. It is also possible to encourage the faculty of the college to meet to discuss it or look for ways to get in touch with other educators who are working on digital culture in their schools.

Provide the necessary tools

Having an adequate infrastructure is one of the most important points in digital culture. So school principals need to make sure that educators and students have access to them.

The electronic devices that will be used can be made available in classrooms or other spaces within the college, but students can also be encouraged to bring their own devices.

In addition, it is essential that everyone can connect to the internet on the school premises. Thus, teachers can do research during classes, display educational videos and students can solve exercises on the teaching platform, for example.

Choosing a teaching platform is extremely important. In addition to offering numerous features, they allow centralizing activities, facilitating access and use, and providing consistent and well-grounded materials.

Create specific disciplines

To offer comprehensive technology-related education, the best alternative is to make room for disciplines or practices specifically geared to this subject. Here, the idea is to include in the curriculum both disciplines such as robotics, programming and electronics as well as others focused on citizenship, digital ethics and the use of technological devices.

Some topics that can be worked on in class, even in the humanities disciplines, are: fake news, privacy in the virtual environment, importance of discerning public and private on the internet.

In summary, the disciplines must be guided by three axes: the impacts of technology on society, the use of technologies to solve problems and the way the digital world works.

List the areas of knowledge

Even if your school chooses to create specific subjects, the knowledge built on them must be related to that of other areas of knowledge, so that students understand the connection between them.

In this way, they will understand why they are studying and using technological devices – which is in line with the BNCC’s proposal for the conscious use of these devices – and what is the use of this for their lives.

As we have shown throughout this article, applying digital culture to your school’s curriculum brings several benefits, ensuring that your students are prepared to deal with the challenges of the future.

In addition, while implementing digital culture is challenging, since it requires addressing various aspects of technology, there are several ways of working with it at school. So, you can find ways to make that change easier for your college.

Now that you understand the importance of creating a digital culture in your school, get in touch with Plataforma Eleva to find out how we can help you with this and learn about all of our resources.

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