Big Idea - Shifts in the Online Classroom

Photo of a old red school house. Today's students have grown up as digital natives. They approach work, learning and play in new ways; absorb information quickly from multiple sources simultaneously; and expect instant responses and feedback (Tapscott, 1999).

The traditional model of the teacher standing at the front of the class, delivering lectures, writing notes on the chalkboard and calling on students sitting in rows might seem a little 'old school' to online learners.

Participation within a virtual classroom has opened doors to increased flexibility for students and teachers, access to information and opportunities for collaboration.

The changing demographic that digital natives represent has provided a climate where the use of student-centered learning is more commonplace (Downes, 2005). A traditional teacher-focused transmission of information is now becoming increasingly criticized.

This has paved the way for a widespread growth of 'student-centered learning' as an alternative approach (O'Neill & McMahon, 2005).

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