The digital shift: Redefining access and engagement in education

Students in a lecture

As digital tools shape our lives, technology has evolved to become a significant part of any learning environment. While it can be difficult to strike the right balance between old and new-school approaches, with tech tools designed specifically for educators, they can create more engaging, dynamic, and personalised learning experiences, while also developing their own practice.

UNESCO’s 2023 GEM Report on Technology in education: A tool on whose terms? addresses the use of technology in education around the world. With relevance, equity, scalability and sustainability front of mind, the researchers write:

Education systems should always ensure that learners’ interests are placed at the centre and that digital technologies are used to support an education based on human interaction rather than aiming at substituting it.

At Voyage we’ve done a fair amount of work for the education sector, often through public sector organisations, and we couldn’t agree more.

Empowering educators in and out of the classroom

Technology can serve as an ally for educators. When done right it can enhance and evolve traditional pedagogical methods, fostering creativity, innovation, and adaptability. With access to a plethora of digital tools and resources, educators can personalise learning experiences, cater to more learning styles, and find inspiration for how to approach a particular topic or year group.

The rapid rise in technology and ripple effect throughout schools has, at times, left educators more burdened than supported in serving their students. What researchers have discovered is that for technology to have a positive impact, educators must be able to access relevant resources easily, to collaborate with peers, and to use technology to guide and improve meaningful learning.

Resource-rich platforms that have clear and intuitive navigation, are free of charge and continually updated, and provide a host of relevant information and insights, is one way technology can serve educators. Our recent project, the Kete Education Hub with Netsafe, is an excellent example of this.

With the Kete Education Hub, teachers and practitioners around New Zealand can search for informative blogs and content, as well as interactive tools and quizzes. With a streamlined menu, it’s straightforward to hunt out content based on a specific query or topic, for instance year groups, staying safe online, or advice for parents and school staff.

Transforming learning to excite and engage students

For students, when used intelligently, technology can serve as an entry into an abundance of possibilities. In simple villages and towns around the world, access to the internet can transform a child’s life, as they have the means to explore all educational topics and teaching styles available.

In classrooms, technology tools can offer immersive, interactive, and personalised learning options that take into account a far broader range of interests and preferences than can often be accommodated in a traditional learning environment. For tertiary study, virtual and augmented reality is bringing complex topics within medical and engineering fields into 3D reality.

Through multimedia resources, educational games and virtual simulations, technology can transform abstract and dry concepts into tangible experiences, igniting curiosity and fostering a deeper love for learning.

Within the classroom, students are encouraged to develop essential 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, collaboration, communication, project management, research and digital literacy, equipping them with the tools they’ll need once in the working world.

Finding the right balance

While there are many debates about what happens to our attention spans and ability to think critically if they have no boundaries or guidance on how to use technological tools, the positive impact of technology on education lies in its ability to democratise access to knowledge, empower individuals, and foster a culture of lifelong learning.

By breaking down barriers to education and bridging geographical divides, technology opens doors to opportunities once beyond reach, with learners of all ages and backgrounds encouraged to pursue their passions and find like-minded souls.

Technology and its impact challenges us to embrace change, adapt to new realities, and cultivate a growth mindset that values resilience, flexibility, and continuous evolution. The more educators can be supported to have access to resources and tools that are built specifically for them and their work, not as another add-on to navigate, the better the learning environment can be.

Check out our Netsafe Kete case study page to get a glimpse at the work we do.