Last Updated 30 Dec 2020

Influence of Digital Media on Education

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A great man once said, “If we teach today’s students as we did yesterdays, we are robbing them of tomorrow. ” His name was John Dewey. He was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. This man is the inspiration for many enthusiastic educators, who wish to evolve education as the world around us changes, especially with the rapid reforms bestowed upon the education world through this monster that we call digital media. There is no running away from the fact that digital media has already changed the world.

It’s not going to stop altering the world it was created in anytime soon. So human beings have taken advantage of this fact. Since digital media reaches every corner of the globe, man has learned how to influence tremendous amounts of people through digital advertisements, expressed opinions on blogs, massive video sharing (Youtube), Internet radios (Pandora, Spotify), universal shopping outlets (Amazon, Ebay) and even extremely localized seller/buyer ran websites such as Craigslist. The list is never ending. Digital media has grabbed our society by the horns.

For this project I have chosen to analyze the impact of Digital media on education. Numerous communications technologies have been, and will continue to connect the expertise of professional educators. Digital media and the numerous communications technologies are connecting millions of people to:

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  1. Increase opportunities for a quality education.
  2. Increase audience networks to jumpstart a synergistic routine for online/afterschool studies.
  3. Easily develop effective studying techniques in younger children, which ultimately set children up for success. Education on Digital Media
  4.  Construct interactive communication for peer-to-peer studies.
  5. Give parents a chance to provide their children with an excellent structured education.
  6.  Develop online programs that are extremely user friendly, for parents and children.
  7. Learning everywhere.
  8. Introduce children to the safest possible online interactions for educational purposes.
  9. Allow children to become adaptive to the changing technologies involving digital media.
  10.  Discover a student’s strength and weaknesses through computer-generated statistics, graphs and tables.

These tables will be available to parents and children, at the discretion of the parents. Also, this will be available for regular adult students, hence online college portals (UMUC’s Webtycho). The incorporation of digital media into traditional education allows convenient learning alternatives, rather than the tradition textbook, notebook and highlighter approach. “Our students have changed radically. Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach. ” (Prensky, 2001) These days’ students use tablets and laptop computers, with wireless Internet to their advantage.

Digital media offers students of all education levels an enormous treasure chest of social practices, methodologies and even hands on assignments. Expert educators have become readily available to students virtually anywhere in the world (where and internet connection can be found. ) Of course, only digital immigrants who are adept to the use of digital media themselves will be afforded the opportunity to share their teaching skills globally. A learning application on your IPhone will never replace a quality teacher, who truly has a passion for teaching.

However, over the past several years, multiple online platforms have given students the opportunity to take the initiative on learning. “Tools will never outshine a brilliant teacher, but over the past fifteen years many tools, services, and platforms have become easier to adapt for learning purposes, to help command and hold the attention of learners for whom email is no more than an easy way to talk to “the man. ”” (Scholz, 2011) A website I have used in the past has helped me pass CLEP (College Level Entry Program) exams, which count for 3 college credits.

You can earn these credits simply by passing the examinations, which are usually more difficult than easy. The CLEP system allows students to basically take the final exam of an entry-level college course, without ever having to take the course. This website I utilized and came to appreciate is www. instantcert. com. You have to pay a monthly subscription, which is totally worth it if you apply yourself. There is no instructor for the study guides and test samples provided by the websites creators. It’s simply you and the books. Raw learning at its finest.

Of course, there are also online tutoring programs, which provide private tutors for virtually all-academic subjects. Live online courses (much like CMST 301) are available to students of all ages. I would like to point out the difference between an online college course, and an online tutoring program. UMUC’s online program is the perfect example of an online college, where students earn actual college credits that apply towards an official college degree. Then there’s academic tutoring programs, such as Instantcert. com, which I mentioned previously.

Another fine example of an online tutoring program is the princetonreview. com. The Princeton review does not offer college credits; it simply aids motivated students in their understanding of whatever subject matter they are pursuing. The concept of “learning everywhere” has never been easier, thanks to digital media. “Digital learning not only takes place online or in the university classroom but is also situated in high schools, museums, after school programs, home school living rooms, public libraries, and peer-to-peer universities.

Learners do not learn exclusively in the university where “master-teachers” impart their insights under the tree of knowledge. ” (Scholz, 2011) I have found the usage of tourist-interactive digital media programs in museums to be quite useful and educational. Learning everywhere is already happening, in homeschools and public schools. One comparison I would like to make known, is the difference in computer usage regarding homeschool and public schools. There is a graph below that sums up some very useful percentages.

The graph shows that the percentage of students utilizing computers at home increases, as their parent’s educational attainment increases, but that the percentage using computers at public school is more nearly equal across the levels of parental education. This proves that computer (Internet) usage for public education is on the rise. Some parents prefer their student’s education to remain traditional, hence the homeschooling. A traditional home school program, in the past has consisted of family bought textbooks and teaching material designed for the students parents.

Today however, there are multiple programs offered to parents, so they may have access to quality home school programs. Some of these programs involve the use of the Internet, and some do not. Many home school programs make use of DVD’s. You may notice the higher education attainment for parents makes a slight difference between parents who have bachelor’s degree and a graduate education (regarding homeschool and public school). This was expected. What was not expected was the difference between parents with a high school education, compared to parents with a 4-year degree. 5% compared to 82% is a huge gap. I predict that digital media will shorten this gap. User friendly, affordable and independent home school online programs will be developed by digital immigrants, programmers and educators who have grown up in the tech-savvy generation. The gap will naturally shorten as education becomes readily incorporated into digital media. Another surprise (to me personally) was the fact that the highest percentage for computer usage came from home school environments taught by parents with graduate educations.

I expected this percentage to be lower, due to the fact that most traditional home school systems tend to fray away from computer usage. But then again, this graph was created in 2003. I can see digital media having a direct effect on education for all these categories. Reason being, as time goes on, digital media usage in nursery school and students in grades K-12 will increase. It will increase because digital media is only furthering its reach. The good news concerning this graph, the percentage of computer usage in public schools remained relatively close in proximity.

Ranging from the lowest (78%) to the highest (84%), this shows that computer and digital media usage in public, private high schools and universities has already become very widely available. The graph above displays computer usage in households. The graph below displays the difference between computer usage and actual Internet usage by grade level from Nursery school through 12th grade. In 2003, it was easy to see the dramatic increase for computer and Internet usage ranging from nursery school all the way up to 10th grade.

By the time students reached 10th grade, the Internet and computer usage tended to even out at a moderate rate. Basically what this graph is telling us is that students begin learning how to use a computer and Internet as soon as they enter the school systems. The percentage that surprised me the most, was the nursery school computer and Internet usage beginning in nursery school. Even though this graph was originated by the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics), I questioned the fact that computer usage/Internet usage begins in nursery school.

It is happening today, and I predict this to be a growing trend. There are two major organizations, which exist today, whose sole mission is to safely incorporate digital media into preschool and kindergarten. The first major organization is the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). This organization is noticeably the largest, and well-funded organization for early educators in the United States. The 2nd is the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media organization.

These two amazing organizations have conducted research, which supports the use of digital media technology in preschool and kinder garden. A very brave statement was released by both organizations. The statement regarded technology and small children up to 8 years old. “Though the groups discourage "passive screen technology" usage -- like TV and DVDs -- with children under two, they don't suggest a ban on screens for preschoolers or kindergartners as some child-advocacy groups have suggested.

Nor do they say teachers should avoid using technology with young kids. Instead, the groups puts the onus on teachers to make smart decisions and use technology appropriately. ” (Guernsey, 2012) Conclusion: The digital media’s affect on education is more evident now than ever. If professional educators truly wish to reach their students in the world of pedagogy, I predict that these educators must become more adept to the way these new generations of students are accustomed to learning. Today, students learn on their own terms, with their own study methods.

The sooner professional educators embrace technology and digital media fully, the sooner our students will reach their full potential.


  1. Scholz, R. T. (2011, March 31). Learning Through Digital Media » Introduction: Learning Through Digital Media.
  2. Learning Through Digital Media. Retrieved February 23, 2013, from http://learningthroughdigitalmedia. net/introduction-learning-through-digital-media
  3. DaBell, M. , Chapman, C. , Spellings, M. , Whitehurst, G. , ; Schneider, M. U. S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2006).
  4. Computer and internet use by students in 2003 (2006-065). Retrieved from Institute of Educational Sciences website: http://0-nces. ed. gov. opac. acc. msmc. edu/pubs2006/2006065. pdf
  5. Guernsey, L. (2012, March 7). Saying yes to digital media in preschool and kindergarten. Retrieved from http://www. huffingtonpost. com/lisa-guernsey/saying-yes-to-technology-_b_1325070. html
  6. Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6. Retrieved from http://www. marcprensky. com/writing/prensky - digital natives, digital immigrants - part1. pdf

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