Teaching Today’s Learners on their Terms

Sujatha Nair, Assistant Director (QA)
Hani Zohra Muhamad, Lead Educational Therapist
Nur Alia Salim, Senior Educational Therapist
Ashabiena Mohd Ashraff, Lead Educational Therapist
Janitha Panicker, Senior Educational Therapist
Soofrina Binte Mubarak, Senior Educational Therapist & Edutech Coordinator

“Teaching Today’s Learners on Their Terms” – an apt title for the learning and education of children today. Born in the millennium, these children take to technology like fish to water thus, the term “digital natives” is conferred on them to portray their symbiotic relationship with technology.

As children become more savvy with technology usage at a very young age, so too must adults and educators be. Born before the millennium, we might not be digital natives like these children, but are we ready to be “digital immigrants”, embracing technology and utilizing it in our teaching? On the other hand, is technology not the invention and creation of people from the past? Why are we not the digital native then? Do digital immigrants have to play catch-up with digital natives to be equipped with necessary skills or can we hold hands with them to guide them towards something new?

The EduTech Team of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) are continually thinking of ways to support the educators of the Main Literacy Programme (MLP) in order to elevate lesson designs and objectives with the integration of technology. The objective of this sharing was to bring to light the underlying pedagogical approaches in the efficacy of educational technology integration in the classrooms.


Today, teachers can be expected to be able to bring together pedagogical, content and technological knowledge (TPACK) for good learning. The DAS MLP educators and their classrooms are equipped with iPads, ceiling mounted short throw projectors, Mimio Teach Interactive Systems as well as Smart Boards to explore their extensive use of these tools to deliver instructional materials to their learners. The TPACK framework suggests that the 21st Century Learner will benefit most from this combination of teaching. This will then garner student engagement. Student engagement can be seen from 2 perspectives:

  1. Engagement level – authentic engagement, passive compliance, ritual engagement, retreatism and rebellion.
  2. Engagement types – behavioural engagement, emotional engagement and cognitive engagement.


“Ideally, students should be behaviourally, emotionally and cognitively engaged in learning. Additionally, in order to achieve authentic engagement where there is high attention and high commitment in learning, proponents of technology have argued that it can be an effective tool to meet this requirement. The benefits of technology as a teaching tool can be displayed in the forms of presentation of content, freedom of expression, authentic task and feedback. It is suggested that students are seen to be less overwhelmed and more participative with the use of technology.”


Educators often strive to achieve a balance between teaching and learning. There must be a good amount of imparting knowledge (teaching) and an equal amount of reciprocation from the learners – which is learning. Gagné published The Conditions of Learning back in 1965, suggesting that certain mental conditions must be present in order for knowledge absorption and retention to occur. He also introduced the 9 Events of Instruction, based on the internal and external cognitive factors that contribute to learning. The internal factors are the learner’s prior knowledge, while the external factors are outside stimuli, such as the form of instruction. Educators can use these 9 events of instruction to develop learning experiences that stick and offer 21st-century learners the opportunity to engage in every step of the instructional process.

To read this article in full click here

To read the 9 Events of Instruction click here

This article was published in FACETS Vol 1. 2018