Instilling Comfort in the Digital Classroom

Education advocate Tom Vander Ark featured a guest post on his blog, Getting Smart, about how technology is helping students grow comfortable in classroom environments. The author, Samantha Gray, commented on how technology is able to cater to the learning styles and personalities of a variety of students:

Digital aspects of classroom learning can help to empower every student in the classroom. One of the most challenging aspects of teaching can be creating a space where every student outgoing or shy feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and ideas. In many cases, the “outgoing” or talkative students dominate class discussions and the shy students fade into the backdrop of the discussion.

By using web tools like forums, message boards, twitter, or other online lecture tools, teachers can help empower the less vocal students in a classroom. Many shyer students are quiet during classroom discussions not because they don’t have anything to say, but because they are scared to speak out in front of their peers. Shyer students are often nervous to share their thoughts and options with fear of being judged or called out by their peers. Once students find a way to fall into the background of class discussions, it becomes an easy habit to keep up.

Gray mentions the level of comfort students have for their personal devices at home, and how natural they behave around them. By including such devices in a classroom environment, an educator can instill a similar sense of comfort to a student.

Our students’ digital identities and lives are as much a part of them as their in-person selves. It’s important that educators and the state of academia respond to these digital selves and incorporate them into the educational realm of these students’ lives. By integrating social media, cloud technology, online communication, and other technologies students are accustomed to, teachers can create a classroom space that feel more natural to their students.

Samantha Gray is an online education veteran and a freelance writer for

Tom Vander Ark is the author of Getting Smart: How Personal Digital Learning is Changing the World. Tom is Founder and Executive Editor of Getting Smart and a partner in Learn Capital.