Major challenges for teaching in the Digital Age

Quality teaching skills to support a diverse student population are vital in schools today. The educational landscape has changed; its priorities have shifted. Student skill requirements and the expectations of teachers have advanced to equal the rapid development of technology in the digital age (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs [MCEETYA], 2008; Schleicher, 2015). As schools transition to the 21st century, classrooms are transformed into learning spaces, pedagogical approaches rethought and new technologies implemented to facilitate and differentiate learning (Howe, Hedberg & Stevenson, 2014). These shifts will influence and guide my teaching practice. As a beginning teacher I must ask myself, “As a teacher how effective will I be in the Digital Age?”

Further reading and resources
Schools of the 21st Century  (Department of Education and Communities [DEC], n.d.)
How Can 21st Century Students Learn In 19th Century Schools?  (McCringle, 2016)
Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA, 2008)
21st century teaching & learning (Bruniges, 2015)

The historic and fundamental teaching challenges will still be prevalent in the Digital Age. It will be expected that I draw on a range of teaching skills to confront these and have the human capacity to act as a teacher and facilitator (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation [UNESCO], 1998). As a beginning teacher I believe that challenges, old and new, will become interconnected, networked and inform each other; much like the web of characteristics typical of the Digital Age. Eventually these identified challenges will become the “parents” of future challenges, will manifest and be problem-solved in future practice.


The characteristics of the Digital Age form an interconnected web of networked parts that influence and inform each other.  (Romet, 2016).


To develop professionally in the Digital Age will be challenging. It’s suggested that technology is directing education (UNESCO, 1998). I will require opportunities to ensure my digital literacy capabilities are matched to emergent technologies and supported during classroom integration (Digital Education Advisory Group, 2012). With the plethora of online learning apps, webinars and videos to advance personal ICT skills, attention to relevance and accuracy in learning will require school support and monitoring by school leaders (Howe et al., 2014). The Digital Age requires teachers to become connected educators, participate as learners and adopt a “Do-It-Yourself” learning attitude (Nussbaum-Beach & Ritter, 2011).

Further reading and resources
DigiPubs – For practical advice and resources in Victoria (DigiPubs, 2016) 
National Future School Expo 2017 (National Future Schools Expo, n.d.)
The Conversation: The emotional workload of teachers is too often ignored (Hopman & Drake, 2015)

Another challenge as a beginning teacher is balancing time in meeting the expectations of teaching and professional development (PD). Current reports and issues of burn out in teachers endure (Buchanan et al., 2013), however technology and the digital environment could be the tool to combat this challenge for me. Unless offered as PD, up-skilling could impact on valuable release and planning time. Howe et al. (2014) suggests almost gone are the days of traditional in-service and professional development days. On-line collaboration will provide a professional network, pool of ideas and solutions. I can “harvest the collective wisdom found there” and assess, evaluate and employ information relevant to my context and teaching needs (Nussbaum-Beach & Ritter, 2011, p.11).




Buchanan, J., Prescott, A., Schuck, S., Aubusson, P., Burke, P., & Louviere, J. (2013). Teacher Retention and Attrition: Views of Early Career Teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 38(3), 112-129. doi: 10.14221/ajte.2013v38n3.9

Bruniges, M. (2015, March 11). 21st century teaching and learning [blog post]. Retrieved from

Cuban, L. (2014, May 24). Cartoons on Digital Natives and Immigrants. [blog post]. Retrieved from

Department of Education and Communities (DEC). (n.d.). Schools of the 21st Century. Retrieved from

DigiPubs. (2016). Retrieved from

Digital Education Advisory Group. (2012). Beyond the Classroom: A New Digital Education for Young Australians in the 21st Century. Retrieved from

Donnelly, L. (n.d.). Pace yourself, honey. You’re only three. [image]. Retrieved from

Hopman, J. & Drake, P. (2015, October 6). The emotional workload of teachers is too often ignored. The Conversation. Retrieved from

Howe, C., Hedberg, J., & Stevenson, M. (2014, August 5). Leading learning in a digital age [article]. Retrieved from

McCrindle, M. (2016, April 18). How can 21st Century students learn in 19th Century schools? [blog post]. Retrieved from

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs [MCEETYA]. (2008). Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Retrieved from

National Future Schools Expo. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Nussbaum-Beach, S., & Ritter, H. L. (2011). The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

Romet, B. (2016). Characteristics of the Digital Age [image]. Retrieved from!Mzc3NzkyMy83NDk5MTEwLzNjMWNkY2QwZDdlZDdiMmM1YTNmZGQ0MmQwYWFiY2Fh?X

Schleicher, A. (2015), Schools for 21st-Century Learners: Strong Leaders, Confident Teachers, Innovative Approaches, OECD Publishing. OECD iLibrary. Retrieved from doi:

TED. (2013, June 20). What will future jobs look like? Andrew McAfee . Retrieved from

TEDX. (2015, May 27). Teaching Methods for Inspiring the Students of the Future: Joe Ruhm at TEDx Lafayette . Retrieved from

TEDX. (2015, October 13). Reimagining Classrooms: Teachers as Learners and Students as Leaders at TEDx Fargo . Retrieved from

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation [UNESCO]. (1998). World Education Report: Teachers and teaching in a changing world. Retrieved from