We are now at a stage in our history where the vast majority of students are digital natives and find their information online. Technology continues to evolve at a rapid rate and education must evolve with it by developing new learning strategies and embracing new resources. Social media and the torrent of unreliable sources threaten to cloud the ability of young people to discern between true and false information.
It is well-known that many magazines provide an excellent source of verified, trusted commentary on current affairs. Not only that but they often have extensive archives and a history of reporting on their specific field, giving them valuable expertise. At Exact Editions, we digitise these archives so that they can be searched and used by all the students and staff in a subscribing school. But why go digital?
Seven reasons for schools to consider digital magazines
- Extensive Archives
Many digital magazine providers will aim to offer subscribers access to archived back issues. These archives offer a window into the history of a subject, mapping out the development of cultural trends and understanding. Librarians can be confident that students are getting information from specialised, respected sources, rather than surfing the web where information is often not subjected to quality control. The digital format is also advantageous as school libraries are often more limited in capacity when compared to universities, as such, the ability to possess extensive archives without the requirement of physical space is very useful.
- Classroom Teaching Tools
Not only are digital magazines great for independent study, but they can also be used as tools in the classroom. Available on a designated website, they can be projected onto interactive whiteboards, with pages and articles becoming focal points of classroom discussion. This practice prepares students for further education where they will be encouraged to engage with and comment on current research.
- Search Functionality
The digital magazine archives come equipped with a search function so that specific areas of research can be found quickly and efficiently. This removes the difficulty some students face in finding relevant material for their studies. Again this also boosts independence as they learn to find relevant and appropriate information.
- IP authentication
IP authenticated access means that all staff and students in the school can use the resource without being required to log in with a username and password. The benefits of this system are obvious; it allows an unlimited amount of users to access the resource simultaneously.
- Remote Access
Students can access the resources outside of the school, allowing teachers the flexibility of setting digital reading as homework, safe in the knowledge that the resource will be available to all of the students. This removes the risk of handing out large quantities of textbooks and ensures that students have equal access to information.
- Sharing / Group-Learning
Students have the ability to share links and tweet references whether working on-site or from a remote location. This function will allow for groups to work together on projects regardless of distance, expediting the sharing of knowledge and highlighting the benefits of teamwork and collaboration.
- Usage Statistics
Finally, increased power for librarians. Digital resources offer librarians the opportunity to view accurate usage statistics, affording them newfound control over decisions about which resources to keep, to remove, or to acquire more of. This insight can be invaluable for schools with a limited budget who want to ensure they are spending money on the correct resources.
Hopefully, this post has shown that the advantages of using digital resources in education are manifold. We must prepare students for life beyond school which increasingly involves being adept in technology. Professionals should be able to identify reliable sources of information and conduct efficient research, and by implementing these values in early education we would be offering students useful skills for the future.
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