10 Tips For Becoming A Digitally Native Teacher


By Optimi | 12 May, 2022

As digital natives, students today have access to knowledge, information, and learning opportunities outside of the classroom through the internet. Knowledge is also changing at a high speed: both what we learn and how we learn, so digital natives cannot store a set of static knowledge: they need to be lifelong learners. That’s why we believe that the role of teachers and educators has changed from ‘sage on the stage’ to guide with the rise of educational materials available on the internet.

We cannot use the old hierarchical systems to teach anymore, so how can teachers adapt to the fourth industrial revolution and connect with their digitally native students?

1. Realise you are also digitally connected

This might sound obvious but most people use at least one device connected to the internet daily, many using a cell phone, laptop, and another device, making us all digital citizens: we’re all connected, almost all of the time! Realising that the way you use the Internet can translate into your teaching is a good first step toward becoming a more digitally integrated educator.

2. Learn to recognise the opportunities for learning

While cell phones can often be seen as disruptive in the classroom, they can also be powerful instructive tools. You can do this by encouraging your students to look up specific, reputable websites and sources of information on their cell phones in class to encourage discussion while teaching.

3. Guide your students to use their tech responsibly

Another way to use cell phones and tech in the classroom is to teach students how to think critically. All too often students consume information passively – the classroom is an excellent place for them to engage with current events, news, or even the latest TikToks in a more critical way.

4. Use educational resources online

Whether it’s CAPS-aligned and approved e-books  that can offer extra resources to teachers

5. Recognise how digital natives learn

The rise of platforms like TikTok and Instagram have proven that digital natives process information through digital media like images and videos. You can use this to your advantage by incorporating digital media into your lessons or allowing your students to submit videos of themselves. Digital platforms that facilitate online learning can be hugely beneficial for blended or online learning, which takes your classroom into the 21st century and meets digital natives in their homeland – online!

6. Teach analogue literacy and skills

While recognising that digital natives learn best through digital media, images, and videos, as an educator it’s also your role to realise that they need your guidance to navigate the offline world. Encourage your students to learn to consume information through reading by pointing out the benefits: longer concentration span, better, longer-lasting learning, and even mental health benefits.

7. Teach your students to be lifelong learners

One of the benefits of the rise of the information age is that students aren’t limited to learning in the classroom: they can easily be lifelong learners. Teaching with the intention of stimulating curiosity, a love for knowledge, and an attitude to learn for learning’s sake can help your students be lifelong learners.

8. Be open to learning from your students

Sometimes it’s difficult for teachers to relinquish the position of authoritative educator, but be open to the fact that your students can access information outside of the classroom and encourage them to bring their learning back to you for guidance. Not only that, but your students can teach you a lot about tech too – so don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

9. Teach skills that are valuable in a digital world

Skills like robotics, coding, mathematics and logical thinking are becoming more and more indispensable in today’s world. From grade R, students can start learning what the tech behind their screens looks like and how to code their own video games. For instance, Optimi offers robotics and coding for classrooms and educators, including lesson plans and kits with all the resources you’ll need.

10. Upskill yourself

Get the support you need to take your classroom digital with a training and development course that will give you the skills you need! There is a wealth of SACE-endorsed training and short courses out there! Taking a course will give you more confidence while also modelling a culture of lifelong learning for your students.

If you’re looking for reputable sources of online learning for your student, Optimi can help! We have a library of over 400 000 CAPS-aligned and approved hardcopy and e-books, an online facilitator’s platform making your classroom more digitally connected, as well as SACE-approved training for educators and institutions. Visit our website for more information, or get in touch:

helloclassroom@optimi.co.za/0129411546