Dealing with home issues, single parent homes; welfare, poverty, lack of adequate clothing, food, gang problems, unsafe housing and crime ridden neighborhoods, mastery of the next lesson may seem trivial to many at-risk students. Many children are simply trying to survive and keep their little brother and sister safe. Surrounded by despair, being at school may only be a place to go to get warm and be feed. In the classroom these student need to be engaged at their individual level of learning and interest. Society is bombarded with technology via the internet and television, and these tools can be used to engage students at their level and help them to learn in a fun way.
The more becomes more and more technological every day. Back in the day, fun and play was something that was had outside with a stick and a ball. Today, video games have taken over as a preferred method of downtime. Many children are put in front of a TV babysitter, and given the latest video games to entertain them. For those who may be unable to afford video games at home, web-based games are available and can be accessed when visiting the library and at school computer labs.
So how can math, reading, and english compete? Would students rather learn or play a video game? There is a winning element in video games, and a student can get to the next level and beat the game and achieve something that in the classroom he or she may be unable to do: Excel. Even if the student has trouble reading or it not good in math, there is something about a video game that gives them a confidence when playing. One way that teachers can engage students is through technology (Klopfer, Osterwell, Groff, & Haas, 2009).
Technology is an integral part of science, medicine, business and government. It is used to maintain efficiency, records, and communication. No profession is without a dependency on technology, including pilots and astronauts who train using programs that simulate actual conditions. Social networking and computerized games have transformed how people communicate, think, and live, collaborate, and create relationships. Text messages, instant messaging, and email requires that teachers adapt their teaching methods to accommodate how children are communicating (Greenhow, Robelia, & Hughes, 2009). Instead of trying to beat them, teachers need to join them and help prepare students for the future and meet them on their level.
Children, and most adults, love computerized games (Runyon, 1996). Candy crush keeps many of my friends up at night. Developers of computerized games are experts at ‘hooking’ players on games through intrigue, excitement, and the thrill of winning. Compare to that reading, science, and math is boring. Technology has created a society who needs constant stimulation Class work has to become exciting in order to compete with video games. There will always be a need for traditional classroom instruction; students require a foundation for all learning; but to engage students, reinforcement should come from vehicles that engages them and excites them.
One way teachers can engage technology within the classroom is to use a program that not only assess students’ levels, but also their interests. Engaging learners and representation of their comprehension level provides support through intentional goal directed learning (Pearson Higher Education). Interactive technology engages the student with using a tool they want to work with and aid in collaboration between students. Students will learn from each other and bridge the gap that exists in many classroom where there are varied levels within the same classroom (Klopfer, Osterwell, Groff, & Haas, 2009). The classroom becomes an environment where creativity, innovation, and teamwork is prominent (International Society for Technology in Education, ISTE, 2013).
School is not only a place to learn, but where children first learn how to talk, share, help, and play with others. This socialization is developed and conditioned through socialization with others. Meaningful learning is enhanced through discussion and collaboration. Discussion allows students to put into their own words what they know and understand about a particular subject. The International Society for Technology in Education posits that classroom technology supports innovation and creativity while teaching student problem solving skills and exposing them to current issues.
Video games are not going away; and if given the choice, students will choose the game over learning. Grand theft auto will always have a leg up on Algebra As a person who is dependent on technology, I agree that learning at all levels requires technology to stay with and ahead of the times. Why not prepare students for the world while teaching them how to count? If the world is changing then why is teaching not changing? At risk students are defined as having disparities to life, in essence they are the ones most in need of computers in their school as many are unable to afford them at home. They already have strikes again them being poor why not give them as much help as possible by using the all the tools, including technology that will prepare them for the future.
Information is no longer confined to books in a library. It is stored on the internet and available to everyone, if they are fortunate to have access to it. Comcast has understood the importance of technology to students. Their program, Internet Essentials offers internet to low-income qualifying families with students for $9.95 per month (Comcast, 2014). These families are also eligible to purchase a computer starting at $149.95. The goal of Internet Essentials is to bridge the digital divide between low-income Americans in order to be active participants in a technology base world. Comcast understands that knowledge should not be limited to only the well to do. Rather, technology, just like information should be available and accessible to everyone.