The use of Internet/Digital Technology to Motivate Learners

This paper aims at reaching curriculum developers and educators to bring into focus the need to integrate ICT in the contemporary education system.

Introduction

Following the currently advancing technology across the world, various strategies have been established to reduce the gaps between Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and education, especially in science education. With the current highly interconnected world, there has been a global need to motivate and involve learners in science-related studies for better future of the current generation (Baer 43).

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After critical review of various literature materials on science education, the use of ICT in classroom teaching has been found to impacts a lot on the overall motivation of students towards learning. Considering the revealed importance of the use of ICT and digital technology in classroom teaching, there arises great need on integrating classroom experiences with the new technology.

Significance of ICT in Education

Information and Communications Technology is the strategy of using the current technological means to facilitate effective passage of information from one identity to another. According to Prensky (27), a blend of technology and traditional means of teaching is not only effective but necessary if we are considering the current generation of students.

As it has been observed, students in the contemporary society are technologically tuned. Being products of online world, these students are keen to explore new innovations. On this basis, the reflection of these generational changes in classroom pedagogy would enhance more learning, since students would be more interested and motivated.

As reported by Robson (33) there has been great need to incorporate into our classrooms the same combination of desirable goals, interesting choices, immediate and useful feedback and opportunities to level up that engage students in their favorite computer applications. By so doing, we will be cultivating and cherishing deeper learning among the students, as they would have high interests in learning using the technological appliances.

Involvement of students in discussions in various topics including class activities, curriculum development, teaching method, school organization has been found to be quite important (Prensky 35). This will make the teachers to understand how the students of 21st century i.e. the Digital Natives think. Certainly, this will help the teachers to change in the pedagogy for their students for better learning.

Kress (15) considers the use of podcasts, discussion boards and MSN to study and communicate in classroom teaching as an effective strategy, since this will engage students far better than in the previous days.

The suggestion made by Stoll et al (20) is very enticing in the sense that, use of ICT in classroom instruction helps to show a new dimension of teaching students with technology and how they impact on the students’ learning outcome would be, if we use technology in different way rather than in the normal manner.

As a result, such strategy will help in engaging and motivating students towards science and math. Considering the contemporary society dominated by scientific innovations and inventions, the ICT strategy makes learning relevant, as learners would concentrate on new technologies.

If teachers realize the vast capabilities of Digital Learning Objects (DLO) they will find out how to help students to actively participate and motivated in learning and thus increase their level of confidence (Robson 46).

Through the use of DLO, learners would be exposed to real life application of the knowledge gained, which would make them more confident in learning through actual applications. This forms a basis for making learning more learner-oriented since the main focus is to make learners more efficient in the outside world activities.

Engagement and self assessment can be improved by a change in classroom philosophy and change in pedagogy by thinking about the change in students’ emotional change and their involvement with ICT and internet. With digital support and change in classroom pedagogy, it will help to think the way Poole (56) recommended (thinking about achievement, looking for evidence, working with other people, overcoming barriers, and reframing the task).

Hence this will connect the students in cognitive, affective and operative way. In this case, the result should be more student engagement and self assessment and deeper learning.

The Strategy to Enhance Successful Implementation of ICT in Education

Teachers need to be trained to use ICT and e-learning applications in the classroom. To establish an e-learning environment in the school system, teachers and software and hardware companies need to operate together. Kress (63) considers this as a very important strategy, since it is through efficient teaching with the technology, where deeper learning among learners would be realized.

Through good trained teachers on the contemporary technology, students will find it efficient to capture the basic concepts required in a specific teaching. As depicted by Robson (39), for efficiency and accuracy in teaching using DLO, teachers ought to be apparently oriented to these teaching resources in their training programs. This will prepare them to be efficient in their classroom pedagogy using ICT.

To move educational technology to the next level, good collaboration is important between educators and designers of technological applications. It is important to note that, talking about games is not just about playing cards; it is about far advanced gaming that includes strategy, experiment, information, involvement of proper knowledge (Huizinga 107). It is through game strategy that learners will be able to develop psychomotor skills, capable of enhancing efficiency in real life application of the knowledge gained.

The compatibility of the games should be taken under consideration. The initial cost involvement is very important (Dave 74). In this case, educators should select the games and DLO that are compatible with the available technological appliances, so as to avoid extra costs of purchasing other expensive machines. More specifically, it is very crucial for educators to evaluate the technological applications, with respect to the already available appliances to avoid high initial costs.

Educational technology should be frequently tested, and removal of any unnecessary content done, for the meaningful implication in the classroom (Gee 41).With games used in the curriculum with definite content, designers must be very careful whether the information is correct or not. More precisely, educational technology like games should be frequently reviewed, tested and updated accordingly so as to make them more accurate in teaching.

Importantly, the consideration of gender issues is very crucial before the actual implementation of games in curriculum. This is on the basis that, males think and reason differently from females due to the difference in the nature.

On this consideration therefore, gender issue should not be overlooked while designing games for specific subjects in the curriculum. For instance, suppose we use ICT as a tool for classroom instructional pedagogy, trained teachers from this sector are required, who will efficiently incorporate the pedagogy with the technology.

Consequently, it would be possible for learners to conceptualize the required learning from the digital games used. According to Prensky (27), “…efficiency and accuracy in learning would only be realized if learners are involved in a more interactive learning environment, facilitated by a competitive teaching team…” Generally, due to the popularity nature of the digital games among teenagers, it is highly recommendable that curriculums be modified to integrate games education learning.

Conclusion

It can therefore be concluded that, with the use of online games in classroom pedagogy, more learning among learners would be realized. Through the use of games in classroom pedagogy, the knowledge gained in the classroom would be more relevant to learners. As a result, learners would end up being oriented to real life application of the knowledge gained in classroom.

On this basis therefore, it is highly recommendable for the curriculum developers to incorporate games as learning activities, both to the students’ learning institutions and teacher training programs.

Works Cited

Arch, Gregory. Information and Communications Technology in Education: Theory, Methods Practice. New York: Woodside Publishers, 2010.

Baer, Richard. The Ultimate Mystery of Computer Games. Washington: New Technology Publishers, 2008.

Dave, Michael. The art of Digital Learning Objects and their Impacts. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2007.

Gee, Johnston. What Information Technology has to Teach us about Learning and Literacy. Palgrave: Macmillan Publishers, 2005.

Huizinga, Jackson. The Role of ICT in Culture Transformation. London: Routledge Publishers, 2006.

Kress, Georgia. Literacy in the New Media Age (Literacies). New York: Routledge Publishers, 2007.

Poole, Seth. Psychological Role of Computed Games and Other Automated Teaching Appliances. San Francisco: Arcade Publishing, 2006.

Prensky, Marshall. Digital Game-Based Learning. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2007.

Robson, Charlotte. (2007). Learning in the New Era: a Guide for Curriculum Developers. London: Routledge Publishers, 2009.

Stoll, D. et al. High Technology Heretic: The Need of Computers in the Classroom and Other Reflections. Sydney: Computer Contrarian, Doubleday & Company, 2008.

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