Integrating Technology To Improve Student Achievement (Author: F. Davis)

Educators have always worked hard to keep their students motivated. Over the last ten years, I have seen a significant decrease in the motivation of my students to pay attention, stay on task and complete assignments. I believe this plays a major role in the declining achievement I am seeing. One of the major factors contributing to students’ declining achievement is the lack of motivation students have to acquire and use new knowledge in the classroom. Their discontent may result from teachers offering of the same curriculum of standard instructional practices year after year (Edwards, Spencer and Spencer, 1991). After studying the assumptions we make as educators, I realized that we are trivializing the curriculum. By mandating curriculum and state testing, we have begun teaching to the test not teaching to learn (Bloom, 2007). Recent legislative mandates, such as the No Child Left Behind act, have increased the demands on schools to provide every child access to a high quality education in hopes of closing the achievement gap (Mouza, 2008). As described in the organizational frame, districts are coming up with programs to keep up with what students have to know to perform on the testing. Unfortunately, students are coming to us with less motivation to learn due to their cultural frame (Posner, 2004). They live in a world of technology. They come to us technology savvy (Harvey –Woodall, 2009). They have cell phones, I pods and most of them have computers and access to the internet at home. Although our government and businesses are trying to get technology into the classrooms as fast as they can, technology in the average classroom is lacking (Mouza, 2008). Then they show up in class and we have two computers for 30 kids if we are lucky. We are teaching our students that the best place to look for information about giraffes is in an encyclopedia because that is what will be on our testing. We know that is not the best place. We should be teaching these children using the internet. We should be motivating them to be consumers of knowledge with the technology that they will use in the real world. When exploring my “landscape” of teaching, my basic belief in teaching children to become productive members of our community was reinforced. I want my students to solidify knowledge that will continue to be useful in their daily lives as long as they live. That is where I focus my effort. Teachers are searching for ways to motivate these young learners and I believe using authentic life skills such as the use of technology to gain and communicate knowledge is the answer.

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