Relative Advantage of Using Technology to Enhance Content Area Learning

Language Arts & Technology Integration

Any teacher knows it can be challenging to motivate students to read and write and this challenge only intensifies if the student struggles with literacy skills. Inability to motivate a below level reader is what holds most of these non-proficient students back. Students become discouraged by their continued failures to achieve proficiency. And so this catch 22 becomes an insurmountable hurdle. Technology integration can help to break this cycle of literacy discouragement.

Educational technologist Dr. Roblyer (2016) pointed out (as cited by Rideout, Foehr, & Roberts, 2010) that students aged 8– 18 increased their reading minutes from 21 to 25 minutes per day between 1999 – 2009, while computer use, which includes reading online, increased from 27 minutes to 73 minutes (p. 266). The stark differences in these increases speaks to the relative advantage using technology has over not using technology in the realm of language arts. Students are motivated by interacting with digital medias and this should be leveraged in all areas including the teaching of reading and writing.

Students are more engaged by digitally rich media as it is often time equiped with interactives, visuals and necessary assistive technologies that can bridge the literacy gap for students. Online article programs, such as Newsela, offer students accessibility to the same article/content but at their own Lexile level. Now all students can engage in the work successfully  at their instructional level. Students are motivated by success and emerging readers find much success through digital scaffolds.

Not only are learners motivated by reading through interactive digital methods, but Roblyer (2016) also points out that students, as writers, can be motivated when they see their writing tasks as authentic or purposeful especially if published on a blog or wiki (p. 267). This is true of all individuals, adults and students alike, if our writing will be read for an authentic purpose it becomes more intentional and purposeful for the writer themselves.

 


Resources:

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

 

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2 thoughts on “Relative Advantage of Using Technology to Enhance Content Area Learning

  1. As you stated, motivation is a huge benefit for language learning as well. Having a ‘real’ audience via technology is a huge motivator.
    I use a blog in my upper level Spanish classes and I agree with your last paragraph that seeing their own work ‘on stage’ is a motivator for them to do well.

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  2. It would seem…technology could give kids way more potential to choose what they read (at the risk of paralysis of choice) …so instead of “we’re all reading Huck Finn” to prove we’re reading at level X, they could be reading and writing about any number of topics, as long as it proves they’re reading/writing at level X. Classroom discussions might be a little different if not everyone’s working on the same topic, but that just means everyone can hear each other talk about different topics, instead of 24 kids talking about the same chapter.

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