Use of Technology to Motivate Students

Use of Technology to Motivate Students

Deepak Verma (Classroom Teacher, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 4
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-492-5.ch001
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A middle school teacher proposed that since students these days are more at ease with technology due to the excessive use of technology gadgets in their lives, why not make the best use of technology by way of electronic whiteboards to engage students? This brought about some changes in this inner city school which had failed the state Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) report more than once. However, was the sudden surge in student motivation the result of the novelty effect or the Hawthorn effect? And might that surge in student motivation soon fade away?
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The Case

Miss Villarreal had been teaching for five years total, all of it at Elm Middle School. When she joined the school, the average passing rate of math students was just 40%. As a result, a lot of solutions were tried. The teachers were asked to tutor struggling students after school, use peer tutoring in classes, and make classroom lessons more engaging. Although learning results significantly improved, the AYP expectations also increased, and the school is still considered barely “acceptable” by state standards. There was nothing left that teachers had not tried in their attempt to increase the students’ engagement in their studies. Of course, despite the teachers’ efforts, school administrators acknowledged the students’ responsibility to learn and be focused in the classroom.

Teachers in Elm Middle School made up the term “student visitors” to refer to the unmotivated student groups who just came to visit the classroom–rather than to learn any subject or skills–to chat with their friends without bringing their needed classroom supplies. A high percentage of students on campus comprised the unmotivated “student visitor” group.

Miss Villarreal took the initiative of introducing the electronic whiteboard in her math classroom. She understood that it was imperative to involve students in the use of the technology. When these students come to class loaded with electronic gadgets filled with music, videos, games–and no parental control–it becomes difficult for them to listen to a teacher standing in front of a blackboard giving a lecture on the Pythagorean theorem. Miss Villarreal knew these problems and tried to use the “weapons of classroom distractions, aka technology” to her advantage. She was lucky to be given one of the school’s 10 new electronic whiteboards to use in her classroom.

To regain the students’ attention focus, Miss Villarreal planned to consistently use the electronic whiteboard to build student desire to learn more about math. She understood that in the beginning, there would be occasions when the use of the technology might appear cumbersome, but that with time and effort the technology may bring about the desired effect in student understanding.

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