Using the Internet for Learning and Teaching
The Greatest Tool?
Learning is defined as ‘knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study’ according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. This is similar to my belief that learning is a consequence of action. When a person acts they are given a result, either positive or negative, which allows them to evaluate if the action was detrimental or beneficial. This can even be observed in very small children. For example, if a child is around a stove and the mother says ‘No, hot, that will burn the baby,’ the baby will not know what that means and may touch a hot piece of metal. This of course will burn the child and cause lots of pain. This is a learning experience and the child will now associate the stove with being hot. The child may also associate the words that the mother spoke with pain. So every time the mother looks at the baby and says ‘No, hot, that will burn the baby’ the child will stay away from whatever may burn them.
The fact that experience and learning are so intertwined used to be a hindrance to teaching students. This is because a student couldn’t go back in time and become a soldier in the American Revolution. With the advancement in technology this roadblock has disintegrated. Technology is growing at an exponential rate in the modern world. Many people have been reluctant to use this technology to teach students, but these people are slowly becoming replaced with new teachers who were born in the ‘digital age.’ This new technology is something that holds young people’s attention very well.
Many schools have decided to integrate more and more technology into the classroom. In Avery County High School every student is provided with a new Mac laptop, which they receive as a gift on their graduation day. This is a form of positive reinforcement that motivates the children to finish high school. This is not only a graduation gift though. It is the gift of technology and the gateway to learning and information.
The internet is the center of a lot of controversial conversation on its benefits to children. Some argue that the internet does nothing but makes children dependent on a computer for information. Scientists have conducted multiple studies on the premise that students don’t learn when they are using the internet for research. Their results have varied but the fact still remains that a student can use this powerful technology to accomplish great things.
Technology is something that I cannot say I am scared of using in the classroom. I believe that it can really be an amazing tool. It is just waiting for educator to realize its potential. I have realized it and have already started looking at games, videos, and various other pieces of technology that could be useful in drawing the attention of high school students. Two examples that I have so far is a video and a video game. The video is by Soomo Publishing and has historical context related to the American Revolution. The part that makes the video interesting is that it takes a lot of historical facts and ideas and expresses them in a music video. The video is a spoof of the song ‘Too Late to Apologize’ by OneRepublic and even has a scene with Benjamin Franklin playing an electric guitar while Thomas Jefferson is the lead singer of the band. The types of games that I have been looking into are war games. I have tried to steer clear of anything that requires students to kill, instead focusing on spy missions that have historical context. So far there are numerous mainstream games for World War II. I believe that these types of games can bridge the previously mentioned roadblock of not being able to relate to the past. If a student can play the dangerous role of a soldier they can at least see the situations that our soldiers had been in.
The main fact in teaching is that students and teachers do not relate to one another mainly because of their age difference and interest differences. One thing that can connect students to learning history is allowing them to learn while using video games. If they can make the connection of learning and fun they are then like the baby. Instead of ‘No, hot;’ it is ‘learning, fun.’
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