The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

December 19, 2012

The powerful impact of engaging instruction

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 — It’s easy to understand the excitement over e-books: textbooks now can include video, audio and 3-D graphics. Listening to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech or watching the liberation of  a WWII concentration camp, for instance, can have a more powerful impact on students than if they just read about or look at pictures of these events.

Smartphones — smaller, cheaper and “cooler” than laptops — recently have found their way into some classrooms. There are lots of “apps” that encourage learning. For example, older students can record themselves solving problems and then post the videos to a private social networking site where classmates can watch.

Students are using iPads or other tablet devices in the classroom, too. They load e-books on their tablets, watch a movie and write a review, write collaboratively using web-based document software or create a multimedia presentation. Older kids might subscribe to newspapers or periodicals and then, as a class, discuss the current events they have read about.

Other technologies that are making their way into the classroom include: microphone systems that amplify teacher lessons; wireless writing tablets that allow teachers to move about the classroom and check work as they add notes to a screen at the front of the class; and document cameras, which project pages from a book or live handwriting onto a screen.

These tools provide much more than entertainment. There is growing evidence that technology improves student achievement on tests in core subject areas and increases overall GPA.

Research by the National Reading Panel and the Education Development Center Inc. on the use of technology in reading instruction shows positive results for students in reading fluency, vocabulary development and reading comprehension. Students who used interactive electronic readers significantly outperformed those using traditional paper-based readers. Some electronic books provide animations and illustrations so that children can read more independently. When students engage with interactive text, they have a better ability to recount story events.

Technology provides more opportunities for teacher and student collaboration, as well. Students have new ways in which to share their work and create content together. For example, they can use Goggle Docs — a Web-based version of Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point — to create and edit documents online while working in real time with other students.

Teachers also can share what they’re doing in class with peers across town, statewide or even overseas. Web 2.0 tools are popular among teachers. Web 2.0 is different from the Web in that it not only allows students to read information, it lets them produce content, as well, and the majority of the tools are free.

In the next column, we’ll explore how technology levels the academic playing field and allows for “anytime” learning.


Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • D.G. Martin Read others’ views to be better informed, decide for yourself

    “I don’t read The Washington Post. That is not where I get my ideas.”

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon This isn’t medical marijuana

    As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives – there are many of them in the General Assembly – felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost every one of them voted yes.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content