Technology and Motivation: Can Computers Motivate Students to Read

[Reprinted below is an article by Quality Quinn, senior advisor to CompassLearning and noted author and literacy consultant. We thought this piece may interest those involved in the different initiatives being undertaken by the Literacy Coordinating Council, e.g., “Literasi para sa Kaunlaran” radio program and also those who have developed, or are striving to develop, a broad definition for functional literacy.]

Three thousand high school students drop out of school every day. The statistics are perilous. Teachers lack the abilities and tools to motivate students to become better readers and become more engaged in their content-area classes.

The widely circulated piece, “Reading Next: A Vision for Action and Research in Middle and High School Literacy,” prepares a platform for much-needed attention to Grades 5–12 reading demands and the instruction to support it.

Between instructional and infrastructure elements, 15 key areas—including direct, explicit comprehensive instruction, strategic tutoring, and ongoing formative assessment of students— were identified for action and continued research. Educators and researchers can overcome the challenges of 14 of the 15 elements identified, but “motivation” (student self-directed learning), is the most difficult and, perhaps, the most important. Without developing motivation, the other 14 elements lose context, and I believe one of the other 15 elements, “technology,” holds the key to developing motivation.

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