Using Technology to Motivate Students in the Science Classroom

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Abstract
Each year, more students are dropping out of high school. Students are bored and feel that they are not learning anything that is useful in the real world. Teachers are finding an increasing number of students becoming less engaged in their academic studies. There are public schools willing to bribe students to pay attention and make better grades. Instead of bribery, educators need to make the curriculum more appealing to student interests, develop critical thinking skills to be able to adapt and/or solve real life problems. Today’s world is full of media and technology use that can be used in the classroom to spice things up. This paper focuses on the integration of WebQuests, virtual video games, and virtual dissections in the science curriculum.

Using Technology to Motivate Students in the Science Classroom Today, a majority of students are either bored, frustrated, or feel like school is a waste of time. Many educators find that these students will not complete assignments, participate in classroom activities, or try their best. There are a number of reasons for the lack of motivation in students including they may have learning disabilities, have bad experiences in school, fear ridicule from their peers, and or they are not learning about a subject they are interested in. Many educators find that these students will not try, will not complete assignments, or participate in classroom discussions or activities. Some students who seem unmotivated may have learning disabilities, had bad experiences in school, fear ridicule, and or are not in a class or subject they are interested in. Some of these students just sit there and daydream. While others become discipline problems by disrupting class and hurting the learning chances of others. Educators are constantly assigning detention and in-school suspension to those with discipline issues. Students who misbehave or have given up tend to have this psychological perceptive that they are compensating for their belief that they are stupid (Mendler, 2000).

There are number of public schools that seem to be desperate enough for students to make better grades that they are willing to bribe students, not with candy or homework passes, but with money. There are public schools around the country that have used or are currently using programs that pay students to make better grades. Students who participate in these programs may make better grades, temporarily; however, when the cash incentives are removed the grades tend to return to their normal range. Most educators agree with Sullo (2009) statement that giving students bribes like this only “devalues education and learning.” Rather than using these extrinsic rewards, educators need to use more intrinsic system that relies on students taking more interest in the topics or materials covered. Pederson’s & William’s (2004) study states that the usage of more problem based learning would work better as an intrinsic motivator. In problem based learning students have to set up their own objectives in how to solve a problem given to them by the teacher. This student centered method gives students more ownership of their goals and gives more meaning to their work. In addition, using students centered assessment, where students are involve with their own evaluation, helps students to examine what and how they have performed their tasks. Using a WebQuest

Some researchers say that the way to motivate students is to cover topics that relate to real life. One way to make a topic relevant to real life is to use a WebQuest. A WebQuests are inquiry-based activities that were developed in 1995 by Bernie Dodge (March, 2003). This type of activity uses a layered process in which the learner uses the internet to facilitate the acquisition, synthesis and analysis of information. It requires the learner to take charge of their own learning, resulting in better understanding and...
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