Reaching Today's Children

Kids today occupy their time with high tech toys and games. Sometimes it seems as if it doesn't require batteries or electricity, it isn't worth their time and effort. Gone are the days of "reading just for the fun of it." For many (although hopefully not all) students today, books have become something that is 'boring' – something viewed as more like work than play.

This has created a challenge for educators. Children's attention spans are no longer what they used to be; and this alone has made the job of teaching more challenging. Understandably then, the ability to reach a child and retain his/her focus through the use of traditional teaching tools like the text book and chalk board has vanished in many classrooms.

While technology can be blamed for creating this new challenge for educators, this same technology has become an educator's dream. The Internet has transformed the teaching experience by connecting classrooms around the world to the world. Children who seldom if ever leave their neighborhood, be it urban, suburban, or rural, are now able to visit places around the globe. Computer manufactures have made significant improvements to computers — and now monitors display the most vivid and vibrant colors and images, and audio systems project the most dynamic sounds.

The sheer ability to connect to the outside world has brought remarkable results for educators by giving them a new way to captivate minds, hold attention spans, and engage children in the learning process. This is no small advancement in education. Indeed it has created a magnificent change in learning by making it possible for educators to do more than teach a handful of children — they can now reach an entire classroom by appealing to the senses that help spark imagination and creativity.

As globalization continues to increase and expand its tentacles into every aspect of society, our world continues to shrink. Internet and computer technology has provided educators with advantages to helping prepare children for the world by exposing them to communities and cultures beyond theirs. By reaching these children it is possible to teach them about the urgent problems that our world faces today, whether it's the struggle to prevent the Loggerhead turtle from extinction or the Aids epidemic in Africa.

Technology has made it possible to put into classrooms windows to the outside world, and this has given educators a new tool by which to keep children engaged in learning as well as keep them connected to the world in which they live.

Tracie Linderman