Diversity is a multifaceted concept which is typically used to describe ‘differences’ among people. In education, we have much diversity among learners in respect to learning differences and learning styles, as well as individual interests and experiences. Unfortunately, as educators we all too often negate the importance of these differences and deliver a standardized curriculum in a one size fits all fashion to students, regardless of individual differences. In many cases this contributes to student disinterest and disengagement and often impedes the acquisition of critical skills related to literacy, not having which, places them at a greater ‘risk’ of leaving school without graduating. Grounded in the assumption that reading is an integral and inseparable component of the broader concept of literacy, which involves the six language arts of listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and representing (Parr & Campbell, 2006), this paper provides an overview of a holistic approach to engaging reluctant readers and writers, the students we often consider to be ‘at risk’. Recent advances in technology and internet access have opened up a multitude of resources never before available to teachers and students. Many of these, including Virtual Field Trips, can be used to stimulate interest and motivate students to select their own topics of interest and self direct their own research, reading, and learning (Scott, 2007). This paper presents the exploration and use of Virtual Field Trips as a means of engaging students in researching, writing, and sharing with others their developing knowledge on topics of individual interest.
|Keywords:||At Risk, Reluctant Reader/Writer, Disengaged Readers/Writers, Virtual Field Trips, Technology, Student Motivation|
Professor, Curriculum Studies: Primary/Junior Science, Outdoor/Experiential Education, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada
Professor, Education and Schooling, Special Education, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada
Professor, Special Education, Educational Psychology, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada
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