By Hook or by Crook: Engaging Reluctant Readers and Writers through the Use of Technology and Virtual Field Trips

By Jeff Scott, Michael Parr and Warnie James Richardson.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.35-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 567.758KB).

Dr. Jeff Scott

Professor, Curriculum Studies: Primary/Junior Science, Outdoor/Experiential Education, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Jeff Scott is currently working in the role of Assistant Professor in the Pre-Service teaching program at Nipissing University. Jeff teaches the science component for primary/junior teachers emphasizing inquiry-based learning and experiential education. Current research interests include inquiry-based instruction, student engagement, sustainability and the environment, and ‘at risk’ learners. Prior to joining Nipissing University, Jeff was a primary/junior teacher and has taught in both Canada and New Zealand.

Prof. Michael Parr

Professor, Education and Schooling, Special Education, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Michael Parr currently teaches in the Faculty of Education at Nipissing University and brings with him considerable experience working with students ‘at risk’ as well as those students identified as having specific emotional and behavioural disorders. His wide variety of teaching experiences in both segregated and regular classroom settings, as well as his experiences as an administrator, have been instrumental in serving as a springboard into his research addressing the needs of students ‘at risk’. Other research interests center around teacher education, and educational leadership & change with emphasis placed on practices that foster Inclusive schools and issues of equity and social justice.

Dr. Warnie James Richardson

Professor, Special Education, Educational Psychology, Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada

A native of Shawville, Quebec, Dr. Richardson is currently a professor of Educational Psychology and Special Education at Nipissing University in Northern Ontario. Prior to arriving at Nipissing, he was a Special Education teacher/educational assessor for sixteen years, all in very hard to serve educational environments, both in Canada and the Caribbean. His doctoral work, and most of his writing to date, have focused on the life experiences of juvenile delinquents and the incredible resiliency of at-risk or marginalized adolescents.


There are currently no reviews of this product.

Write a Review