Technology has always had an effect on its user. Whether it buzzes, flashes, beeps or lights up, it attracts its makes you want to do something. Due to its interactive nature, it can motivate children in many ways by allowing them to learn from their mistakes, giving them rewards, helping with problem solving and allowing them to be creative.
Regardless of the time they spend on the computer, technology has the potential to motivate children in a number of different ways:
Trial, error and review
One of the most important things to come out of using computers is the fact that they allow us to change our work and minds in many different ways. What is interesting about this is that it changes the way we complete a task, read our work and continue to try to improve it until it is finished.
Reward with goals
Computers can make a large task achievable. They can be programmed to reward progress at different stages and can keep a user achieving. This is particularly useful for mental maths and other activities which require repetitive stages and rewards.
Some examples of this are apparent when the classroom is gamified. Points can be introduced for rewards, leaderboards can be created and badges can be given out.
Think back to a time when you were a boy scout or a girl guide. When you used to carry out jobs for the elderly and work tirelessly for different activity badges. Digital badges take the idea of carrying out different learning activities and transform this process into the 21st century. Trip Advisor does a fabulous job of this by giving badges for different reviews.
Some cloud based services such as Mathletics run leaderboards for the best individuals and classes. You can compete against others around the country and the world to find out who is the best mathematician.
Children can also be rewarded by sharing their videos on YouTube or on the school website.
Technology can be used to present problems in different ways to children. The combination of adding video, text and web sites can open up new potential for presenting investigation work. For example, use your interactive whiteboard software to present a maths investigation. The children can then move objects around the screen.The ability to use the undo method makes it easier for children to explore different answers on a trial and error basis.
From a teaching point of view, using digital tools and drama can add an interesting twist to the beginning of a lesson or at certain points to progress the learning. For example, when teaching the children to write a newspaper report, use an introductory film clip you have created to introduce the topic. Put yourself in the role of a newspaper editor. Don't worry about it being polished - your children won't mind - its all part of the fun!
Children can use technology to create anything they wish to communicate. Art tools, web tools and different platforms (such as ipads, 3D printers, 3doodle pens) all allow children to use the medium of technology to express their ideas. Software is making it easier for children to create things. The ability to redo, undo, resize and replace anything and everything on the page helps the user to tell an idea until they are truly happy with the look as well as the content.
But beware! However useful technology is, its important to remember that all technology has an on and off switch and throughout children's development, they need adults to be their filter and help them to moderator their use.