Increases in access to the Internet in recent years are significant and a wonderful thing. However, a 2004 study published by A Nation Online showed that Latino households were least likely to be online with black households being only slightly more likely to be so. Asian American and Caucasian households were most likely to be online. Many professionals refer to this as the “digital divide.”
Furthermore, most research seems to indicate that:
o Only a small percentage of teachers use computers for development of higher-order thinking skills
o The majority of school computers are used for the development of lower-order skills through drill and practice activities
o Instructional technology reform tends to focus on the computer technology itself and not its effective integration into instruction
This brings the question of how we bridge the gap so that the positive impact of technology on learning is not limited to only those with the greatest access. We believe that educational DVDs go a long way toward improving access to educational technology for the average household.
Closing the Gap: Integrating OTHER Technology
Access to computers and the Internet in the child’s home is not the only factor we need to consider. We need to look at it from two other perspectives: 1)Other technology to which the student may have access and 2)Integrating ALL forms of educational technology in the classroom.
Due to lower cost, many more households own DVD players than computers, presumably for entertainment purposes. Almost all computers now include DVD players, as well. Integrating educational DVDs in the classroom, and encouraging their use at home, will allow access by more students, and although it won’t bridge the gap entirely, it seems to be a no-brainer in an effort to do so.
Incorporating Educational DVDs
The digital format of educational DVDs provides the user a degree of access and control over video presentation content that was not possible with traditional VHS. DVD technology allows instant accessibility to video segments by use of frames and adds other options that enhance lessons and help students become active learners. We all know students are more likely to be active learners if we can get them engaged in their work. Here are some benefits to using DVDs in the classroom.
o Chapter feature allows access to the content divided into related segments
o Additional features, such as interviews with the leading actors or the director, are often included
o If the content is historical in nature, actual news footage or historical commentary about the event may be included
o Some DVDs offer sub titles or captioned narration
o Most educational DVDs are low in cost and do not degrade over time (like VHS) allowing re-use for many years, making them even more economical
o Allows students who need additional help to repeat only the “chapters” needed and study at their own pace