Today’s students are digital natives. They function in an electronic world of tweets, texts, status updates and Googling via multiple pathways. Students today are not the same as the students for whom the current curriculum was designed. Today’s learners are equipped to quickly process multiple inputs. “Today’s students think and process information fundamentally differently from their predecessors” (Prensky, 2001a). They focus on graphics before text and thrive on the frequent rewards and instant gratification that come from digital games. In fact, digital learning has been shown to have a positive effect on students’ conceptual and procedural knowledge as well as their motivation to learn. Specifically, science understanding and literacy —and ultimately academic gains— can be achieved through the use of computer-based programs that provide opportunities for digital explorations and virtual investigations.
Several studies have indicated that student interest in learning and the motivation to learn may be enhanced with the use of educational digital-format games. Other research implies the link between well-designed digital learning tools and computer games shows the potential for positive student achievement. In addition to the potential for positive educational outcomes is the growing familiarity of technology with exceptionally young children. Nielsen Research reports that 50% of game console players are children aged 2-17. Today, the average child starts to play computer games at age 6. By the time students have entered kindergarten, they’ve already become very digitally motivated.
Science4Us is a program that meets the needs of our digital natives. It allows them to do experiments, practice reading skills and produce math in relation to science.
– Leaha – 2nd grade teacher
Text-based approaches fail to fully engage 21st century learners. The cognitive differences of today’s digital learners call for new educational approaches. Too little enthusiasm for science exists and that students are exposed to too many facts and not enough experiences to help them understand processes and big ideas. For years, text-based curricula represented an effective educational solution, but for today’s digital learners it only serves to further student deprivation of scientific experience.
Unlike text-based curricula, the Science4Us curriculum will capture the interest of the digitally-motivated learners of today by providing digital science experiences in the form of interactive lessons, engaging videos and music, exploratory games and virtual investigations.
The digital natives are restless. Let Science4Us help you engage your digital natives!