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Observation Report Term Paper


A significant number of children experience difficulties in learning and reading. The problem not only restricts learners’ academic achievement but also increases their risk of emotional and social detachment. According to McArthur and Castles (2017), youngsters who face this challenge are highly heterogeneous since they do not display similar reading impairments. For example, some of them may have problems learning new words by memorizing the order of certain letters. The issue is commonly referred to as poor phonological recording or decoding disorder and is diagnosed by asking learners to read novel nonwords (McArthur & Castles, 2017). Other students, such as Diego, may exhibit low reading motivation, but they can be helped through different technologies.

Use of Technology
Technology can be utilized to assist Diego to develop reading interests for both academic and recreational resources. Its effectiveness in enhancing students’ learning capabilities has been studied by different researchers.

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For example, McKnight et al. (2016) employed a multisite case study research design to examine the usefulness of diverse digital instructional strategies that tutors use. The authors conducted interviews and focus group sessions in several educational centers across the United States. It was established that technology improves teachers and students’ access to up-to-date learning resources (McKnight et al., 2016). Therefore, such instructional methods may help Diego increase his motivation for reading.

Mobile Devices
According to the results of the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS), Diego has poor reading habits since he appears to focus more on recreational materials than academic resources. Teachers can utilize mobile phones to increase his interest in studying course textbooks. Judge, Floyd, and Jeffs (2015) examined the manner in which diverse devices, such as iPods, smartphones, iPads, and other computing technologies, can be used to transform learning among young children. The researchers observed that these gadgets can increase learners’ academic outcomes, facilitate conversations with adults, and enhance the development of motor skills. Therefore, if Diego’s teachers use such technologies in the right way, they would succeed in encouraging him to improve his reading habits.

Mobile Applications. Mobile applications are among the most effective ways through which the teachers can motivate Diego to read. Judge et al. (2015) indicated that children are comfortable in using such technologies to enhance their academic outcomes. Young learners can use applications in several ways, including identifying solutions and learning explicit content. Some of the most popular apps that Diego can utilize include Super Why and Marth Speaks: Dog Party. The former facilitates enhancement of students’ literacy skills, while the latter promotes vocabulary learning. Therefore, such applications can not only improve Diego’s reading competencies but also his memorization ability.
Computer Technologies

Researchers have examined the use of computers in enhancing students’ interest in learning. Particularly, Shannon, Styers, Wilkerson, and Peery (2015) employed a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of Accelerated Reader, a program that monitors learners’ reading progress. The authors focused on Midwestern U.S. city and used a sample of 344 young students between first and fourth grades. Through hierarchical linear modelling analyses, it was found that computer-assisted learning programs have statistically significant positive effect on children’s academic outcomes. For this reason, Accelerated Reader could be used to help Diego increase his motivation for reading both recreational and course materials. However, a modification would be required to ensure that the program displays more visually appealing texts and graphics.

Apart from Accelerated Reader, Hatle might be a useful tool for encouraging students to read. It is a computer-assisted learning resource for children with Down syndrome. Although Diego does not suffer from this disease, the software may significantly increase his reading levels. According his academic history, it is apparent that he might have attention problems that are likely to limit his reading enthusiasm. For this reason, the software could be used to address this issue as it encourages young students to read through creative and playful activities.

Classroom Aesthetics
The appearance of a classroom considerably determines a child’s eagerness to learn. It may also encourage Diego to feel more comfortable while interacting with his teachers. Since he does not maintain eye contact with people, creating an appealing environment might motivate him to look at different directions and overcome his shyness. For example, teachers could place educational posters on attractive mediums, such as fish aquariums, artworks, and plants. This way, the child might improve his interest in reading both recreational and academic materials.

As indicated in Diego’s biographical information, he appears to prefer perusing recreational materials to classroom resources. Nevertheless, his overall reading motivation is low as highlighted in the ERAS scores. Diego may be motivated to read more through the adoption of different technologies. For example, iPods, smartphones, iPads, and other computing technologies could be used to encourage him to study. It would also be necessary to design the appearance of the classroom in an appealing manner to create a comfortable reading environment. Through these strategies, Diego might increase his interest in recreational and academic resources.
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Judge, S., Floyd, K., & Jeffs, T. (2015). Using mobile media devices and apps to promote young children’s learning. In K.L. Heider & M. R. Jalango (Eds.), Young children and families in the information age: Applications of technology in early childhood (pp. 117-131). Dordrecht: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9184-7_7
McArthur, G., & Castles, A. (2017). Helping children with reading difficulties: Some things we have learned so far. npj Science of Learning, 2(1), 7. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41539-017-0008-3
McKnight, K., O’Malley, K., Ruzic, R., Horsley, M. K., Franey, J. J., & Bassett, K. (2016). Teaching in a digital age: How educators use technology to improve student learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 48(3), 194-211. doi: 10.1080/15391523.2016.1175856
Shannon, L. C., Styers, M. K., Wilkerson, S. B., & Peery, E. (2015). Computer-assisted learning in elementary reading: A randomized control trial. Computers in the Schools, 32(1), 20-34. https://doi.org/10.1080/07380569.2014.969159

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