Many people bash television, video games, ipods, and computers for creating lazy children who spend less time reading and using their imagination. Is this true? It's my viewpoint that reading will look different in the future than it does right now. Rather than giving up, educators need to use their imagination and think outside the box so that we are creating different readers rather than non-readers.
Children and young adults today (myself included), are digital natives. This means we entered into a world full of computers, video games, and television. Technology was simply part of our lives. Many teachers however are digital immigrants- they grew up in a world without computers, video games, and television and they were slowly introduced throughout the digital immigrant's lifetime. What does this mean? For digital immigrants need to understand that children today are very different today and might even think differently (I'd like to see a study on this, because I think it might be true). We need to create learning opportunities using technology rather than insisting that children learn the same way children have in the United States for hundreds of years.
There are so many ideas on how to use technology to create different readers rather than non readers. Here are some ideas.
Ipod- audiobooks listened to while a student follows along with a print text can increase reading fluency. There are also so many educational podcasts, videos, and songs that can be added to them to increase phonemic awareness, phonics, and vocabulary.
TV- turn on the closed captioning. Having the closed captioning on is research based to increase reading fluency.
Video Games- Video games finetune motor skills and there are many educational video games that can help students improve their reading or math skills.
Computer- I do not even know where to start. The computer/Internet has opened up the world for students. Please see Online Resources for Educators for some ideas. There is so much available though, this list could go on forever!
I hope you now see that we have to change the way we think about educating children and realize that they learn differently today. That does not mean they will be non-readers!