By Hook or by Crook: Engaging Reluctant Readers and Writers through the Use of Technology and Virtual Field Trips

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Grounded in the assumption that reading is an integral and inseparable component of the broader concept of literacy, which involves the six language arts of listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and representing (Parr & Campbell, 2006), this presentation provides an overview of a holistic approach to engaging reluctant, or students often considered to be “at risk” in the reading and writing processes. Recent advances in technology and internet access has opened up multitude of resources never before available to teachers and students. Many of these, including Virtual Field Trips can be used to stimulate interest and motivate students to select their own topics of interest and self direct their own research, reading, and learning (Fine, 1999). This presentation will explore the use of Virtual Field Trips as a means of engaging students in researching, writing, and sharing with others their developing knowledge on topics of individual interest. A variety of engaging report formats will be presented with connections made to reading, writing, viewing, and representing through alternative modes of delivery. The role of the educator in setting the stage, building background knowledge, providing access to technology with connections made to reading, writing, viewing, and representing in alternative methods and formats will be highlighted

The goal of this session is to provide elementary educators with an awareness of Virtual Field Trips as well as how to effectively use technology and related resources to engage reluctant readers and “at risk” students in meaningful and productive reading and writing activities. Throughout this session, participants will develop an awareness of and comfort with a variety of Virtual Field Trips including museums, zoos, animal viewing in the wilds, and space exploration. as well as software applications including Smart Ideas, KidPix and SMART technology that are available to assist students/teachers with research, reading and writing.


Keywords: At Risk, Reluctant Reader/Writer, Disengaged Readers/Writers, Virtual Field Trips, Technology, Student Motivation
Stream: Learning, Education, Training
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Using a Cold Homicide Case to Teach Criminal Profiling, Clinical Evaluation, , By Hook or by Crook


Dr. Jeff Scott

Professor, Curriculum Studies: Primary/Junior Science
Outdoor/Experiential Education, Nipissing University

North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Jeff Scott is currently working in the role of Assistant Professor in the Pre-Service teaching program at Nipissing University. Jeff teaches the science component for primary junior Pre-Service teachers emphasizing inquiry-based learning and experiential education. Prior to joining Nipissing University, Jeff was a primary/junior teacher and has taught in both Canada and New Zealand.

Prof. Michael Parr

Professor, Education and Schooling
Special Education, Nipissing University

North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Michael Parr currently teaches in the Faculty of Education at Nipissing University and brings with him considerable experience working with students ‘at risk’ as well as those students identified as having specific emotional and behavioural disorders. His wide variety of teaching experiences in both segregated and regular classroom settings, as well as his experiences as an administrator, have been instrumental in serving as a springboard into his research addressing the needs of students ‘at risk’. Other research interests center around teacher education, and educational leadership & change with emphasis placed on practices that foster Inclusive schools and issues of equity and social justice.

Dr. Warnie James Richardson

Professor, Special Education
Educational Psychology, Nipissing University

North Bay, Ontario, Canada

A native of Shawville, Quebec, Dr. Richardson is currently a professor of Educational Psychology and Special Education at Nipissing University in Northern Ontario. Prior to arriving at Nipissing, he was a Special Education
teacher/educational assessor for sixteen years, all in very hard to serve educational environments, both in Canada and the Caribbean. His doctoral work, and most of his writing to date, have focused on the life experiences of
juvenile delinquents and the incredible resiliency of at-risk or marginalized adolescents.

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