AP's Reflections

Just another CSU Thinkspace

#INF537 – Critical Reflection

October10

Coming now to the last formal assessment piece in the cap-stone subject of the course, there is plenty to reflect upon.

My final research piece was created based on so much that I have undertaken throughout this course – an amazing journey around the world of knowledge and information studies. Using digital games and the gamification of the classroom in an all-boys primary school where each boy has an iPad always seemed a logical choice as a research topic.

Throughout all of my subjects I have also been acutely aware of how to incorporate so much of what I have learnt in the course into the confines of the Australian Curriculum with the ‘threat’ of NAPLAN tests hanging over every teacher’s head.  As an administrator in my workplace I need to encourage the teaching staff, join with their enthusiasm but also ensure we have a degree of consistency across the campus and remind them that our school needs to remain compliant to curriculum requirements. I now refer regularly to the New Horizons Report to see what developments are either fast approaching or a little way off and how these may impact on my work as an educator.  Kiili (2005, p.14) reminds all educators that, “The use of technology alone does not motivate students that have lived in the midst of technology all of their lives.  Thus, learning situations and methods that engage learners must be created.” The teacher is still the significant person in any classroom providing context and flow for the creation of knowledge. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the clip below talks about FLOW – which Van Eck (2006, p.26) describes as  “the constant cycle of cognitive disequilibrium and resolution – the engagement – is what leads to the experience of flow.”

 

I found the Simon Welsh colloquium one of the most interesting this Semester. It led to, by coincidence, a fascinating discussion with a parent from my school and the linked Simon Welsh analytics blog post was written. I found that the idea of analytics that Simon talked about connected with what happens behind the scenes when you play a game like “Ingress” which we were encouraged to ‘play’ with last semester.

 

The combination of analytics, the affordances of game play and a contemporary curriculum can only lead to positive learning experiences for the students in our class.  Game play in a classroom can leverage the characteristics that keep our students so engaged in games that they play for leisure.  James Paul Gee and Extra Credits talk about some of the affordances that video games offer to the domain of education: the creation of knowledge and the accomplishment of complex goals.

Something else that has really added to my learning experience is the importance of blogging and reflecting upon my learning through the Thinkspace Blog and also through the micro-blogging site Twitter.  Whilst I had heard of both of these Web 2.0 tools, I had not utilised them to the potential that I am now much more aware of.  The fact that I discovered during this semester the capacity of Twitter to even be used as a form of digital scholarship opens up other possibilities in the future.

So, I have much to be thankful for as a result of undertaking this study.  The idea that we create knowledge and can do this in a co-creative fashion from anywhere in the world, and with any educational background, is an amazing aspect of today’s ICT.  The other significant area of knowledge that I have gained, and one that has significance in my workplace, is the potential of using games and the gamification of the curriculum for our students.  Our students who grow up today with technology all around them, and are described by Prensky as ‘digital natives’, benefit from this strategy as was suggested in my own research and supported by Alexe, et.el (2013, p.72) “Gamification and educational games have a positive impact on motivation, engagement and performance.”  Something we want in every classroom around the world.

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Module 3 – Specialist Research Project

September29

Module 3 is an interesting read in regards our upcoming Case Study assessment.  The timing of this unit in regards the ‘real world’ is also quite timely.

In recent times the world has found out about the fraudulent behaviour of VW in regards to the level of emissions that came from their vehicles.  The whole world has been shocked to hear how widespread this is but it does lead us to ponder the significance and importance of research in today’s world.

Many unsuspecting VW owners worldwide will attest to the fact that they did do their research prior to making the significant outlay of money to purchase their new car which they thought would deliver a comfortable and be reasonably good for the environment.  They now find out that this may not quite be the case and I am sure the lawyers will be lining up worldwide to ‘assist’ with a class action – we know who wins in that case!

The problem for engineers at VW is that there is pressure on them to have certain results published. They also have the know how as to how an independent investigator will test their assertions to either validate or disagree with the findings.  Also, is it a case of technicians checking their own work for their own errors or validation?  Never a good predicament for independent results.

This is really a very bad situation for everyone who is connected with it in any way shape or form.  But how can this be avoided in other realms of research and more specifically with what we are most concerned with – the world of education.

Anyway, what does this have to do with our unit of Digital Futures Colloquium?  My first assignment focussed on how Twitter can be used as a means of digital scholarship.  I noted in that writing the affordances that Web 2.0 tools and social media, with a specific focus on Twitter, contribute to digital scholarship. Specifically, the ability to share research and data in real time and to have a wide variety of other people, not necessarily scholars, critique, comment and make suggestions towards what might be an end product that could be published online for free (and updated as new knowledge comes to light).

We need to constantly to ensure the research that we utilise to make informed decisions has been vetted by independent sources. Today, I see as a great advantage the affordances of the Web 2.0 environment to do this.  We can target specific sources within our contacts and also just ‘put it out there’.  Our sources can also be encouraged to share more widely to their networks so that the finished product has been scrutinised utilising a wide variety of lenses.  Not only then will different assertions be tested more widely, the final product will have benefited from the expertise that is available from all around the world.

The other critical aspect to consider here is the ability of people to attempt to validate what they are reading prior to making decisions.  In the VW example above, this could have been very difficult as you would hope the automotive industry and government regulators have thoroughly checked and validated the findings of the specific manufacturer.  But do they? Has this process become a rubber stamping mechanism or does it truly test the findings in an independent fashion?

As educators today, we need to be skilling our students to be able to read, understand and interrogate the data that is presented to them to minimise the potential for another VW case to happen again.

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Interpretive discussion

September20

Having read through some other students blogs to see their interpretive discussion posted, I thought that i would follow suite.  I found this a very interesting task and was reasonably pleased with the result.

Digital Scholarship – only a tweet away.

 

Social networking tools, like Twitter, are beginning to demonstrate

their potential as powerful communication and collaboration tools

in social, political, and educational arenas.

(Corbeil, J.R. & Corbeil, M.E., 2015, p. 13)

 

Introduction

Scholarly works and scholarship have been a significant part of the education and the academic world for thousands of years.  Until the dawn of the printing press they were the domain of princes and monks as they were the only people with ready access to the printed material.  Then, with the dawn of the age of the printing press, scholarship in a printed form was much more widely available, and even affordable, to the masses who had the ability to read it.  Now, in the digital, internet and Web 2.0 age, is digital scholarship only a tweet away on my mobile device as I travel to and from my work place or as I sit in my lecture or classroom? (Veletsianos and Kimmons, 2012, p.768)

 

Yesteryear – analogue scholarship?

Scholarship has permeated the world for many thousands of years.  Once, in the sanctity of a monastery or a palace, it is now in the realm of people in the mainstream and is more readily available for those needing or wanting access.  But what is scholarship? Scholarship is what scholars do with Weller (2011) defining a scholar as “a learned person or a specialist in a given branch of knowledge” (p.4).  Analogue scholarship today may well have been created on a computer along with sources discovered utilising a web browser with the end product possibly being available online in a restricted, pay for download environment.  Is this a contemporary view of scholarship though and does it meet the needs of today’s students and scholars alike?

 

Greenhow, Robelia and Hughes describe, “traditional notions of acceptable scholarship in education and in most other fields depend on rigorous, often blind peer review in high-ranking and typically closed-access journals.” (2009, p.281). The difficulty with traditional or analogue scholarship though, a phrase coined by Weller (2012, p.348), as Rheingold goes on to say is that, “for example, if we were speaking, we could communicate only with the people who could hear us directly.” (2010, p22).  Analogue scholarship uses important networks of, usually trusted, peers to share ideas with, to collaborate with on projects as well as reviewing papers, discuss ideas and to get feedback from (Weller, 2011, p.4). But do we only want the select few to share their ideas with each other or to have ready access to scholarly works or is it preferable that larger numbers of individuals, or even vast networks of people, have access to scholarly works anywhere, anytime – even possibly contribute to their creation?

 

Emerging possibilities for digital scholarship

If yesteryear scholarship can be called analogue, then the scholarship of today, and going forward to tomorrow, can be identified as digital scholarship.  Weller (2012, p.348) identified that there needs to be a convergence of a trilogy of aspects for significant change to come about in the domain of digital scholarship:

  1. Digital content;
  2. With a global network; and
  3. Open approaches.

 

At the moment, there are examples of digital scholarship that are utilising the first and second aspects as described by Weller above.  But the time for change in scholarship and full acceptance of digital scholarship practices as described by Weller (2012) are needed.  Veletsianos and Kimmons (2012) are consciously aware that, “just as societies, governments, and other social groups adapt and change over time, so too do universities, the work that they do, and how they do that work (p766).”  Added to this, they continue, is the awareness that, “our understanding of scholarship has been in a state of transformation in recent years” (p770).  But how wide spread is this transformation and what impact is it having on scholarship?  Veletsianos and Kimmons have identified that with the advent of the internet, Web 2.0 and the digitised world that scholarship is being digitised and being embodied into practices but it is far from being a dominant aspect of academic culture (2012, p.770).  What is promising though is that there is change afoot and that scholarly works are not only becoming digitised in the way they look and the way they are shared or distributed but also in the way that they are constructed even if, “there is still a cultural and institutional change required in order to make these changes open and networked” (Weller, 2011, p. 81).  Sadly though, in many instances and institutions, analogue practices do not change because they are the standard practice for scholarship and a way of easily rewarding scholarship and maintaining tenure and prestige within the institution and broader academic community (Weller, 2012).

 

Those scholars who are more comfortable in the digital environment are aware that the health of their field of endeavour and scholarship is dependent upon digital competencies (Zorich, 2012, p.19).  Further, those who are experimenting with digital potential in the participatory, Web 2.0 social media world “are considering how digital scholarship might open up new areas of enquiry” (Zorich, 2012, p.19).  These scholars see that scholarship in the digital world can be represented by:

  1. Building a digital collection of information for further study and analysis;
  2. Creating appropriate tools for collection-building;
  3. Creating appropriate tools for the analysis and study of collections;
  4. Using digital collections and analytical tools to generate new intellectual products;
  5. Creating authoring tools for these new intellectual products, either in traditional form or in digital form (Weller, 2012, p348)

 

As part of building onto the digital scholarship of works Veletsianos and Kimmons (2012, p.767) excite many with the view that, “…technological changes are going to flood how we currently think about, do, and represent research” – something that many scholars are already aware of and utilising.  They go on to suggest that scholars, “utilize participatory technologies and online social networks for scholarly purposes” (2011, p.767), however, whilst remembering that technology is not necessarily the be all and end all, it is “playing a significant role in how people are communicating, working, constructing knowledge and socialising” (Weller, 2011, p. 11) and it is with this in mind that I will focus on how Twitter can be utilised to support and grow digital scholarship for scholars today and those who will be the scholars of tomorrow.  The 2015 New Horizons report (K-12 edition) suggests that one of the key trends accelerating technology adoption in K-12 education in the mid-term (three to five years) is:

  • An Increasing Use of Collaborative Learning Approaches; and
  • A Shift from Students as Consumers to Creators.

This in itself provides more impetus for a change in scholarship methods to those that embrace participatory, digital scholarship practices.

 

Twitter – the ability to tweet digital scholarship to, and with, the masses

“As a free Web 2.0 application, Twitter has become a popular microblogging tool and social networking website (Kassens-Noo, 2012 p.10).  Using a computer, smart phone or tablet device, users communicate by exchanging quick, frequent and short messages of up to 140 characters in length (Kassens-Noo, 2012 p.10) whilst also having the ability to post images as well as links to video files, longer and more expansive texts or blogs as well as websites.  The Twitter company website shares the following statistics about the application:

  • 316 million, monthly users;
  • 500 million tweets/day;
  • 80% of users are active on a mobile device; and
  • More than 35 languages are supported.

What these figures indicate is that there is potentially a significant impact to be realised in the use of Web 2.0-type output (Weller, 2011) applications like Twitter.

 

Zorich shares that Web 2.0 applications like Twitter are “increasingly being used as a means of scholarly communication” (2012, p.48) inviting a multitude of perspectives and is also supported by Veletsianos and Kimmons with scholars who “utilize participatory technologies and online social networks for scholarly purposes” (2012, p.767).  Weller (2011, p. 78) had difficulty precisely stating why people contribute to scholarly works in participatory networks through social media like Twitter, but suggested that some reasons could be:

Reason How this looks on Twitter
A social connection with the owner of the page. Follow a colleague or known scholar.
Interest in the subject being discussed/shared. Search and/or follow a # (hashtag) category, #inf537 for example.
The interest and enthusiasm of engaging with the community involved in the subject being discussed/shared. Follow an institution or group.
Their own ego. Create your own presence on Twitter, follow others and be followed.

 

The other affordances that Twitter as a social, participatory form of scholarship offer the user is the different types of scholarly data output that can all be collaborated on and disseminated through Twitter.  Data, research papers, software code as well as lecture/teaching content can all be stored and shared through Twitter using shortened URLs or hyperlinked for others to access later.  Ideas/proposals along with debates/seminars and debates/discussions can all be disseminated directly through the Twitter application in real time as a post with a # hashtag so others can follow the category.  Feedback is able to be given in real time, or at a later date, with the author being notified when such has been tweeted.  In fact, as Weller identifies “via digital networked means, they (the outputs) become a shareable artefact” (2011, p.79) that can be searched for and retrieved later.  Tweeting about artefacts like those noted could actually be seen as a by-product of academic activity just like taking notes (Weller, 2011, p.81) which means that the resultant change is an output being produced that is shareable.  As these artefacts are shared, discussed and added to, “the work of both scholarship and practice progresses as a consequence of dialogue, debate and exchange” (Greenhow, Robelia and Hughes, 2009, p.280).  Coleman (2013, p.60) describes this as Twitter “empowering individuals to share their voice in a media-centric model” and that Twitter is “one of the most informative resources available with regard to what’s going on locally, national and globally in modern day culture.”  Social media, like Twitter, allows all users to communicate and collaborate in ways that disregard institutional, and for that fact national, boundaries.

 

Twitter is a valid form of digital scholarship because, as a Web 2.0 technology, it supports dissemination, adaptations and conversations about individual scholarship (Greenhow, Robelia and Hughes, 2009, p.246).  In this manner, Twitter allows, in fact encourages, ‘openness, conversation, collaboration, access, sharing and transparent revision’ (Greenhow, Robelia and Hughes, 2009, p.53) that can continually be interacted with by the original author and others collaborating in real time or later on.  In fact, Twitter as a Web 2.0 application allows academics to reflect on and reimagine what they do as scholars whilst by inviting multiple perspectives into the shaping of the scholarly work crucial advancements emerge when disciplinary scholars reach in to the knowledge corpus outside their own (Greenhow, Robelia and Hughes, 2009, p.282).

 

Web 2.0 applications like Twitter, as Dede (2009, p.260) states, enhance the scholarly as they “promote richly documented, rapid interchanges among groups of scholars sharing and discussing research representations, theories, methods, findings and models.”

 

“…social media is not a queue; it’s a flow”(p.22) where

“…doing things together gives us more power than doing things alone.” (p. 20)

(Rheingold, 2010)

Conclusion

Digital scholarship is on the cusp of significant change.  The increased use of Web 2.0 applications, Twitter in particular, builds upon traditional, analogue scholarship whilst making the most of contemporary digital applications, technology and the participatory nature of the social Web 2.0.  Zorich says that “… it extends the functional perception of the online from being ‘a place to search’ to ‘a place to interact.’ (2012, p.49).  Weller goes on to say that, “as with other scholarly functions, some will remain, but the digital alternative not only allows for new ways of realising the same goals but also opens up new possibilities.” (2012, p. 84).  Using Twitter for digital scholarship increases the potential to enhance learning and promote creativity, collaboration and sharing (Dede, 2009, p.260) whilst also considering that tools, like Twitter, make the job easier with the results being of a higher quality than would be possible without the tool itself.

References

Coleman, V., (2013) Social Media as a Primary Source: A Coming of Age. EDUCAUSE Review, November/December, 2013, Vol.48, No. 6, 60-61

 

Corbeil, J.R., Corbeil, M.E., (2015). The Birth of a Social Networking Phenomenon. Educating Educators with Social Media. Published online: 02 Mar 2015; 13-32.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/S2044-9968(2011)0000001004

 

Dede, C (2009). Technologies That Facilitate Generating Knowledge and Possibly Wisdom.  Educational Researcher, Vol. 38, No. 4, 260–263

http://dx.doi.org/10.3102/0013189X09336672

 

Greenhow, C., Robelia, B., Hughes, J.E., (2009). Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship in a Digital Age.  Web 2.0 and Classroom Research: What Path Should We Take Now? Educational Researcher, Vol. 38, No. 4, 246–259

http://dx.doi.org/10.310.3102/0013189X09336671

 

Greenhow, C., Robelia, B., Hughes, J.E., (2009). Research on Learning and Teaching With Web 2.0:  Bridging Conversations. Educational Researcher, Vol. 38, No. 4, 280–283.

http://dx.doi.org/10.3102/0013189X09336675

 

Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Estrada, V., and Freeman, A. (2015). NMC Horizon Report: 2015 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

 

Kassens-Noor, E., (2012).  Twitter as a teaching practice to enhance active and informal learning in higher education: The case of sustainable tweets. Active Learning in Higher Education March 2012 Vol. 13, No. 1, 9-21

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1469787411429190

 

Rheingold, H., (2010). Attention and other 21st Century Social Media Literacies. EDUCAUSE Review, Sept, 2010, Vol.45, No. 5, 14-16

 

 

Twitter.com – https://about.twitter.com/company

 

Veletsianos, G. & Kimmons, R., (2012). Networked Participatory Scholarship:  Emergent techno-cultural pressure toward open and digital scholarship in online networks. Computers and education, Vol. 58, No. 2, 766-774

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2011.10.001

 

Weller, M. (2011). The digital scholar: How technology is transforming scholarly practice. A&C Black.

http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781849666275

 

Weller, Martin (2012). Digital Scholarship and the Tenure Process as an Indicator of Change in Universities. In “Innovation and Good Practices in University Government and Management” [online dossier]. Universities and Knowledge Society Journal (RUSC). Vol. 9, No 2, 347-360

http://dx.doi.org/10.7238/rusc.v9i2.1398

 

Zorich, D. M. (2012). Transitioning to a Digital World: Art History, Its Research Centers, and Digital Scholarship.  Report to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, George Mason University.

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Some reflections and musings to date

September20

It has been some time since I last posted and, thanks to this course, I feel a bit guilty about the fact.  This is quite a strange sensation but understandable when other students quite regularly post.

Thanks to our colloquium, I am fully aware that through data analytics that all my activity on the CSU site can be tracked and monitored.  Whilst this might seem invasive, it is also important for lecturers to be aware of what students are doing and how they are going about it.  As classroom teachers we undertake similar activities to check in on our students to see what they are up to and if they are coping with the activity or the workload.  In some ways the data analytics going on behind the scenes is almost comforting.

Then, I moved into the first of our formal assessments – the interpretive discussion.  I have been wanting to try to bring all my units together through this one as the capstone, rather than venturing into another new aspect. I opted to look at how Twitter could be used as a form of digital scholarship.  I was very new to Twitter when I first embarked on this Masters Study through CSU and really did not appreciate the value that Twitter can have in a formal manner.  I suppose many of us, especially when Twitter was relatively new, got sidetracked by the media in their hype up of celebrities tweeting about what they had for lunch with an image attached! Also, the hype around which celebrity could attract the most followers who would wait with baited breath for the next installment – maybe what the celebrity had as an afternoon snack!

However, like many things in life, if one delves a little further and spends the time investigating, new realisations occur.  I have been able to find some very interesting and well informed people to follow on Twitter. I have chatted with them via Twitter about different educational topics and have been able to find others to follow thanks to the shared listing of followers that you can access or the way someone’s followers might interact with the discussion thread.  Ideas can be shared, teased out and receive input from a vast array of people all around the world.  Quite often input is received from people who may not be solely dedicated to the education sector which only adds to the richness of the conversation and the well developed resolution.  Through participation, reflection and sharing new knowledge is constructed and created ready for it to be tested and reviewed.  Along with life itself today, the world of education is getting broader and open to input from a wide array of sources – there is no longer a sole expert.

That brings me now to the last of our assessment tasks – the research project.  As I mentioned earlier, I am really trying to bring as much as I can from previous units to this capstone unit.  I have been particularly interested in the use of games and gamification practices in education and how these can fit in with, and be supported by, a curriculum framework to support students and staff alike.  I have been very interested to look in more detail at why our students will stay engaged and challenged by quite difficult concepts in digital games but appear to throw in the towel if a similar challenge (or even easier) confronts them in a traditional classroom.  How can I as a leader of a school support teachers to take the risk of including game like pedagogies into their classrooms whilst still being able to deliver the mandated curriculum and achieve favourable results?

I have found some journal articles that have done some investigation into Mathletics (a software package that my own school uses) but also want to investigate and compare the findings in these articles to my specific site which is an all boys school from Grade 3 to 6 (also happens to be 1:1 iPad).  I have devised online questionnaires through Google forms which have been sent to staff and parents to complete – this is underway.  Next week, our last week of term, the boys will be asked to scan a QR code to access the student surveys.

In doing a preliminary skim read of some of the parent responses, it has been interesting to note the many perspectives that they themselves bring to the educational journey.  I am really looking forward to compiling this data and comparing it to other data that I have been able to locate and devise some propositions to move us all forward.

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Simon Welsh Learning Analytics

August8

I found the session with Simon very interesting especially in light of the impending release of NAPLAN data after this year’s round of assessments.  I worry continually that we assess our students and then it takes so long for the results to be shared and then for some form of action or intervention to occur.  It was very interesting from what Simon was saying that there are increasing efforts across a range of domains to interact more with the ‘client’ so that interventions could occur in a more timely fashion.

I agreed with the thoughts that people had during the conversation about levels of privacy and this must be a careful consideration, however, if the overall result is a learning environment and programme that fully caters to a students needs, in a timely fashion, then this must be a positive for all concerned.

It is funny how small the world is, or maybe how deep. A few days after the colloquium, I was having a discussion with one of the parents at school – some one I have been chatting with about this course.  He asked what I was up to now.  I started to discuss what I had taken away from the analytics chat and shortly he shared with me some links from work that the CSIRO has been doing with Federal Government departments.  Watching these links also helped me, I think, to better understand what analytics is about but more importantly, how we can use this idea to assist in the classroom.  It was interesting to see how this was explained as a ‘real world’ example and how so many things are happening behind the scenes whenever we do anything in the online world.

LATTE – improving web experience.

 

Optimising digital service channels.

I particularly like, and am appreciative, of these links as they also show how Australia is taking a considerable role in this way forward.

I am struggling though to see how, and possibly when, we might be using analytics in our primary classrooms so that we can all offer all of our students the best education possible for them.

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Thread: 1.3 Peer colloquium – Participatory learning

July23

Until I commenced this course last year it had been over 10 years since I had undertaken any formal study in Education.  Well hasn’t the world changed a lot in that relatuively brief time. I can still remember going to the post office to pick up the ‘parcel’ of outlines and readings that had been developed for each unit.  There was minimal contact with the university let alone the lecturer for the subject.  Throughout this course there has not only been a lot of interaction with the lecturer, both direct and indirect, but also contact between peer students.

I must confess I have particularly enjoyed the communication using Twitter and the blogs.  In particular, I have found composing and then reading the blogs of others particularly useful and interesting.  It is fascinating to be able to read other people’s interpretations and views and then be able to comment on them in a timely and professional manner.  I particularly like the use of the blog as it encourages reflection on what I have read and how I have understaood it.  I am endeavouring to incorporate this more into my small amount of classroom teaching that I do on a weekly basis as I really don’t believe many teachers get their students to do this reflective learning enough.

I have also enjoyed the wide variety of content that has been made available as part of this degree.  At times, this has made it dificult to choose as there is such a range that appeals to my interests.  The other enjoyable facet has been the different ways that we have been asked to submit the assessment tasks. This has given us a range of choices and methods to put into practice some of the new skills that we have developed.

This week’s colloquium hook up with Annabel was quite interestng as at the school where I am we are heavy uses of digital items like those presented through ABC Splash.  Being a 1:1 iPad school with our campus connected to the NBN allows for many opportunities for our students to interact with digital repositories like Splash.  The fact Splash is managed by the ABC which does have a solid reputation as a broadcaster adn also has access to the archives o the ABC is a real win for educators and users of digital content.  The thought of trying to have a one-stop shop for all digital content is a worrying concept for me – I think if this happens the richness of content is lost.  I feel that providers of content should really stick to their strengths and harness all their energies to ensure the content produced is of the highest quality and reliable for the accuracy of the content.  What Splash has availbel to my students is reliable and high quality and something that the ABC, and all of us, should be proud of.

The availability of Splash content through Scootle is also a real plus as you can search for content that has been mapped to the Australian Curriculum and would be suitable for students and the content/skills being developed.  However, as with so many things these days, the teacher needs to harness these resources and assist in guiding students through the good and bad so that the richness of good content can be utilised to inspire our students.

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INF 537 Introductory Module

July18

I am a little torn in what I have taken from the Selwyn readings and what I have reflected upon along with the thoughts of those who have responded already in the discussion. Maybe I haven’t been able to get the real point of the readings?!

I agree with the comments written by others where our inbox or Twitter feed are bombarded with the ‘ideal’. The best app for this or that or how a piece of software has been introduced into their classroom/school and achieved remarkable results. Very rarely do we hear about the behind the scenes work that has been undertaken, possibly over a prolonged period of time, to achieve that outcome. Whilst, at times, it can be frustrating, it also gives us all something to strive for – we all want the best outcome in our own classroom/school. To me this also takes into consideration the fact that the local context will dictate how and why something will or will not be successful. Often these are details that are far less interesting when there is success to publicise.

Whilst I agree tht it is important that there be research into the ‘state of the actual’ I wonder how this could be done as every school’s actual will be completely different.  I would see that as part of any programme of implementation that a situational analysis would be undfertaken to take into consideration ‘the state of the actual’. Yes, having a core group of questions to answers or statements to address based on research in an attempt to ensure success would be very helpful. Possibly also a flow chart of steps and suggetsed timings also would be hnady as part of implementation, but I would see that this should be part of our professional way of going forward to ensure success. We tell our students to plan their work and research background information prior to presenting a finished piece. If we are introducing a new app or software or even hardware, we should also plan it out prior.

As educators w ealso need to look for ourselves to see if the technology is appropriate for our purpose. This too should be what we are instilling into our students. Yes, on may occassions, a technology solution may be the best way forward. Likewise, there are many instances in our classrooms where a ‘traditional’ pen/paper or face-to-face option may be best. The technology (and all it enatils) is just another tool to be used and evaluted based on the needs of the task.

As I said from the outset, I hope I have understood this initial task.  Onwards to module 1.

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To game or not to game, may not be the only question – a critical reflection.

May25

The students we have in our classrooms today are very different to the children that were in my primary school classroom during the 1970’s.  When we went to school then we had a blackboard and chalk at the front of the classroom and we sat in old, wooden desks and only used pen and paper.  We were allowed to play games outside on the playground but I don’t remember playing too many as part of our class work.  If we were lucky we were given the opportunity to watch an 8mm film!  Today, the children that attend my school are all equipped with an iPad with the classrooms being quite contemporary and filled with up to date technologies including laptop and desk top computers, an interactive whiteboard and an Apple TV.  Our students really are, as Prensky (2001) identified them, digital natives.  Not only do they have their own hand held devices, but they can access information 24/7, produce information and create new knowledge as well as play, and even create, a variety of games.

 

Since commencing my current position, I have grappled with how we can better use the technology that we have at our disposal.  In the past I have questioned how educationally sound games were and, must be honest, that some I have seen or played really lacked in this area.  It was not till I started this unit that I started to better comprehend the powerful learning that can happen if the correct game or games are used.  I have heard first hand and also read a number of pieces by James Paul Gee.  The video of him articulating the principles of learning really made sense to me.  I have often heard students say that they can’t understand why they are learning something.  Having a clear purpose for their learning as well as the ability to customise attributes of their learning and experience makes digital games a powerful resource for the learning and teaching programme.

 

I have experienced this first hand whilst being exposed to Ingress (Niantic Labs, 2015) as part of this unit.  The narrative is enticing and before you have too much information you need to select a team.  The game operates in an augmented reality domain and is powered through GPS locators.  Players need to claim assets, keep them charged and protect them whilst helping other players on their team to look after their assets.  Linking assets also assists with this and gains points for you assisting you to go up levels.  As a player, you are regularly updated if one of your assets is under threat, a reality that is not too pleasant.  The game is played world wide with the opportunity for teams to gather.  It can be addictive.

 

The fact that children want to play games says that there is more to them than meets the eye.  The designers ‘hook’ the players into the game in a meaningful way with a narrative.  The players are able to customise aspects of the game and, at the same time, learn about the task at hand and what tools they need to develop and use to be successful.  The challenge incrementally develops so that there is a desire to keep going.  There is the opportunity to win prizes, solve challenges and score points to go up levels and be able to tackle new challenges that usually require the utilisation of prior experiences.

 

As an educator I need to harness this strategy, either by using games or a game like strategies and ‘gamify’ the learning and teaching cycle.  The students in my class need me to structure their learning so the narrative entices them into the learning followed by opportunities for practice of skills that they need now or in the near future.  Tasks need to be hard enough to challenge the students but not so hard that they cannot achieve or too easy that interest is lost.  There needs to be prizes along the way to highlight achievements.  This is the structure that my students need and can learn from.  Game on!

 

Reference

Niantic Labs, 2015. Ingress. Retrieved from https://www.ingress.com/

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Why use DGBL in the Primary Curriculum?

May12

Name: Andrew Pinelli
Topic: Why use DGBL in the Primary Curriculum?
URL: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/andrewp/2015/05/12/why-use-dgbl-in-the-primary-curriculum/

Playing games, living in imaginary worlds and role play are all part of growing up when in a primary classroom and on the playground. In an education system that was founded in and on industrial revolution principles, how will we utilise these learning principles to develop DGBL and the development of 21st century skills? How can we harness these learning strategies into very busy classrooms with an already overcrowded curriculum and why?

This chapter will invite classroom teachers to adopt DGBL as a significant learning tool in their upper primary classroom and support them to identify how this strategy will assist in achieving curriculum outcomes and beyond.

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1.2 What are the features of games?

April26

I must confess, that for a large part of my adult life I haven’t really been a gamer.  When i was in high school in the ’80’s space invaders and pac man would have been my favourites.  Can still remember playing them for hours in an attempt to figure out the pattern or sequence that would help to achieve a higher score.  I did really enjoy the game and the challenge.  With the benefit of hind sight many facets of these games were educational.  There wasn’t a lot of collaboration – although there could have been, but there was the determination to figure out the pattern of the game that would eventuate in gaining a score higher than before.  Trying to learn, and then remember, the sequence of actions and moves was the objective of each game along with the disappointment if the correct move wasn’t undertaken at the correct moment.

I still also have recollections about donkey kong and how cool it was that it had the flipped screen – that also added to the challenge as you couldn’t focus just on what was immediately in front of you.  The challenge of remembering the correct sequence for jumping and dodging was an important part of this game play.  Possibly because these devices were more portable than the good old Atari, the potential for discussing strategies and achievements with friends was automatically made easier.

In later high school some friends were very involved in dungeons and dragons – I joined in but it never really hit the mark.  I was also far busier playing a variety of outdoor sports, which is also what many of my immediate friends were involved in, that playing digital games went well and truly by the wayside.  I am now really feeling quite left behind.

In my early teaching career i recall using a variety of rather fun drill and practice type games as well as ‘Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?’ The students at the time really enjoyed this as a way of stimulating other learning that may have been undertaken using pen and paper.  I also recall using ‘The Magic School Bus’ series, both digital and book versions to stimulate units of work.  The students were able to participate in a digital game that supported and reinforced other aspects of study in the classroom.  From these experiences I can certainly see the advantages that using digital games can have.

Today, even though my role is more administrative, my school uses Mathletics and Reading Eggs specifically in the classroom.  The idea of competition, on time feedback and acknowledgement, the ability that it meets an ability need combined with the fact that they are digital, and can be played on their iPads, are aspects that the students of an all boys school identify as stimulating.

Personally, i would like to delve more into Minecraft as it is something that my son is particularly interested in but I have also discovered through my study in this course that there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

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