Setting the Scene



The first section of this week’s resource materials directed us to the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (ATSIL) website where the ‘teacher standards’ are accessed. In my setting, I come across this several times throughout the year. We use them as the basis for our ARM (Annual Review Meetings) and therefore in the goal setting that occurs in term one.

Of the resources explored, the “Global Trends in Professional Learning and Performance Development” publication was of particular interest as it highlighted five trends that underpin professional learning (PL) within education. They include PL that is integrated, immersive, design-led, market-led, and open (ATSIL, 2014, p. 7). Reflecting on my own experience with PL, the ones that I’ve enjoyed the most and have found to be more effective are when it’s been immersive, integrated and design-led.   

Katz’s ‘What Counts as Professional Learning’ brought several interesting provocations to light. Firstly, his assertion that “professional development has a small to moderate impact on classroom practices and furthermore, has a small effect on student learning and achievement” (2013) He concludes that despite this, “it is the only thing we really have”(2013). This created the impetus for his research into what really works in PD. In terms of this clip’s suggestions, Katz (2013) argues that in order for learning communities to be effective, the conditions must be constructed for optimal results. Having a diversity within it is a must. The resulting debates and discussion are where the learning happens.

Timperley’s analysis of how teachers learn really seemed to click with me. Her clinical approach through “assessing students diagnostically; understanding what they need to learn next” then applying “pedagogical content knowledge”(2012) really made sense. I’m looking forward to exploring more of Timperley’s work and reflecting on how I can implement it within my teams.

Fullan’s ‘Learning is the Work’ clip paired nicely with Timperley. He observed that people may undertake formal study or attend workshops but not much would change in their workplace. He pinpointed that learning needed to be the work; and that “you won’t improve the organisation if you’re not working on it day after day”(2015). Another point that Fullan (2015) made which resonated discussed the idea that people have to experience the benefits of this form of professional development before they can believe it. This point reinforces the  ATSIL’s   “Global Trends in Professional Learning and Performance Development” publication highlighting an immersive and integrated undertaking.



Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2014). Global trends in professional learning and performance & development. Retrieved from

Fullan, M. (2015). Learning is the Work [Video file]. Retrieved from

Katz, S. (2013). What Counts as Professional Learning?.[Video file]. Retrieved from 

Timperley, H. (2017). Professional Learning that makes a difference to students. [Video File]. Retrieved from

Critical Reflection




‘We’re preparing students for jobs that don’t exist.’


It’s funny when I think of it. This phrase that’s often been uttered on the frontlines of progressive secondary institutions and technology-based professional development conferences certainly applies to my own study under CSU’s Master of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation).


When I started the program, I had a really limited idea of the jobs that could be attained. Since then, doors have opened and my fellow students and I have been eligible to acquire some fantastic roles related to the field of knowledge networking and digital innovation.

More recently, I applied for a job as a ‘Blended Learning Advisor’ at Griffith University. It was only after a few weeks into our first assessment on digital scholarship that I realised I hadn’t targeted the cover letter to accurately highlight my ever-evolving skillset. Being from a secondary education background and seeking a new challenge, I didn’t yet have the knowledge of the struggles tertiary institutions felt with open, digital and networked content (Weller, 2011) that would be uncovered in this first assessment. I’m chalking this up to a tangible learning experience that I’ll be better prepared for should another similar role pop up.

The idea of a digital scholar/educator has really resonated with me since working on that first assessment. The term seems more encompassing than that of a ‘connected educator’ and I think it applies more accurately to what we’ve been doing throughout the course. I’ve relished the opportunity to publish work in a digital form. Creating video’s and Padlets , for example, have enabled others to access my learnings as well as presented me with the opportunity to gain feedback from a wider audience. One of the intangibles that I’ve extremely valued is the growth of my professional learning network as a result of my studies. The ability to  “learn anytime, anywhere, with potentially anyone around the world” (Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011, p. 2). Within this subject, I’ve hosted a Twitter chat regarding Assessment 1 where I contributed to discussions and analysis, and have (virtually) met with members of my PLN to discuss readings. 


Jacques du Toit proving that readings, discussions, and PLNs can be fun!

While this course is not ‘open’ so to speak, it has embraced these principles which I believe has driven our learning further. At its heart, is the emphasis to encourag[e] learners to share what they know, and construct knowledge together (Price, 2013, p.37). And while I value it and I walk this talk… it, unfortunately, corresponded to an immensely difficult time for me. Clicking the submit button on Assessment 1 seemed like a signal for all members of my family to get sick and work to rev up the intensity. I shifted into what White (n.d.) calls visitor mode. Here, I lurked and consumed but never made much of an attempt to participate. The real sad thing is that I know what I’ve missed out on. The continued strengthening of my PLN and the valuable feedback from my peers on Assessment 3! I feel like my case study may have ended up in a hundred different directions but alas, we can’t dwell on these things. Exploring the Yr 12s attitudes towards their technology use provided some really interesting insights that I look forward to sharing with them and our leadership team. Looking back, I really appreciated the opportunity to work on something that could impact the future learners of my institution.     

So while most of our cohort is suiting up for graduation, I’ll be suiting up to complete a triathalon… I mean trimester. That’s right, one more subject for this weary digital scholar and then I’ll don the pointy hat with the thingamajig on the end!


See you next time!





Price, D. (2013). Open: How we’ll work, live and learn in the future. Crux.


Richardson, W., & Mancabelli, R. (2011). Personal learning networks: Using the power of connections to transform education. Moorabbin, Victoria:  Solution Tree Press.


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

White, D. (n.d.). Visitors & Residents. Retrieved from

Reflecting on the survey process


The survey that has been sent out to the year 12 students has been closed off. Of the cohort, sixty responses were able to be collated. Before I start to really analyse the data, I thought that it was important to air some thoughts regarding the survey.


So here we go.


I seemed to have a number of students expressing concerns about the difficulty of the survey. This wasn’t that it was challenging academically, but students seemed to have problems interpreting some of the vocabulary. On several days while the survey was active, I was approached by students who remarked:


“That survey was really hard. We’re not that smart. I didn’t know what half the words meant.”


“I didn’t know what some of the words meant so I stopped. Do you want me to do it even though I didn’t understand some of it?”

“Stich up. That survey was really hard”



This problem was raised during peer feedback of my survey. Jacques du Toit suggested that students may have difficulty accessing the vocabulary. While I did make several amendments to ISTE’s Student Standards (of which the survey is based), I thought that I needed to maintain the survey’s integrity by drawing form them closely and thereby enabling a clear comparison.

I wonder what impact this will have on the cohort’s results? In particular, sections centering on computational thinking had several terms students may have been unfamiliar with.


I’m looking forward to analysing the data.

Critical Reflection INF541



Reflecting back, my first blog post “The Kids are Still Playing Games”  raised a point that’s directed my learning in this subject. I wrote:


The YouTube video “How games prepare you for life – Education: 21st Century Skills” makes a solid point where it argues that it’ll be up to teachers to make knowledge and skills acquired from the games meaningful. (Grant, 2017, para. 10)


The role of the teacher is pivotal (Hattie, 2012). Within the GBL classroom, this seems to be even more the case. Well before getting your students to push start on any game, careful considerations must be made. Beavis et al., (2014) highlighted that educators need to take into consideration socio-economical factors as well as differences in gender and cultural background that can have “a profound impact upon how/when/why students would be engaged or motivated in working with specific games” ( p. 577). De Freitas & Oliver (2006) believe a next step follows a line of questioning where the educator asks questions surrounding which game fits best with the learning context, the pedagogical activities that relate to learning activities and the validity of the game’s use (p.251). Exploring models like O’Brien’s (2011) ‘Taxonomy of Educational Games’ can greatly help clarifying learning objectives.

While many of these considerations seem second nature now, at the time I entered the subject, my design choices were more a “willy-nilly application than calculated, planned usage” (Grant, 2017). Having an awareness of the potential dangers of using GBL is also part of what’s required of educators today. M. Karen Malbon and I both remarked on the concerning links games share with gambling based on the provocation from King, Delfabbro & Griffiths (2010).

This subject has provided me with an opportunity to grow professionally and expand my professional learning network. It seems as though I’m part of a vibrant cluster of #INF541 educators that love to share their thoughts and findings on Twitter. Contributing to this learning community through professional dialogue has enabled me to view multiple perspectives on GBL issues. Co-hosting a Twitter chat on assessment 3 exemplified this as well as weekly online video conferences Jacques du Toit to unpack the readings. Don’t be fooled, Jacques and I were actually engaged in professional discourse there!




Overall, in terms of my understanding of the GBL, I feel that schools do themselves a disservice if they present their students with a watered down version of it. They must strive to embed it within their cultures. I’d advocate utilising much of what is described in the ‘10 Core Practices Defining The Game School’. This clear statement of values helps embed a gaming culture. If GBL programs are to be successful, professional development needs to be prioritised.

Over the course of the subject, I often felt like I couldn’t prioritise the gaming experience over the required readings. This and the elements of full-time work and family have definitely impacted my ability to fully engage in the subject material. I did however thoroughly enjoy it and I believe it’s made me a better educator with a couple of extra tools in his tool belt.





Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: Maximizing impact on learning. London:


Survey: Students Opinions of GBL in a Regional Victorian School

I was able to survey a cross section of students at a regional secondary school in Victoria. In general, it was clear that the majority of students play games and believe they are a source of learning and motivation/engagement.

Here are the results.

I also collated student results to the examples of games they played in class and have grouped them in terms of their pedagogical underpinning. It seems as though a sizeable chunk of students included games they play outside of class time. This could account for the high number of computer off the shelf (COTs) titles included.


Please list your favourite games to play in class and briefly explain why you like them







Squirt squirt Ball games

ball games squirt squirt because they are fun and take away the border of learning



Farming Simulator because I want to be a farmer when I am older


parking mania, i play it on my phone, it taught me how to drive and park a car in real life.


Um more interactive stuff get students engaged, if you just put more technology i.e games it makes them less focussed, it may be good for the people who are super techy and live for computers but others will probably hate it, if the teacher here introduced more interactive learning and no technology it would be amazing.


Wink murder and other small games




Depends on what game, most games i play revolve around strategy and combat where as the games we play at school just aren’t really interesting to me.



Skill and Drill

hot maths






Some games such as kahoot are because you are competing against others but, others can be boring, and without any reward (ie winning)

Kahoot, Everyone loves it, motivates people to learn and they win like that.

Kahoot because it helps

Kahoot because it ios fun




Kahoot, because they test the knowledge that you learn in class and manages to make it fun while doing it.

I enjoy a kahoot every now and then. It brings excitement to the classroom while keeping things educational.

Kahoot, because it is exciting and fun

I don’t play games during class. Unless the teacher decided that a ‘Kahoot’ or other online learning activities. Then yes, I like those ones because they are educational.



freeriderHD offline editor, forza horizon 3, COD BO3, GTA 5.

Battlefield 1, Because it is fun

Fifa, Maden, NBA, Forza, Tom Clancy I like these games because they relate towards my hobbies and add an element of skill needed to be good at what you play.

GTA V cause its fun

NOT KAHOOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

100 balls, moron test i like them because they are strategy games. they make you think

i like to play forza horizon 3 because im intrested in cars

firewatch, the art style

GTA 5. Farcry 4

and GTA V

Fps because their fun and intense

Nba 2k 11 because it goes on and on

Black Ops 3 and NBA 2K17

NBA and mostly other sports games and I don;t really know why I like them


energiser games we play with Mrs Mai

Name the most different things on a subject help you learn about the subject and is fun

I don’t play games in class, I prefer to read book and sniff the dust.

My mummy tells me not to play games. But i like to play COC (Clash of Clans) and Clash Royale. and especially Minecraft. Minecraft is my favourite game of all time. IT AMAZING!!!!

nba jam because i play with mates

Broforce The escapist Marble Blast

Call Of Duty: Because you can play with friends and its addictive.

FIFA 17 Because I believe that if you play it the right way you can learn and get a lot out of it

Survey: Teachers’ opinions and the use of GBL in their School

Recently, I was able to survey a number of teachers at a secondary school in regional Victoria. The result generally indicated that teachers viewed games as an acceptable learning platform but also raised many concerns about adopting the practice.

Here are the results. 


I thought I’d explore the responses to the two questions which required written answers. On the first, I tried to identify common themes within the responses. I’ve deconstructed it below. On the second, I grouped the games identified in terms of their pedagogical underpinnings.

List your concerns about increasing the use of Game Based Learning in your classroom.


-Finding games that specifically target skill areas in course.

-Issues centred around the monitoring and appropriate selection use of games

-Finding appropriate games to use

-It is important to keep the games used relevant and useful. I have been winess to some games that do not benefit the students using them.

-Suitable games often don’t exist for my classes.


-Ensure strong links to curriculum, not just a fun activity.

-It is important that the learning within the game is identifiable. Not all games achieve this and therefore, whilst engaging are not useful.

 –Needs to be closely tied in with clearly prescribed learning outcomes. Needs to have relevancy.

 –The only concern would be related to time. Is there time within the topic plan/curriculum to allow for games to be played and can the games be adapted to the topic being learned.



-distractions of non-educational games.

-Students not understanding the purpose of learning through games, misusing resources, time wasting

-students may not take them seriously, or play other games.

-Students becoming off task

-Game playing can become an expectation, too immersed, (1) not being able to stop and listen or (2) going off track.

-That it would distract them from the actual topic or task at hand.

-Miss use of devices in class. Will expect that it will happen most lessons.


Negative Impact

-That students do not get enough time off computers and are spending less time talking to people face-to-face

-Students will only want to do that

-That the game over-rides the learning- needs to be very purposeful

-taking time away from developing skills with traditional materials

-students spend too much time on laptops

-My only concern would be around inappropriate violence or content.

-There is room for some game based learning in the classroom. I have seen some positive games used in both Literacy and Maths, however, too much screen time and other games that are not really related can be more of a distraction. I feel that games should be used appropriately or as a reward or recap.

– Students are concerned with finishing the game with the highest score or the fastest and aren’t concerned with the actual learning. I have used some simulation games in classes and have noticed some students just remembering where they clicked not the actual answer to the question.

– increased screen time for students, not focussing on other important areas and ways of learning


Lack of Teacher PD

-My main concern is that I don’t feel I know enough about how to run them effectively nor I am aware of what is available

-Time to develop

-I would need PD!


How to Monitor/assess

-Monitoring appropriate use



Limited Application to ‘Real World’

-Linking back to the real world

-Difficulty young people may have transferring learning from game context to application of learnt skills/knowledge.


-none, i use them regularly

-welcome it

-I fully support the use of any teaching strategies that engage the learner and encourages higher order thinking skills. I believe that any Learning stratgey needs to balanced, and care taken to ensure that we address the learning styles of all.

-Lack of use of learning intentions and success criteria.

-There is room for some game based learning in the classroom. I have seen some positive games used in both Literacy and Maths, however, too much screen time and other games that are not really related can be more of a distraction. I feel that games should be used appropriately or as a reward or recap.

– Computer games are ‘individual’. Unless they involve interaction with peers and older positive influences, they contribute to intra personal communication skills.



Q2-Explain where you’ve used Games or Game-Based Learning at SJE (Year Level, Game, Unit)


Pragmatic (simulations)

-Gambling unit in maths

-9 Hums – Industrial Revolution – Create your village 9 Hums – Industrial Revolution

-Colorado simulations in chemistry

-8RE social justice unit – they do a simulation activity (not an actual game) on what it’s like to be a refugee


-Careers with year 9

-Legal Studies unit 1: CSI

-Shogun 2 (8 Hums)

-Year 8 Humanities, Mind Craft in order to show how a castle is built.

Skill and Drill

-VCAL – OHS Unit

-Year 7 Maths- Hotmaths,

-To teach about Italian contents and vocabulary (clothes, days and months, numbers, verbs, etc…)

-year 7 maths: maths quest (jacplus), hotmaths

-year 7/8 English: knowledge quest (jacplus)

-Installed a game onto everyones computer in the school where students had to build molecules. Use pHet

-Hotmaths and sumdog games in maths

-Similar – Year 7, 8 ,9 online piano tutorials with scrolling graphics that kind of represent a game.

-Yr 11 PE Whack a bone and poke a muscle (learning bones and muscles)

-Year 7 Spelling

-Year 10 MLO Money and WBU Supply & Demand

-I am not sure of your definition of a game – the only thing that I can think of that I am using right now is Duolingo and I am not sure that I would call it a game. I also use languages online which plays interactive games to reinforce content related to Italian Grammar.

-Unit 3 Biology – Immune system attack game

-Maths – games on HotMaths to develop number skills, spatial awareness, consolidate classroom practice


-Year 7 Kahoot- Woodwork

-To date I have really just used quiz type competitions

-Kahoots across various subjects

-HUMS- revision of Greek gods quiz on… kahootz

-Class Dojo

-Does a Kahoot count?

-Students have designed their own Kahoots to consolidate knowledge.

I have used “Sing Star” in the past for singing classes. Students have competitive fun while needing to focus on pitch and duration accuracy.


-Year 9 Game design, Year 7 and 8 ICT

Multipop (word game)

ICT – Scratch





INF541 Assessment 3 Critical Review

Arnab, S., Berta, R., Earp, J., De Freitas, S., Popescu, M., Romero, M., … & Usart, M. (2012). Framing the adoption of serious games in formal education. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 10(2), 159-171.

Beavis, C., Rowan, L., Dezuanni, M., McGillivray, C., O’Mara, J., Prestridge, S., … Zagami, J. (2014). Teachers’ beliefs about the possibilities and limitations of digital games in classrooms. E-Learning and Digital Media, 11(6), 569–581. doi:10.2304/elea.2014.11.6.569

Van Eck, R. (2006). Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless. EDUCAUSE Review, (20), 16-18.

The following critical review will analyse and evaluate three articles that discuss trends in game based learning (GBL). The review will seek to outline each article’s purpose as well as their major strengths and weaknesses before synthesising the major themes present within the work.


At it’s core, Arnab et al.’s (2012) article ‘Framing the adoption of serious games in formal education’ aims to raise awareness of game based learning so that more educators adopt this practice in a formal learning environment. The work, derived from eight different authors, recommends that educators embrace a “multifaceted view” on the subject in order to attain a  “deeper understanding” (Arnab et al., 2012, p. 168) and thereby move beyond inhibitors to adopting this approach. Through crystallizing the role of the educator and implementation strategies, Arnab et al. cover a range of topics including pedagogical approaches and applications to formal settings.


The discussion centering on the nature of games and their pedagogical underpinnings was particularly effective. Drawing from Kebritchi and Hirumi (2008), the authors were able to establish the pedagogical classifications that were at the crux of game design and therefore position educators to see the value in games. The authors reinforce this by noting that the study is a, “useful reference point” for those seeking to research further (Arnab et al., 2012, p. 161).


Although not completely tainting the article, Arnab et al.’s (2012) decision to include the flawed, “digital native” narrative in the abstract, casted doubt on the authors and punctuated several other shortcomings of this piece. Claiming that Serious Games (SG) “offer the chance to ‘hook’ today’s (largely) digital native generation of learners” (p. 159) implied that the loud and generally accepted criticism of Prensky (2001) by Bennett, Maton and Kervin (2008), Guo, Dobson and Petrina (2008), and Helpsper and Eynon (2010) were largely ignored by Arnab et al. This initial blunder offsets the reader, causing them to view the remainder of the article through a critical lense.


More concerning is the article’s failure to emphasise the socio-cultural context which plays a pivotal role in the success or failure of the learning. Admittedly, Arnab et al. (2012) barely address it through the inclusion of Four Dimension Model under the heading of “learner specifications” (p. 162). When this is explained further, the discussion merely notes that it involves the “elicitation of the characteristics defining learner populations” (p. 162). Here, a more robust discussion would benefit educators as it is necessary for them to be aware that factors such as a “shared cultural background” (Montola, 2012, p. 314) or gender and class (Beavis et al., 2014, p. 577; Beavis & Charles, 2007) can directly impact the outcome of the GBL trial.


The implementation strategies suggested by Arnab et al. unfortunately falls short for many in the K-12 education setting. Their decision to focus on 21st century skills (ex. collaboration) as a primary implementation strategy leaves out the content knowledge required by the curriculum. This approach endorsed by Gee (2007) has students immersed in the game context and developing new literacy skills. A more favorable approach, heralded by Squire (2011), yields content knowledge as well as skill (p. 15). Though it’s acknowledged that Arnab et al. (2012) believe that “considerable benefit would be gained from aligning with games with the curriculum” (p. 163), it’s disappointing that one of the suggested strategies didn’t focus on it. This may reflect the difficulties educators have when trying to incorporate both (Jan, 2013, para. 23).


The article “Teachers’ beliefs about the possibilities and limitations of digital games in classrooms” seeks to address the “uncritical stance”, in some literature regarding “the role of context and the ways in which teachers impact upon what games achieve in school” (Beavis et al., 2014, p. 570). Beavis et al.’s (2014) central argument addresses the importance of teachers’ mindset when adopting game based learning into their classroom as its success or failure is “closely tied to the way teachers think about games including what they believe can or cannot be achieved with games and how they believe games should or should not be used” (p. 570). The nine authors’ exploration of the study ‘Serious Play: digital games, learning and literacy for twenty first century schooling’ which examined a range of students and teachers of primary and secondary schools (p. 571), revealed that the teachers surveyed “were overwhelmingly positive about the potential for games to impact positively upon learning environments” (p. 576) citing students’ ability to use them to build new skills and knowledge (p. 576).


While this cross section of teachers’ mindsets remained primarily positive, the study raised concerns about teachers’ naivety about the importance of their involvement within the learning process. Beavis et al. (2014) drew upon this overtly positive belief in the “almost magical properties of games to engage, inspire and teach students” (p. 577) as justification for their argument to call for effective professional development and attention to the pedagogical strategies that are drawn from when determining how games are used (p. 577). This suggestion would also relate to the teachers whose discussion revealed that they were more focused on game use to improve skill rather than content. Beavis et al. (2014) notes that “widespread agreement that every curriculum area could find a way to work with digital games” (p. 577) and therefore should also be a focus.


The authors’ abilities to identify the void in the teachers’ knowledge and practice would also be seen in their evaluation of their students’ learning contexts. Variations in socio-economics as well as differences in gender, and cultural background can have “a profound impact upon how/when/why students would be engaged or motivated in working with specific games” (Beavis et al., 2014, p. 577). This ethos reflects the first of the core practices of ‘The Game School’ where it is acknowledged and valued that learner identity is complex (Salen, Torres, & Wolozin, 2008, p. 7).


There are three fundamental shortcomings with this piece. Firstly, while the data collected does come from a range of sources at differing levels of primary and secondary education, it fails to account for the actual impact of teachers’ mindset on game based learning because the study uses only “phase one” of the project (Beavis et al., 2014, p. 571). A more comprehensive approach may have examined the impacts of this grounded yet optimistic mindset on the units being studied. Secondly, the teachers that opted in to the ‘Serious Games’ study were already part of an organisation that felt favorably towards GBL. Therefore, the result of being ‘grounded and optimistic’ cannot be applied to the country, but only towards schools that already value GBL. It is also interesting to note that Beavis et al.’s (2014) results contrast to Bourgonjon et al.’s (2013) study that identified teachers’ perceptions that games couldn’t help their job performance (Bourgonjon et al., 2013, p. 31). Finally, the strong criticism centering on the assumptions about Prensky’s (2001) ‘digital natives’ that were directed towards Arnab et al. (2012) also applies to these authors as they make similar assumptions. All of these impact the usefulness of Beavis et. al’s analysis.


This objective article, ‘Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless’, written by Richard Van Eck (Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning at the University of North Dakota), carefully relates the challenges and opportunities associated with Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL) with application to formal education. The context of GBL in 2006 moved Van Eck to write the article, citing an ideal climate that was drawn from an increase in research, the growing popularity of games and problems associated with Digital Natives (p. 17). The author may be forgiven for his misplaced views on Digital Natives, something he later acknowledged, noting that they were “not necessarily the video game savants we assumed they would be” (Van Eck, 2015, p. 14).


Van Eck’s (2006) argument advocating DGBL centres around why it is effective and engaging, and how it can be leveraged, integrated and supported (p. 18). This piece draws its strength from its grounding in pedagogical discourse. The somewhat “skeptical” audience Van Eck (2006) was writing for still needed to be convinced of DGBL’s validity and base in the principles of learning (p. 18). Therefore, the author’s powerful discussion of situated cognition, assimilation, accommodation and cognitive disequilibrium effectively positioned the more critical educators to listen attentively to the entirety of his argument (p. 18-19).


Van Eck’s (206) balanced analysis of the ways educators can integrate DGBL into the learning process logically discussed the strengths and weakness of each method. While this may seem basic, his audience, who were realistically still early adopters to DGBL (Novak and Nackerud, 2011, p. 292), would benefit from this breakdown of sorts. Noting the problems of time restraint and quality around student designed games, Van Eck (2006) saw more potential in either a partnership between educators and designers to create the games, or the adoption of commercial, off the shelf games (COTS). This analysis remains accurate in the current discussion of DGBL (Van Eck, 2015. P. 18)


The real strength of Van Eck’s (2006) discussion was in his delineation of the considerations required for implementing COTS games into the classroom. Beginning with an acknowledgement of the wider factors outside the teacher’s control (harkening to an awareness of equity and socio-cultural influences), the author touched upon the choice of game, aligning with the curriculum and content, and designing and evaluating the game. The latter section was of particular note as its discussion centred on keeping students in a state of “flow” (p. 26). Current research confirms the value of such discussion as it has been maintained that DGBL moderately enhances flow experiences (Chaing, Liang, and Lin, 2017, p. 223; McGonigal, 2011) where learning is immersive (Van Eck, 2006, p. 26). Problems arise in COTS when fail to accurately address content (Van Eck, 2006, p. 26). Van Eck (2006) is aware of these potential gaps or errors and therefore encourages students to perform activities as the character that are “authentic to the goals of the game world” (p. 26) and addresses these inadequacies in game content. Developing budgets for characters (p. 26) and other tangible suggestions to aid students remaining in flow offered by Van Eck equips educators with sound tactics to employ COTS games in the classroom. This poignant advice builds confidence of those new to DGBL and makes a strong case for employing this practice.




Although not necessarily directed at the same audiences, when juxtaposed, the articles revealed commentary and analysis of similar themes within the field of GBL. The role of the teacher and the importance of pedagogical grounding, standout as predominant issues raised within the articles.

All texts concur that the role of the teacher is pivotal within GBL. Beavis et al. (2014) sets up this argument by identifying a flawed common perspective that some games are considered “inherently appealing knowledge packages that will generate learning across all student cohorts” (p. 569) thereby limiting the role of the educator. Beavis et al. (2014) effectively disputes this noting that it “marginalises… the ways in which teachers impact upon what games achieve in school” (p. 570). Arnab et al.’s (2012) discussion focuses more on the increased responsibility within the role of a teacher’s explaining that it has changed from being that of a mere information provider to being required to often switch between the roles of “instructional designers, strong team players, critical self analysts, confident risk takers, and path finding innovators pedagogically open to new ways of approaching curriculum” (p. 165). Van Eck’s (2006) explanation of the teacher’s role outlines the design choices and implementation strategies that are ultimately left to teachers. While Beavis et al. (2014) places emphasis on the pre-instruction phases, Arnab et al (2012) and Van Eck’s (2006) discussion largely centers upon the co-instructional phase.


The authors undoubtedly agree on the importance of educators’ understanding that effective GBL is built on sound pedagogical principles. Arnab et al.’s (2012) discussion of game design and deployment (previously alluded to in the article analysis) was foundational as they solidified their readers’ understanding that games could be created using a general framework with learning outcomes in mind and later classified by their pedagogical underpinning to guide educators’ potential implementation (p. 161). Van Eck’s (2006) article does much to reify these understandings further as he methodically outlines the process of implementing DGBL using COTS and sound pedagogy. Echoing this line of thinking, Beavis et al. (2012) note “attention needs to be paid to the pedagogical strategies and views of learning that teachers draw upon to work with games” (p. 577). The collective readings of this review do much to give faith to GBL in terms of pedagogical grounding.



 It is easy to get seduced by the attractive features of GBL.  Beavis et al.’s (2012) article grounds readers to pertinent issues within the pre-instruction phase of the experience. Their focus on context and the elements missing from the mindset of educators looking to adopt GBL, make this piece an important starting point for adopters of all educational contexts.

Written using a causal tone, Van Eck’s (2006) article provides tangible (and still pertinent) advice for those looking to implement GBL in their classroom which make his article worth reading. Despite being targeted at those in higher education, the piece would also be applicable in the K-12 context.

Arnab et al.’s (2012) multifaceted examination of GBL was for the most part, on point in regard to making those interested in adopting GBL aware of some of the considerations that would have to be made. While more tangible implementation suggestions would have been an asset, this article does provide workable frameworks that are beneficial to anyone in a formal education setting.





Arnab, S., Berta, R., Earp, J., De Freitas, S., Popescu, M., Romero, M., … & Usart, M. (2012). Framing the adoption of serious games in formal education. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 10(2), 159-171.

Beavis, C., Rowan, L., Dezuanni, M., McGillivray, C., O’Mara, J., Prestridge, S., … Zagami, J. (2014). Teachers’ beliefs about the possibilities and limitations of digital games in classrooms. E-Learning and Digital Media, 11(6), 569–581. doi:10.2304/elea.2014.11.6.569

Beavis, C. & Charles, C. (2007) Would the ‘Real’ Girl Gamer Please Stand Up? Gender, LAN Cafes and the Reformulation of the ‘Girl’ Gamer, Gender and Education, 19(6), 691-705.

Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The “Digital Natives” Debate: A Critical Review of the Evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775–786. Retrieved from

Bourgonjon, J., De Grove, F., De Smet, C., Van Looy, J., Soetaert, R., & Valcke, M. (2013). Acceptance of game-based learning by secondary school teachers. Computers & Education, 67, 21–35.

Chang, C.-C., Liang, C., Chou, P.-N., & Lin, G.-Y. (2017). Is game-based learning better in flow experience and various types of cognitive load than non-game-based learning? Perspective from multimedia and media richness. Computers in Human Behavior, 71, 218–227.

Gee, J. (2007). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Guo, R. X., Dobson, T., & Petrina, S. (2008). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants: An Analysis of Age and ICT

Competency in Teacher Education. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 38(3), 235–254. Retrieved from

Helsper, E.J. and Eynon, R. (2010). Digital natives: where is the evidence?. British Educational ResearchJournal, 36:3, 503- 520. doi: 10.1080/01411920902989227

Jan, M. (2013). A Literature Review of Game-Based Learning. Retrieved from

McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World [Kindle Edition]. Vintage Digital

Montola, M. (2012). Social Constructionism and Ludology Implications for the Study of Games. Simulation & Gaming, 43(3), 300­320.

Novak, K., & Nackerud, R. (2011). Choosing a Serious Game for the Classroom: An Adoption Model for Educators. In M. Ma, A. Oikonomou, & L. C. Jain (Eds.), Serious Games and Edutainment Applications (pp. 291–308). Springer London. Retrieved from

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants part 1. On the horizon, 9(5), 1­6.

Salen, K., Torres, R., & Wolozin, L. (). The Game School Planning Document: Draft1.0. Retrieved from

Squire, K. (2011). Video games and learning: Teaching and participatory culture in the digital age. New York: Teachers College Press.


Van Eck, R. (2006). Digital game-based learning: It’s not just the digital natives who are restless. EDUCAUSE Review, (20), 16-18.


Online Reflective Journal Blog Task 2


For the most part, we live in a country of gamers. The Digital Australia Report (2016) identifies that both “68% of Australians play video games” and that “98% of homes with children have computer games”(p. 5). This data shouldn’t be perceived as isolated but a reflection of current global trends (Horizon Report, 2014, p.38). Educators have sought to capitalise on this boom and increasingly seeking ways to incorporate Game Based Learning (GBL) into their classrooms. The question remains,  are they fully aware of the implications and effects GBL?   


King, Delfabbro and Griffiths (2010) expand upon research that identified a link between the structural elements shared between gambling machines and video games. They modified a framework initiated by Wood et al. (2004) and “reorganis[ed] some features into new categories as well as suggest[ed] additional features in light of recent theory and research findings”(King, Delfabbro and Griffiths, 2010, p. 92). They include the following features social, manipulation and control, narration and identity, reward and punishment and presentation (King, Delfabbro and Griffiths, 2010, p. 92).


King et al., (2010) main line of argumentation calls researchers to understand the potential psychological effects that games can induce while highlighting both positive and negative reactions. Their framework hopes to aid further research in this area. The next section of this post will seek to highlight some of the positive impacts and hazards for teaching and learning.


In terms of teaching and learning, the social features of games mimic much of what building a personal learning network encapsulates. King asserts that a cooperative and competitive community of players can assist players in knowledge acquisition(p. 93).


The manipulation and control feature highlights the importance of self-management. While gamers can learn master the game they also need to be mindful of when it’s time to save and quit. King et al., (2010) note that excessive game players have difficulty stopping playing when their resources are low (p. 96) This is likened to when gambling addicts play too long and lose their money.


This extended play seems to be a reoccurring theme in terms of both positive impacts and hazards for teaching and learning. While with the narrative and identity features allow players to be immersed in their game’s story(p. 97), propelling students to greater depths understanding of the subjects’ themes and characters, the rewards and punishment features clearly link to gambling’s near misses and achievement points that excite players into continuing to play long past when they should quit (p. 100).

The noteworthy concerns raised by King et al., (2010) should be heeded by educators that are planning to explore GBL. Without giving careful consideration to the potential psychological impacts of the structural features of games, educators are making this important decision with a few cards short of a full hand.  



Brand, E, J. & Todhunter, S. (2016). “Digital Australia Report 2016”. Retrieved from

King, D., Delfabbro, P., & Griffiths, M. (2010). Video Game Structural Characteristics: A New Psychological Taxonomy. International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction, 8(1), 90–106.

NMC Horizon Report: 2014 K-12 Edition. (2015). Retrieved from

Wood, R. T. A., Griffiths, M. D., Chappell, D., & Davies, M. N. O. (2004). The structural characteristics of video games: A psycho-structural analysis. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 7, 1–10. doi:10.1089/109493104322820057.

The Kids are Still Playing Games



Sitting in my ICTAG (Information Communications Technology Action Group) meeting this afternoon, I heard a complaint:

… but the kids are still playing games!

My school has been 1-1 with Macbooks for the last five or so years and teachers’ general perception is that games are a distraction or a reward for work finished early.


“Can’t games build critical thinking and collaboration skills? Isn’t this something that we should encourage?” I said.


My remark was taken purely as jest.


I think that says a lot about the state of Game-Based Learning (GBL) in my current educational context.   


It’s difficult for school leaders to put stock in something that’s relatively murky in terms of its research and application.


Dr. Catherine Beavis’ assertion that “schools still have a way to go before they can harness the full educational potential of video games” (Jennings, 2014, para. 5) resonates within this context.


I believe in its potential because I feel like I’ve learned from games. I’ve thought critically while building up my armies in Sid Meier’s Civilisation. I’ve communicated while playing diplomacy. Heck, I’ll even admit to collaborating and communicating to take out some zombies in Call of Duty…  But like Beavis, I don’t think games are currently being used to their potential within the educational context.


Once recognised as a tool to develop twenty-first century skills, GBL should be more adopted into the classroom. The YouTube video “How games prepare you for life – Education: 21st Century Skills” makes a solid point where it argues that it’ll be up to teachers to make knowledge and skills acquired from the games meaningful.


So what is the context for my learning?


In a regional Victorian setting, I’m the curriculum head of Humanities and Technology at my secondary school and I feel as though I’m often at the forefront adopting technology into the classroom.


This is my third last subject for this Masters of Education (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) and on account of that, I’m bringing knowledge of twenty-first century pedagogy and it’s importance in today’s classroom.


How do I see games fitting into my practice?


I’ve already incorporated games into my classroom over the years with varying degrees of success. Admittedly, at times it seemed to be a more willy-nilly application than calculated, planned usage. It was more used as a tool of engagement rather than consciously building twenty-first century skills. The latter is something that I’m obviously hoping to improve upon.


What are my personal aims in this subject


I’m hoping this subject serves as a launching pad into more considered use of games in the classroom. I wish to engage with the research that supports this type of learning and thereby equips me with the data to justify a more widespread promotion/adoption of GBL at my school.


I’m also looking to explore different games and their platforms.  


What challenges are you hoping to meet for yourself?


Successfully completing a Masters’ subject while working full time and juggling a busy family schedule is always a great starting point for semester goals. In addition, I wish to

  • Challenge myself to be fully immersed within this subject; allotting time to experiment and play with games
  • Conduct action research within my setting that will add to the professional dialogue surrounding GBL
  • Expand my professional learning network to include GBL innovators and practitioners



Extra Credits. (2014). Extra Credits – How Games Prepare You for Life – Education: 21st Century Skills. Retrieved from


Jennings, J. (2014, November 20). ‘Teachers re-evaluate value of video games’ [Digital Newspaper Article], The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from:

Evaluative Report






Harking back to my undergraduate degree (History at the University of Ottawa), I can see myself spending hours in the library, isolated with only my stack of books and dusty microfiche to keep me company. Although twelve years ago, it makes for a clear juxtaposition to my current study: INF532 Knowledge Networking for Educations.


The following evaluative and reflective statements will make up a report that will document my journey to becoming a more connected educator.


Part A: Evaluative Statement:


I am able to build on knowledge networking to strengthen school-based classroom engagement and learning through intentional and reflective online instructional design;


The ubiquity of devices and access to knowledge has enabled a shift to a more participatory culture (Jenkins, Purushotma, Weigel, Clinton, & Robison, 2008). As educators, it’s no longer an option to be connected (Couros, 2011), we must participate by building knowledge through online collaboration, curation, creation, and communication. Furthermore, it’s the educational leaders’ responsibility to “demonstrate and model collaborative practices to support pedagogical change” (Lindsay, 2016, slide 49).  From its onset, this subject has demonstrated the importance of becoming a networked learner (Rheingold & Weeks, 2012; Richardson & Mancabelli, 2011).

It’s only been through “living the story” (Lindsay & Davis, 2012, p. 102) that I’ve continued to grow as a connected educator. Often when faced with difficult questions, I turn to my Personal Learning Network (PLN) as a means of getting quality information back.



This prompted several retweets which pushed the original message further and as a result, I was directed to this superb resource from the New Zealand government. This reflects Lindsay’s (2016) sentiment: “in a flat learning environment it’s who you know not what you know” (slide 54). The use of my PLN enabled me to strengthen my school’s direction in terms of a strategic plan and by doing so enrich the learning of both staff and students.  

I recently blogged about an experience where I participated in an online presentation where some passionate secondary students were raising awareness and funds for a social justice cause. Not only did I establish connections which has resulted in these students now intending to interact with my own class, but also, by using this approach paired with the Fuze platform, I brought the idea of going global to our own social justice fund raising projects (Grant, 2016a, para. 4). Here, the use of my PLN can be seen helping me generate potential engagement as well as provide ideas on the design of future learning opportunities.  


I can use a suite of new media tools for information management, content creation, content curation, collaborative work, and connecting social networks and communities of practice within and beyond the school. I can design, develop and deploy products, tools or strategies that show an understanding of education informatics;


Information is growing at a rapid rate and as a result, there’s been a shift to an era of information abundance (De Saulles, 2012, p. 15). Pegrum (2010) hones in on one aspect of this and identifies that “navigating overlapping personal, social and professional networks – all linked together technologically by the internet – requires a level of network literacy which is not as widespread as is often assumed”(p. 347). My digital artefact sought to upskill students in networked literacy and help them transform into connected learners. Through it, I was able to showcase my growing ability to incorporate new media tools. I created the YouTube video “The What and Why of Connected Learning,” utilised Padlet and Google Docs to foster collaboration skills, curated pertinent resources for participants and created the website using Google Sites. Of the design considerations, I wanted to ensure that the participants were active learners. This was also reflected in the media tools and curated resources selected as it was important that students became actively involved in the learning process (Bonwell and Eison, 1991, p.2).

I also thought it was important for me to try out an abridged version of my artefact. As the resource was directed towards senior secondary students (mine currently getting ready to sit their VCE exams), I decided to target my Year Nine English class and get them blogging. My post, ‘Little Wins’ outlines this ongoing learning journey with them. Highlighted in my post on “NetworkPeer Learning” was Wenger, McDermott’s and Snyder’s (2010) seven principles for cultivating communities of practice. Right now, I’m building their confidence and developing a shared community space where they can interact and develop skill before venturing into a more public realm (p. 58). In addition, I believe this group needs to see the value of blogging as otherwise “members would be reluctant to participate” (Grant, 2016b). The use of these blogs will enable them to create content, build a community of practice and lead to exploring learning experiences outside of school.   


I can utilise a personal learning network to enhance professional growth, personal knowledge management and collective intelligence practices.


This subject has allowed me to showcase much of what Nassbaum-Beach and Hall (2012) define a connected learner;  “learners who collaborate online; learners who use social media to connect with others around the globe; learners who engage in conversations in safe online spaces; learners who bring what they learn online back to their classrooms, schools and districts” (p. 3-4).

By publishing my digital artefact online, I was able to receive feedback from a global range of people that caused me the reflect upon and improve on my product.






This discussion definitely helped me grow.

Contributing is also instrumental when becoming a connected educator. Throughout this subject I have contributed others learning by providing feedback on artefact, and sharing resources and opinions. The following tweets highlight some of my contributions that build collective intelligence.





When reflecting on his own PLN, Eric Sheninger accurately articulates my sentiment “The resources, ideas, strategies, different points of view, support, and feedback that I received from people across the globe… pushed me to pursue transformative change” (2016, para. 3). By having access to these online networks my knowledge and professional practice improves.


Part B: Reflective Statement:


My digital artifact notes: “Remember. People don’t normally develop effective networks overnight. This will be a timely process that requires continual work” (Grant, 2016c). For me, this statement also rings true in regards to how your PLN is in a continuous state of development. Newer nodes are frequently being added and then strengthened while others fade and become less important. This subject was a chance to continue the process of building connections, maintaining connections and activating connections (Rajagopal, Joosten-ten Brinke, Van Bruggen & Sloep, 2011, para. 7). As a result of this process of building, maintaining and activating, I’ve taken part in robust discussions and expanded my knowledge as well as my network. The example below is a small snapshot of what was previously discussed.  


This course challenged me to express my voice in a form that I’ve never been comfortable with; the blog. As one of the tools of the connected educator, it’s important that I look to build on my blogging skills. As the course has progressed, I felt that my blogs have gotten a lot better and they’re moving in the direction of what Will Richardson (n.d.) defines as ‘real blogging’ where it “links with analysis and synthesis that articulates a deeper understanding or relationship to the content being linked and written with potential audience response in mind” (para. 11). My blogs “Little Wins” and “Sunday Morning MOOC” best exemplify this. These blogs as well as the others, mark a portion of my contribution to the subject and the wider body of educational work that exists online. As students contributing to this knowledge network, we are “rewarded with potentially rich opportunities for student learning, connections to individual knowledge and expertise, and tremendous insight into emerging areas of research” (Couros, 2010, p. 127). This process has continued to develop me into a more connected educator.


My School

Being a connected leader allows me to be informed about the latest trends in education. This provides me with the opportunity to encourage growth within my staff. Recently, this manifests in the ‘Tekkie Brekkie’ initiative that I’ve been leading at my school. This is a bi-weekly meet up where staff come together and share ideas involving education technology. Godin (2008) explores the idea of the importance of empowering ‘tribes’ to communicate (p. 20). Through this increased communication, colleagues are being exposed to tools that can be implemented within their classrooms and thereby potentially improve their professional practice. In the future, I’ll continue to draw from sources such as Willemse & Freedman (2013) to stimulate this discussion.   

In a recent interview for a leadership position within my school, I was asked  “what are your strengths as a leader?”.

Of the qualities that I stammered off, I made a point to say that I was a ‘connected educator’.

“What’s that?” asked a deputy principal from another school…

Within our INF532 bubble; an extension of MEd (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation) and a further extension from my own PLN composed of educators that clearly place some value on connected education… it’s sometimes easy to forget how so many of our colleagues have yet to take advantage of connected learning principles. Within this role, I’d like to continue to empower teachers within my school community to become more connected.

As a starting point, I’ve recently explored the resource ‘The Connected 10 Educator Challenge’ and believe it could “jumpstart teachers on their journey to becoming connected”(Grant, 2016d).



As you can see, my journey to becoming a connected educator began in 2009 when my principal at the time introduced me to Twitter. Immediately, I was amazed at not only the amount of educators that were on the platform but the amount of resource sharing that was happening.

Since then, I’ve been expanding my PLN and looking for ways to have meaningful conversations about education. In 2014, I was selected to be part of the Google Teacher Academy in Sydney. This was a profound experience for me as it put me in a room with like minded educators and allowed us to form a new network of ambassadors for change. Reflecting back, it was this event that helped me develop as a connected leader.

Over the last two years, I’ve contributed as a connected leader by presenting at the Google Apps for Education Summits in both New Zealand and Australia and at state and national level history conferences.

My final reflection for this subject is that a connected learner/leaders’ work is never done. While my undergraduate studies reflected a learner that was completing assessments then moving onto the next topic, a connected learner is constantly consuming and producing (Couros, 2010) and invested in the content. Their links to resources and people remain as long as they are maintaining the connections.

Thomas and Brown (2011) ask “what happens to learning when we move from the stable infrastructure of the twentieth century to the fluid infrastructure of the twenty-first century, where technology is constantly creating and responding to change” (p. 17). The answer is #INF532 and CSU’s MEd (Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation).



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