Blog Task 2 – Observation Task

After a recent injury I have found myself at the Physiotherapist three times this week; once for physiotherapy, once for Pilates mat work session and once for a gym rehabilitation session.

On entering the practice you are greeted with a smiling face and a welcome message. The desk is quite low and receptionist is therefore at the same level as the clients. I have observed that as more clients enter they do not sit next to each other, preferring to leave a space between each other. The whole front of the building is frosted glass and one treatment room is visible from reception.

Once you are called by the Physiotherapist you walk through a small corridor to another treatment room, a gym and a Pilates studio (see sketches). Although the practice presentation and atmosphere stays very professional, there is an instant ease knowing that the practitioner is focused on you as an individual.

My concerns are that there is no high level at reception that you can lean on when filling in the client information form. The options are to bend over the reception desk, kneel there or sit and lean on your lap. The magazines in the waiting room are stacked up high and in no particular order and the Eftpos machine is not cordless nor does it have PayPass. The client therefore needs to move from one side of the computer to the other to put their pin in or sign the HiCaps receipt.

A potential solution would to be create a taller table or storage space that could be used to fill in client forms but also house magazines and fliers in a more organised manner. In regards to the Eftpos, simply changing to an updated device with no cord and PayPass capabilities would be of benefit to the clients.

Each visit has been quite similar regardless of me participating in three different activities whilst here. And, as a bonus, I’m getting results!!

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Blog Post One – INF536

Here is my desk area in my study. For someone who feels such pride in being organised in all things work related, it is extremely messy and I often find myself sitting here for long periods Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.19.06 pmof time trying to find ‘that document’ or ‘that photograph’. My study is tucked away in the middle of the house, with no natural light entering in. It also seems to have turned into the storage room since having our baby. Not only do we both have a desk in there but also a piano and two sets of clothing drawers that are unable to fit anywhere else. I have all of the equipment I need for it to be a successful space for personal learning. I have my devices (MacBook and iPad), my cameras, printer/scanner, paper, stationery and a large charging doc, but the area is such a mess that I wouldn’t know where to find each item without going exploring.

SoScreen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.18.57 pm, where do I begin when wanting to redesign this space? Carroll (p.15-16, 2014) describes design thinking as being ‘…an innovative, human centred approach to defining and solving complex problems… that encompasses active problem solving and believing in one’s ability to create impactful change.’ This encourages us to look at design thinking in relation to people rather than buildings or items, and focus on who is going to be the user of the space. In my case, when redesigning my desk area, I am the user and myself (and hopefully my grades) will see the impact.

When looking into why design thinking is so important, Brown (2009), ascertains that ‘society needs a new approach to innovation which aligns the needs of human beings and tScreen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.20.49 pmhe natural world.’ Once again, focusing on the needs of human beings and ‘consumer experiences (Brown, 2009). Karatko, et al (2012), state that the design process allows us to then ‘play, display and watch the replay’ or enable us to process ideas, try them out, give and receive feedback, make adjustments and continue through this cycle.

With this in mind I thought about what I wanted to achieve from redesigning this space. I wanted (needed) to be more organised so I bought new folders to file paperwork and photographs away. Each of these folders needed to be labeled and dated so that I know where to look when in a hurry. These are stored underneath my desk so that they are easily accessible and have clip on lids that my daughter won’t be able to open without assistance. Likewise, everScreen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.21.05 pmything stored under my desk is locked down or of no harm to my daughter. This instantly put me at ease in this learning space, as I know she can crawl around without getting harmed by materials I have close to the ground.

Kuratko, et al (2012), state that ‘design is the process that converts ideas into form, whether that is a plan of action or a physical thing.’ To cover both of these areas I needed to plan what to change and do it… and that is easier said than done. It took a full week to file away all of the paperwork I had lying around, and only then could I move on to sorting through the materials I needed to keep and storing resources that are not of current benefit or interest to me.

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The next step was to create a visual goal chart for myself, so that I stay on top of my university work and general organisation of my desk area. I therefore created a canvas with a range of drawings on it. Each night, after completing some university work and tidying my area, I get to colour one area of the drawing in. It’s going to take me a long time to finish it (I stopped counting at 213 different areas), but I know it will create good habits in me if I continue with it. I also created a whiteboard calendar so assist in organizing our hectic lives. This works as a visual display for both my husband and I to use when committing to events.

I moved the printer / scanner out of the corner of my desk so that I have a designated space for my other devices and therefore room for paper and pen to jot down notes. I bought a large medicine ball to sit on so that I can move constantly, although so far I have been alternating between that and my swivel chair due to poor posture (on the chair).

I made my space homely by adding a few photographs of my family and created a playlist of relaxing music that will enable me to work but not get distracted (so far so good, although my relaxing music may be very different to the typical Mozart, etc).

Finally, I have allowScreen Shot 2015-07-24 at 11.21.38 pmed myself a ‘distraction space’. This is a timed space where I can have a break from the work I am doing. Whether it be playing a game online, drawing on some paper, sorting through photographs or checking my phone, I allow myself five minutes before getting back into it. I have also ordered an adult colouring book online and plan on using that when I need a mind-numbing distraction for a few minutes. I hope it comes soon!!!

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Brown, T. (2009). Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. Harper Business. p.37.

Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration: Transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston : Pearson. https://www.csu.edu.au/division/library/ereserve/pdf/kuratko-d1.pdf

Scott-Webber, L. (2012). Institutions, educators, and designers: Wake up!: Current teaching and learning places along with teaching strategies are obsolete-teaching styles and learning spaces must change for 21st-century needs. Planning for Higher Education. 41(1), 265-277.

Chilled Out Tuesdays

I organised to meet with a friend at a local coffee shop / restaurant on Tuesday afternoon. I decided to go a bit earlier to take some pictures and do some sketching. This is one of my favourite places to go, not only because the service and food is amazing, but because of the atmosphere at the venue.

From the outside you are greeted with a black and white, elegant shopfront. From only viewing the outside you would imagine a sleek, pristine and crisp space, but it’s quite the opposite. As soon as you want though the front sliding door you are met with a long wooden bench which runs down the centre of the restaurant. This is surrounded by high stools and a wide range of glass jars and cake trays line the bench. To me this instantly gives the venue a homely feeling, encouraging a space for everyone to come together for a meal and a chat.

The presentation of the walls gives it an informal feeling. Whatever render and paint that was on the side walls has been removed, leaving the red bricks exposed. The use of old painted doors and window frames on the walls add to that homely feeling and the mix-matched photo frames on several of the walls are not only eye catching but make you wonder about the history behind such a venue. They draw you in further.

There is an open kitchen at the back of the venue where you can see the chefs and dish-hands going about their work but this is not a focus when you walk in (I only noticed it on my second visit). After seeing the long bench in the middle of the venue, your eyes are pulled to the comfortable lounges and chairs surrounding wooden tables. They look like cosy nooks to sit and read a book in.

All of the tables have jars with fresh flowers in them. The flowers change every day and I love that they don’t always match the rest of the venue. There is upbeat and relaxing music playing in the background but it has minimal words.

One of the reasons I especially love this venue is because it has wide walkways. I can leave my stroller (and hopefully sleeping baby) in the walkway between my table and the bench without people needing to dodge it. Having this wide space allows for people to come and go as they please, with ease.

I think this venue was designed with these family values in mind but I think the different tone of street front is a clever idea. It almost gives the impression of, ‘our great service and food is spread through word of mouth’, rather than what the venue looks like from the outside.

And What A Journey It Has Been

600 words to summarise my personal learning and involvement in the subject does not seem to be enough. Surely that will barely touch the sides… Therefore I will focus on the key components that have stuck with me.

The module I enjoyed the most was Module 3: Knowledge Networks – Connected communities, open access, and connected learning. This module covered a range of areas I am already highly involved with, so to delve into the topic deeper was highly interesting and engaging. Chapter 4 of Conole’s (2012) book, Designing For Learning in an Open World was shared with us and after reading through it I found myself purchasing the whole book. Although it was written in 2012 and technology advances at an alarming rate, I found Conole’s writings to be very relevant of the learning happening in our schools currently; not only with the students but with the teachers as well.

One of the discussions that arose from this module was about open, social and participatory media. I remember looking through some of the comments and feeling overwhelmed by the detail some of my fellow students had gone into. How on earth could I match that? But reading on from there I found some comments more at my level of research and understanding.

After writing a comment myself (see below image), I was enlightened to see some of the responses. Having had minimal comments on my blog posts, it felt great to be heard and have some interaction with fellow students. In saying that, there was plenty of interaction with my peers on Twitter using #INF530 to communicate.

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A big focus of this unit has been on how 21st century technologies have changed education. Although the role of the teacher may differ from previous years, Godsey (2015) stresses that teachers still hold the position of motivators, creators and facilitators. The 21st century focus on problem based, child based, real life related, creative inquiry and play based learning is magnified with the introduction of connected learning and digital technologies. It needs to be stressed, however, that the focus is on good pedagogy, rather than the technology that is being used. The technology is simply a tool to assist in good teaching and learning (Crockett, 2012).

I consider myself to be a big Twitter user, however, going back through the hashtag (INF530) has lead me to believe that my peers tweet more than me. I would often find myself looking through posts or resources posted by someone else. or reading through their replies to one-another without being able to add to the discussion. I am looking forward to future units as I now know what to expect. The goal next semester with be to stay ahead of the modules. This way I will be able to post my ideas and immediately, unlike this semester where I have jumped onto the discussion forums only to find my question already answered or my thoughts already voiced.

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I have to admit that I only enjoyed the second of the major assignments required in this unit, the digital essay. Although we got to choose our book for the book review, I felt rushed and wasn’t entirely happy with my finished assignment. In a way it was a good experience as it encouraged me to do better in the digital essay. Only time will tell if that belief comes to fruition. The digital essay was also more enjoyable as it allowed me to explore Module 3 and social media use in education in even more detail.

Moving forward with the rest of my Masters, I feel more prepared and have expectations of what the upcoming units with bring. I truly believe I made the right decision by dropping one of my units early on. It was difficult enough to work though the content of one subject with a newborn baby let alone two. A big thanks to Judy for being so understanding and available to me throughout this unit.

References:

Churches, A., Crockett, L., & Jukes, I. Literacy is not enough: 21st century fluencies for the digital age. Corwin Press: San Francisco.

Conole, G. (2012). Designing for learning in an open world. Springer: New York, NY.

Godsey, M. (2015). Deconstruction of the K-12 teacher. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/03/the-deconstruction-of-the-k-12-teacher/388631/

Digital Essay Proposal

Proposed Topic:
Social Media: Integration In The 21st Century Classroom.

Digital Tools
I am planning on using BlendSpace as the platform for my digital essay. This is an effective and reliable tool I have previously used with my students and I feel it would be an interesting and unique platform to use. BlendSpace is a resource which allows embedding of YouTube and Vimeo clips, hyperlinked text, Flickr and Creative Commons images, direct links to websites and embedding of podcasts. This is all completed in a drag and drop manner from the right menu bar. You can search from within the program and share to a worldwide audience.

I plan on drafting my assignment before embedding the text and resources onto BlendSpace. This will enable me to get a broad picture of the content, choose appropriate images and decide on how all the information is to be set out.

I believe I will be successful with using BlendSpace but if it does not turn out as planned I will use Weebly as it is a platform I am very familiar with.

Rationale
Technology in the current day enables users to join and form online communities of common interest to collaborate, connect and create information. Social media is continually evolving and we are seeing it used in more classrooms. Project Tomorrow (2013) shares that students in 21st century learning environments are using social media to connect, collaborate and create content in ways that are meaningful to them. Students are adapting these tools to create personalised learning experiences through online interactions.

Social media’s capacity to enable students to connect, share and collaborate has made its use increasingly common in educational domains (Bosman & Zagenczyk, 2011). It provides a range of new and exciting opportunities for teaching and learning. Levinson (2010) states that as the conversation about the digital divide shifts from questions about technological access to ones concerning participation; educators must work to ensure that every young person has access to the tools, skills and experiences needed to join in this new participatory culture.

The Australian Curriculum’s ICT Capabilities state that students need to develop information creation and presentation, problem solving, decision-making, communication, creative expression, and empirical reasoning, all of which can be gained from the appropriate use of social media. Hence, in this digital essay I endeavor to explore how social media can be used successfully in the classroom to assist students in achieving these requirements. I aim to focus on the following points:

  • What is social media in the 21st Century classroom and why is it important?
  • How can teachers and/or schools effectively implement social media into classrooms?
  • How does implementing social media enable creativity, collaboration and learner lead innovation in the 21st Century classroom?
  • Classroom scenarios.

I often hear educators speaking of the limitations that schools and sectors put on the use of social media in schools. I intend for my digital essay to push the boundaries of these limitations and shed light on the possibilities. Literature from, but not limited to Redecker, et al (2011), Prensky (2001), Meyers (2013), Crockett (2011), Hattie (2008) and Davies (2011) will provide scholarly support and other supporting materials will be drawn from YouTube and podcasts, as well as social media platforms in general.

References

Australian Curriculum. Scope of ICT Capability. http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/generalcapabilities/information-and-communication-technology-capability/introduction/scope-of-ict-capability Retrieved 2nd May, 2015.

Bosman, L, & Zagenczyk, T. (2011). Revitalise Your Teaching: Creative Approaches To Applying Social Media In The Classroom. Social Media Tools and Platforms in Learning Environments. P. 3-15. Berlin: Springer-Berlin Heidelerg

Levinson, M. (2010). From Fear to Facebook: One School’s Journey. USA: ISTE

 

Blog Task Three

It has been incredibly interesting and engaging reading through everyone’s blog posts. I’ve found myself getting carried away at times (whoops, forgot to cook dinner. Looks like we’ll be having takeaway). As a teacher who has only been out of university for just over three years, it is amazing to see the wealth of knowledge within this cohort. Reading through your thoughts and discussions has given me so many ideas to incorporate not only into my teaching but into my personal learning.

Posts like Andrew Dixon’s titled Things I should Have Listened To My Lecturer About #1 – An Ongoing Series, where he discusses how he should have been using Evernote. I hear you loud and clear Andrew!! It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who feels a little overwhelmed at times.

I felt drawn back to certain posts. One especially, where I wrote a quick comment and felt that I had not expanded enough or shared my own knowledge. So I returned and added yet another comment (sorry for the bombardment Linda Weeks). Or posts who used tools which I use often in the classroom but never thought of incorporating into my blog posts. Katherine Herbert used ThingLink on her blog Space For Thinking to show her comments. What a great idea!! And so I created my own.

Having to read through the blog posts as a required task has been enlightening to me. I’m looking forward to getting more involved in the coming weeks, through blog posts, comments and Twitter. Thanks for all your insights.

Trends in Technology Developments – Blog Post Two

The influence of digital technologies in people’s daily lives has become undeniable. Devices, whether they be computers, tablets or smartphones, are now parts of individuals’ interpersonal communication, work, entertainment and learning (Barreto & Orey, 2012). As teachers we have a significant role in teaching our students essential skills so that they become digitally literate and competent in the 21st century (Fransson & Holmberg, 2012). Technology encompasses a huge range of ever changing resources and ideas, and as educators we need to stay up with and involved with these trends.

OEdmodone of the largest trends at the moment is the use of social media within the educational setting. Whether it be a private forum such as Edmodo or Schoology, or something accessible by all such as Twitter or public blogs. Moran, et al (2012), believe that social media sites offer value in teaching. They state that the use of videos, podcasts and wikis are valuable tools for teaching, and report that social media sites can be valuable tools for collaborative learning. Many educators are experimenting with the idea of incorporating some form of social media into their lessons. These media sites not only act as a venue for discussion but allow teachers and students to share and embed resources.

I prefer to use Google Classroom with my students. This acts as a single online forum where students can find resources, tasks and discussions to assist them in their learning. I am able to embed flipped learning tasks for students to watch and interact Google Classroomwith. The flipped classroom is a pedagogical method, which employs videos, interactive tasks and practice problems as homework, and active, group-based problem solving activities in the classroom. It represents a unique combination of learning theories once thought to be incompatible—active, problem-based learning activities founded upon a constructivist ideology and instructional lectures derived from direct instruction methods founded upon behaviourist principles (Bishop & Verleger, 2013).

Digital tools are often publicised for their ability to have a transformative effect on teaching and learning. Take cloud computing for example; this allows us to use web-based tools to collaborate online and also saves schools a whole lot on money and resources. We find a similar effect with the incorporation of game based learning. The productive role of play allows students to experiment, explore their identities and learn from successes and failures. This is a huge transformation from the ‘traditional classroom’.

Another trend in technology development is the idea of personal learning environments with the incorporation of problem based learning tasks. Hung, et al, (2008), state that this is the most innovative pedagogical method implemented in education and this its effectiveness in facilitating student problem solving and self directed learning skills has been widely reported. At my school we use a mix of the 21st Century Fluency Project model by Lee Crockett, and the Challenge Based Learning model by Apple. Both of these models enable students to use a range of technological skills to challenge their own learning and knowledge growth.

Regardless of the trends in technology, teachers need to remember that a tech tool is just a tool unless governed by pedagogical components. Technology advances and changes on a daily rate and as teachers we need to cater for the attainment of technological skills. We are connected by technology on a daily basis. It is heavily embedded in our lives and prevalent in our 21st Century classrooms. It is my goal to assist my colleagues in staying up-to-date with technology that is relevant to them and their students.

 

References:

Bishop, J., & Verleger, M. (2013). The Flipped Classroom: A Survey of Research. American Society for Engineering Education. June 23-26. Retrieved from http://www.studiesuccesho.nl/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/flipped-classroom-artikel.pdf March 26, 2015.

Fransson, G., & Holmberg, J. (2012). Understanding the theoretical framework of technological pedagogical content knowledge: A collaborative self-study to understand teaching practice and aspects of knowledge. Studying Teacher Education, 8(2), 193-204.

Hung, W., Jonassen, D., & Liu, R. (2008). Problem Based Learning. Retrieved from http://www.aect.org/edtech/edition3/er5849x_c038.fm.pdf March 26, 2015.

Moran, M., Seaman, J., & Tinti-Kane, H. (2012). Teaching, Learning, and Sharing: How today’s higher educational faculty use social media. Babson Survey Research Group. Massachusetts. 

 

Tough Decision

It has been a tough decision but I have decided to defer one of my units, INF541 Game Based Learning. As much as I was enjoying the content, I was struggling to keep up with the reading and discussions. At present one unit is keeping me busy enough with a newborn baby.

Best of luck to all studying that unit. I’ll be keeping an eye out for your tweets and will hopefully see many of you in the games I am slowly getting involved with. World of Warcraft come at me!!

INF530 Reflections – The Information Environment

It is incorrect to assume that all students these days are digital natives. Just because they were born in an age where technology is used frequently does not mean that they are born with advanced technological skills, or even with access to technology. I have seen this first hand when working with students over the last few years. The range of knowledge and skills is expansive, from students who have their own blogs set up to others who have never laid hands on an iPad.

My classroom is set up as a contemporary learning environment where students are encouraged to work at their own level to solve problems. There is continual growth with this setup, with students wanting to achieve higher personal results than they have previously. Students are encouraged to use a range of no tech, low tech and high tech resources, and share their knowledge of Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 9.35.21 PMthese tools in ‘watering holes’ or ‘campfires’. As teachers, we use the six fluencies from the 21st Century Fluency Project to create a range of problem-based tasks that relate to real-world experiences for our students. (See more on my personal blog).

It was interesting to read about preservation of data and think about what we are keeping and how we are preserving it. At present we are using a mix of cloud based tools (Google Classroom, Dropbox, etc), hard drives, which students back up once a week, as well as hard copies of documents. The catholic schools in Western Australia have recently started using SEQTA which is a great tool that encompasses a range of areas. But a lot of training is needed to prepare teachers to use it successfully and, unfortunately, many are only using it to take the roll twice a day.

The use of SEQTA within our schools also raises the question, ‘are we preserving the right information?‘ I feel that the answer is sometimes no. As educators we bring out different strengths in students. I feel that at times certain pieces of information should be left in the past or forgotten so that children have a ‘fresh start’ and can be involved in their learning without prejudices from prior experiences. For example: a child has used their device outside of the classroom and been told off for it. Does this need to be put onto their SEQTA record to follow them for the rest of their schooling? Surely there are more important notes to be taking!

Helen Haste talks about the Five Competencies that young people need in education for the future. She also discusses the conceptScreen Shot 2015-03-16 at 9.24.35 PM that 21st Century students are collaborative tool users who need a range of competencies to thrive in an ever-changing environment. I agree with this statement. In 2014 one of my students moved overseas for a semester. This lead me to create a virtual classroom (Google Classroom) where I embedded a range of flipped learning tasks and activities. Having a virtual classroom not only enabled this student to stay up with the work her peers were doing, but was a fantastic lesson on for all students on how to adapt to change. They needed to use a range of new and old tools effectively to complete their tasks successfully.

I know that I am going to be challenged by the content in this subject but I am looking forward to expanding on my personal knowledge so that I am able to better teach my students and peers. I already have so many new ideas that I am looking forward to incorporating into my 21st Century learning environment.

References:

Blog Post #1 – INF541

It is a struggle for me to view myself as a gamer. As a child my siblings avoided giving me the Nintendo remotes, knowing that Mario would be die immediately or the car I was driving would continually crash into the wall. The only game I was any good at was Tetris, and all three of my siblings still had higher scores than me. However, when it came to a game of Monopoly, Scrabble or Guess Who I was continually victorious.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 10.21.58 PMThese days I watch and listen to my students discuss MindCraft with passion and Call of Duty, arguing over who has unlocked the next level. I observe as they watch the new Halo trailer together, questioning each other over how good it is going to be, and now… I want in! I want to feel that excitement over online gaming and know how to incorporate something they enjoy so much into the classroom.

Our students are growing up in a constantly changing environment of information consumption, interpretation and sharing. Reading, writing and arithmetic are no longer enough in order for them to grow in their educations and careers.

StudeScreen Shot 2015-03-08 at 10.23.48 PMnts in the 21st Century need to sift through a vast assortment of information to formulate plans of action (National Education Society, 2013). Introducing serious games into education not only addresses the three Rs but is guiding our students towards achieving the four Cs; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity and Innovation, all of which are necessary skills of a 21st Century learner.

“The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and emphasizers, pattern recognisers and meaning makers. These people… will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.”
– Daniel Pink

Students learn from the cultures and communities that are built around games. Incorporating games into education means that students will be moving from a passive approach to learning to an active or interactive approach.

By integrating subject specific content into games, teachers can build student engagement and excitement which, in turn, will assist in learning concepts which would otherwise be difficult to grasp. Understandably there needs to be involvement from the teacher, not only in the classroom during the game but also before and after playing the game. Game based learning requires the teacher to become fully immersed with the culture and communities around them.

My classroom is set up as a contemporary learning space with a large focus on problem based learning. As I move forward with Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 10.25.46 PMthis subject, I am continually coming across ideas as well as resources that will be of benefit to my students. Not only will some of the recommended games further their knowledge on specific subjects, but also assist in creating 21st Century learners. Learners who think deeply and more abstractly, socialise with others around the world, are driven to feel success, learn from trial and error and grow in the area of teamwork and collaboration.

According to Marc Prensley (2007) I am a ‘digital native’, as are my students. But as technology and games continue to grow at a hectic pace we are left in a quandary. How can we, as educators, stay up with the ever-increasing pace of games and technology? How do we know we are sharing relevant and up to date information? I believe that in this instance it is important to step into your students’ shoes and be the learner, because they too have knowledge to share with you.

 

Pink, D. (2011). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. New York: Riverhead.

Jennings, J. (2014). Teachers re-evaluate value of video games. Sydney Morning Herald. Accessed on 1st March at http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/teachers-reevaluate-value-of-video-games-20141130-11jw0i.html 

National Education Society. (2013). Preparing 21st Century Students for a Global Society: An Educator’s Guide to the “Four Cs”. http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/A-Guide-to-Four-Cs.pdf

Prensley, M. (2007). Digital Game Based Learning. Paragon House: New York.

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