5.2 Gamification in Education

In response to the three readings, I took advantage of some things that are going on in my school. W have just received 70 notebooks from a secondary school, and I put it to my principal that we should create a gaming environment for the school. The proposal is set out below:

This is a proposal to initiate and run a gamification environment at Holy Spirit School, Lavington. This is based on the notion that “the classroom as a model is replaced by learning environments in which digital media provide access to a rich source of information and play, and the processes that occur within those environments are integral to the results.” (Thomas and Brown, 2011).

Gamification is using game-based mechanics, aesthetics and game thinking to engage people, motivate action, promote learning, and solve rpblems, often in real-time. Games, gaming and gamification provide a significNt context for purposeful reading and critical research.

In a gaming environment, students learn through their interaction and participation with one another in varied, collaborative relationships that are the result of shared interests and opportunities.

All students work on equal ground in this environmentd. No one in this gaming environment is assigned leadership roles, but all share skills, experience and expertise in a virtual platform.

The key principles based in the gaming environment are:

  • Digital citizenship
  • Collaboration
  • Collective critical analysis and problem solving
  • Analysing, critiquing, synthesising new information within a digital context.
  • Positive, peer-to-peer feedback in a safe online environment.

In this environment, teachers take on the role of director, coach, mentor and facilitator. The teacher creates the environment through MinecraftEDU (http://youtu.be/EErpIGQaw3M) or through the Mars project from Glass Lab (http://tinyurl.com/kgwl87q).

Online Gaming has a variety of benefits (Edmonds 2011):

  • They have rules. This gives learners structures.
  • They involve play. This gives a heightened sense of fun through learning.
  • They have goals, providing motivation
  • They are increasingly challenging in their environment and contexts. This allows for collaborative problem solving.
  • Problem solving generates creativity.
  • The collective nature of online communities provides a social context.
  • Online games have stories which provides a level of emotional response.

MinecraftEDU
MinecraftEDU is a stand-alone educational version on Minecraft. No zombies, weapons, etc are embedded in the game. It provides a digital meeting place for peers to create worlds and contexts for learning. Nearly every child from the ages of 5-12 are familiar with this platform of MMOG (Massive Multiplyer Online Game – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massively_multiplayer_online_game) and would readily work together to solve problems posed and created by the teacher/s.

Argubot Academy
http://argubotacademy.org/home
Mars Generation One is an online game that challenges critical persuasion and reasoning skills. Developed by Glass Lab in cooperation with NASA, The game addresses critical Common Core standards in persuasion and reasoned thinking – a cornerstone of the standards for English Language Arts.
Infused with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) content from NASA, students interact with these learning areas as they think critically about the real questions driving STEM careers.

With input from experts in literacy at the US National Writing Project, THIS GAME works well to introduce norms for classroom discussions, persuasive writing, and expository writing. This game also supports reading and writing, making the most of their tablet hardware. This game is a free download and is available for iPad. Teachers can set up classes who can then interact online.

Other considerations:
Please read the short blog at http://tinyurl.com/bwln3ys
The Space
A suite of Notebooks can be installed in the school which would become the virtual learning lab, initially for Stage 2 and 3 students. The school would then need to work out how to be flexible in its programming of KLA’s and work out how integrated curriculum can include the multi-faceted nature of learning in an online community.

The room probably most suited would be the room next to the current library. This space is used only on Thursdays, and would provide a discreet room for the lab to be set up.
How this works within the school community, I leave up to the school Executive to make that decision.

However, the alternatives are:
At least a day allocated to a Stage, where students are rotated on one-hour blocks

Set up a HSS MMOG Club, which might run one afternoon a week after school (which I could facilitate pending availability)
If there is any other information required, please let me know.

Critical Reflection – Where I Stand Now (at the crossroads)

“By the end of the nineteenth century it seemed that the basic fundamental principles governing the behaviour of the physical universe were known” (Rae, 1986).

At the commencement of this subject, the two main influences of my practice were based on Crockett et al. (2011) and Hattie (2009). Through this subject I have been able to purge myself from the restrictions of one source (Crockett et al.) and augment personal understanding through the perspective of the other (Hattie).

The danger educators still face is not the rate in which change is occurring in the digital learning environment, but more the complacency and assumptions that their current learning practice is meeting the needs of the digital native. As Brown (in DML Hub, 2012) has stated, if our institutions and schools look the same in years from now, “we’ve got problems” (at 1:25). Hattie (2009) confirms that the best practice teachers can develop toward their students is to get out of the way. Prensky (2012) has stated that teachers need to be coaches, directors and not the “chalk and talk” style of teacher that Mitra (2013) and Hague (2010) have indicated are simply not relevant in current learning environments. Barseghian (2011) emphasises the need for educators to be adaptive in order to provide an environment that students can flourish.

Informatics, repositories, social media and the technology associated with school libraries are more relevant in a secondary and tertiary learning environment. However, as this is the direction primary school learners are heading, it is essential primary educators are working in an environment with these aspects in mind. In order for primary educators to instil digital literacy, global citizenship, collaborative and collective interaction and creative solution fluency is through play. As Ito (http://youtu.be/xuV7zcXigAI) points out, and is again supported by Prensky (2012), Crockett, Jukes and Churches (2011), play is a critical part for students to learn in this environment. Barseghian (2011) indicates that critical thinking and emotional engagement are among very many valid reasons for implementing gamification in schools. This subject has helped in Holy Spirit Lavington seeking acceptance of a proposal to convert an unused classroom into a gamification facility. This aspect of the subject (gaming) is one that I aim to investigate further.

The outcome of this journey through this subject has been the focus of how the array of concepts, from digital literacies to digital storytelling, can be reflected in the primary school. Kasman (2012) shows that, even at a primary age, a blog post can be utilised to share responses to reading. This multi-modal approach is indicative of the kind of flexibility teachers must exercise, not just in their creation of a learning environment for their students, but also embedded into their culture of teaching and learning.

Although it may be stating the obvious, the emergence, prevalence and accessibility of technologies students have at their fingertips is the same technology at the fingertips of teachers. In order to create a technology-rich, research-based learning environment, the teacher needs to be able to take risks, seek feedback, learn, just as much as they might expect of their students.

My short-comings are evident in the limited development of a repertoire of skills in using and manipulating technology through the digital essay. Having said this, learning and creating through Storify, Weebly, Wordle, QR Stuff, are tools which could be utilised in teaching and learning at primary level. The use of Twitter has provided a professional community allowing an exponentially increasing learning collective of educators. The subject forums provided within the digital community of the subject has also provided a conversation to share, critique and reflect.

Whether or not technology is changing the way children learn, one thing is certain. We as educators must move with our students, to engage them with the tools they are familiar with, and to help them make sense of the world.

“Stand at the crossroads if you will, but if you’ll not choose, I’ll move on without you”
― Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Dart.

 

REFERENCES

 

Barseghian, T. (2011). Five reasons why video games power up learning. Mindshift. Retrieved from http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2011/06/five-reasons-why-video-games-power-up-learning/

Crockett, L., Jukes, I. & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age (Apple iBook edition). Retrieved from Apple iBook Store.

DML Research Hub (2011, August 4). Cultural Anthropologist Mimi Ito on Connected Learning, Children, and Digital Media. Retrieved May 31, 2014 from http://youtu.be/xuV7zcXigAI

DML Research Hub (2012, September 18). The global one room schoolhouse: John Seely Brown (highlights from JSB’s Keynote at DML2012). Retrieved May 17, 2014 from http://youtu.be/fiGabUBQEnM

Hague, C (2010). “It’s not chalk and talk anymore” School approaches to developing students’ digital literacy [Digital participation strand 1: final report]. Retrieved April 6, 2014 from Futurelab website:  http://www.futurelab.org.uk/sites/default/files/Digital_participation_strand_1_final_report.pdf

Hattie, John (2009). Visible learning: a synthesis of meta-analyses relating to achievement. Abingdon: Routledge.

Kasman, Vealenza, J. (2012). Reading Remixed. Educational Leadership, 69(6).75

Mitra, S., (2013, Feb 27). Build a school in the cloud [Video File]. Ted Talks, retrieved May 15, 2014 from youtu.be/y3jYVe1RGaU

Prensky, M. (2012). Teaching digital natives: partnering for real learning (Kindle Edition). Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

Rae, A. (1986). Quantum physics, illusion or reality? (1st ed.). Cambridge (Cambridgeshire): Cambridge University Press.

BLOG POST #4 – Creativity and Education

Certainly, as Dillon (2012) suggests, creativity isn’t defined within the parameters of the Arts, and this is very much supported by Thomas and Brown (2012), Crockett, Jukes and Churches (2011), Honan (2013). It is interesting to note, too, that research within arts and media studies  helps shape English and arts curricula (Lankshear and Knobel, 2011).

In fostering a creative environment within a classroom, what teachers do matters greatly. Providing an environment, and even allowing learners to create a context for their learning, requires a teacher who is very clear on the learning intentions, the outcomes to be achieved, and the indicators by which learners can use to gauge whether or not they have achieved these outcomes. Teachers may even need to be able to quantifiably measure the growth of students within these contexts, which in turn can measure the effectiveness of the creativity. How this happens, I am still investigating.

Even when it comes to gamification in education, the question still in my mind is: how can we measure the success of implementation of such an approach to learning? Whilst peer assessment and self-assessment are some of the most important tools of assessment a learner has at their disposal (Thomas and Brown, 2011; Hattie, 2009), perhaps it is the task that can be measured and not so much the contexts and skills in which those tasks can be undertaken.

Brown (in DML Research Hub, 2012) poses questions all educators need to address when creating environments that foster lateral, creative thinking: what are the social practices we need to adopt, and what are the institutional structures needed to embrace this creative context of learning? This seems to be in stark contrast to many current institutions and systems.

From a micro-perspective, learning needs to be messy, it needs to be a place where learners’ mistakes are celebrated as a learning experience, from which new ideas can be generated. Classrooms need to be a collaborative environment, which also lends itself to the idea that a noisy classroom may be the place where students are constantly moving, constantly interacting and providing feedback, and constantly challenging.

The Australian curriculum is very adamant about creativity. The curriculum also tells what teachers must teach. The curriculum does not, however, dictate HOW it is to be taught. This is the most liberating aspect of the curricula: that teachers are free to explore new and creative ways, with an increasing focus on the use of multi-modal tools at the learner’s disposal, in a collaborative, interactive way, supporting teachers who are challenged to “see learning through the eyes of their students” (Hattie, 2009 p. 37) thus helping students to become more engaged.


 REFERENCES

Australiancurriculum.edu.au. (2014). The Australian Curriculum v6.0 Critical and creative thinking – Background. Retrieved 17 May 2014, from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/critical-and-creative-thinking/introduction/background

 

Crockett, L., Jukes, I. & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age (Apple iBook

edition). Retrieved from Apple iBook Store.

 

DML Research Hub (2012, September 18). The global one room schoolhouse: John Seely Brown (highlights from JSB’s Keynote at DML2012). Retrieved May 17, 2014 from http://youtu.be/fiGabUBQEnM  


Hattie, John (2009). Visible learning: a synthesis of meta-analyses relating to achievement. 
Abingdon: Routledge.

 

Honan, E. (2013). Thinking through new literacies for primary and early years. Moorabin: Hawker Brownlow Education.

 

Lankshear, C. and Knobel, M. (2001). New literacies everyday practices and classroom learning, 3rd ed. Maidenhead, N.Y.: Open University Press

 

TedX Talks (2012, June 20): The secret to creativity: Mike Dillon at TEDxEastsidePrep. Retrieved May 17, 2014 from http://youtu.be/jR4jbI3Ds9A

Thomas, Douglas, and Brown, John Seely (2011). A new culture of learning: cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change (Kindle edition). Retrieved from Amazon.com

Scholarly Review – “Literacy Is Not Enough”

Crockett, L., Jukes, I. & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. Kelowna, B.C.: 21St Century Fluency Project.

 

There is a growing school of thought that supports, not only pedagogical reform in education, but a structural change as well. Literacy is Not Enough is an assertion of the need for change in classroom practice, as well as a global reformation of education. The book’s assertion is that traditional literacies of reading, writing and numeracy are no longer enough to sustain the learning needs of today’s learner (Crockett et al., 2011, p. 11). The book’s design is very much aligned with its intent: to provide a framework for educators to challenge and change traditional pedagogical methods and structures, in order to foster contemporary learning styles, tools and spaces which, as the authors believe, are more relevant and pertinent to learners. Indeed, the book claims to move beyond the reasoning for change, and into the process in which change can occur (p. vi). In this framework of literature review, the book is not a theory to be explored; it is a handbook with a clear process (at least in the authors’ mind) to be followed.

One of the problems with this book is that is is full of opinion with the scant reference to bodies of study and research to support it; another is the way the authors have painted themselves into a pedagogical corner through the commercial need to create the book around an unnecessary framework of fluencies for the purpose of creating acronyms and rhetoric.

Attempting to create a validity of thought through the strength and passion of their argument, Crockett et al. state that the current (and traditional) education system is simply no longer relevant. Mitra (2014) certainly believes that the Empirical model is an irrelevancy (3min 10secs). The argument for students to be moved from an input-driven model to a more autonomous, inquiry-based model is also supported by Thomas and Brown (2011, loc 319). Thomas and Brown have also asserted that, because the very nature of learning within a digital age has changed, so too must the traditional, mechanised approach to teaching (loc 319).

Setting the scene of a fast-changing society, Crockett et al. emphasise that those who rely on manufacturing and not creativity will become developing countries in the twenty-first century (p. 71).  Basing the driver for change on Churches’ explanation of Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy (in Crockett et al. Ibid pp 133-134, and in Churches, 2014), which is a variation of Anderson and Krathwohl (2001, in Heer (2012)) revision of the same taxonomy. This is coupled with an argument for educators to change their role from the traditional model to one of a director, or “facilitator of learning, posing real-world problems that have relevance to the learners” (Crockett et al. 2011 p. 144). This is supported by Prensky (2010) who stresses the need for educators to coach and guide, rather than instruct (loc 423). Inasmuch as technology is concerned, Prensky believes teachers need to let students be the users of technology, and not use technology for students (loc 662).

From this point, Crockett et al. (2011) identify what they believe are skills pertinent to contemporary learning: problem solving, creativity, analytic thinking, collaboration, communication, and global citizenship (p. 36, 37). A rhetoric is created then: solution fluency, information fluency, creativity fluency, Media Fluency, collaboration fluency, and global digital citizenship.

Crockett et al. (2011) state that students need to be adept at solving problems. Citing Appreciative Inquiry (p., 46, in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appreciative_inquiry), this model is a derivative of Kessler’s work, and the four D’s of inquiry (2013). Here, we are introduced to the six D’s of solution fluency, the beginning of the acronym of IDEAL, related to Crockett et al.’s notions of global citizenship (p. 119).

As we progress from the process of solution to Information Fluency, skills are mentioned as being separate, and it is at this point skills are renamed for the purpose of the acronym. “Ask” (Crockett et al., 2011, p. 46) is similar to “Design,” one of the six D’s in Solution fluency (p.44); “Assess” (p.60) is very similar to “Debrief” (p.45). And so the pattern emerges of rebadging similar (if not identical) processes, for the sake of initialisms and acronyms.

Of one concern, which contradicts much research from others, is the conjecture from Crockett et al. (2011) that a possible reason for an apparent decline in American creativity “is the number of hours kids spend in front of the TV and playing video games rather than engaging in creative activities” (p. 71). There is no evidence whatsoever in the book to support this supposition. What Crockett et al. (2011) do not mention, however, is the informal nature of much of the learning that students undertake within, and without, the classroom setting. Ito et al. (2009, in Downes and Bishop, 2012) point out the informal, but very valid nature in which adolescents “hang out,” “mess around” and “geek out” and, although these terms in themselves try to create a rhetoric, they nonetheless emphasise the degree in which learners are engaged in the digital landscape, and the need for schools to harness this learning in a collective context.

Thomas and Brown (2011) establish that play and gaming is central to how children perceive, make sense of and question the world ((loc 59). This creative play, in a collective environment of online gaming, teaches and develops global digital citizenship (loc 108), and provides a tacit knowledge through personal experience (as opposed to explicit teaching (loc 1009). Brown (in Jan et al., 2012) states that being online and immersed in media, learners can not only be surround by content, but they can also create context for their learning (p. 19).

As Crockett et al. (2011) explain Media Fluency, in choosing medium that is most effective in communicating a message (p. 91), attempts are made to explain that skills from other fluencies will be needed in order to utilise the skills needed in Media Fluency (p. 92). However, by identifying “form” and “flow,” Chase and Laufenberg (2011) state that digital literacy is more of a “genre, a format and tool to be found within the domain of standard literacy” (p. 535).

Collaboration Fluency (Crockett et al., 2011) was the final fluency defined, and notably brief, its parameters centring on a team-work and co-operative approach. There is an abundance of literature about online collective learning and context-creating through gaming and online social media. Ito (2013) suggests that online digital collaboration can create sophisticated literacy skills, and civic engagement. This is not to say that Crockett et al.’s (2011) explanations are not grounded. Although there (again) is scant evidence of academic reference to this media framework, the “real world” example of collaboration (pp. 110-112) is one of very few examples of fluency application that bear relevance to a school’s learning environment. However, as Thomas and Brown (2011) warn, attempts to define collectives would be detrimental to those aspects that make them innovative and unique (loc 635).

What becomes evident in the final sections of Crockett et al.’s (2011) text is the absence of substance – where the conclusions and recommendations are drawn from, supported and sourced. Their explanations of global citizenship are somewhat limited to behavioural expectations (pp. 121-123). Collin et al. (2011) indicate that being a digital citizen within a social network can support not only digital media literacy, but also the ability to create context, reusing media to communicate and develop self-expression (p. 13). Collin et al. also cite that a significant number of young people use online blogging to become engaged in political and civic engagement (p. 19).

Crockett et al. (2011) present a springboard for educators from which to initiate change in their learning environments, and provide strong argument for it. However, as a credible academic source, it falls short in supporting its arguments and reasoning to provide the framework it does. Its commercialistic approach to turn contemporary learning into a series of rigid processes inhibits the fostering of a growing body of research which could possibly add so much more colour in the pedagogy needed to engage learners in a digital environment. Crockett et al. emphasise the need to value traditional literacies, which they believe are “essential to interpersonal communication.” Their belief that the need for change in how educators approach learning is well founded, albeit unsupported by references in their book. Whilst the fluencies outlined are identifiable, the authors could have condensed theor framework into something more cohesive, elaborating on a greater scope of scenarios and approaches more relative to the changing learning environment in which students find themselves.

References

Anderson, L. W. Krathwohl (Eds.). (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives.

Churches, A. (2013, Feb 28). Literacy is not enough: 21st century fluencies for the digital age [Video file].Hawker Brownlow, retrieved from  http://youtu.be/N8DEeR1sraA

Churches, A. 2009. Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy. Retrieved from https://edorigami.wikispaces.com

Collin, P., Rahilly, K., Richardson, I. & Third, A. (2011) The Benefits of Social Networking
Services
. Melbourne: Cooperative Research Centre for Young People, Technology and Wellbeing.

Crockett, L., Jukes, I. & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age. Kelowna, B.C.: 21St Century Fluency Project.

Crockett, L., Jukes, I. & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough: 21st-century fluencies for the digital age [Apple iBook edition]. Retrieved from Apple iBook Store.

Downes, John M., and Bishop, Penny (2012). Educators engage digital natives and learn from their experiences with technology. Middle School Journal, May 2012, pp. 6-16.

Ito, Mimi (2013). Mimi Ito on learning in social media spaces [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/mimi-ito-social-media-learning-video

Jan, M., Lin, A., Sazali, N. H. B., Tam, J. C. P. And Tan, E. M. (2012). Learning in and for the 21st century. [PDF] Singapore: Office of Educational Research, NIE/NTU. pp. 13-30

Kessler, E.H. (ed.) (2013). Encyclopedia of management theory. Sage Publications. Retrieved from http://www.gervasebushe.ca/the_AI_model.pdf

Mitra, S., (2013, Feb 27). Build a school in the cloud [Video File]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/y3jYVe1RGaU

Prensky, M. (2012). Teaching digital natives: partnering for real learning (Kindle Edition). Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

Thomas, Douglas, and Brown, John Seely (2011). A new culture of learning: cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change [Kindle edition]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

Digital Essay Proposal – Hattie and the Digital Landscape

John Hattie: Visible Learning through Digital Literacies – a school community approach
Holy Spirit School, Lavington has transformed from a ‘traditional’ isolated classroom setting which many believe is now obsolete (Mitra, 2013), into a contemporary learning centre that is increasingly offering inquiry-based and differentiated learning, research-based education that is data-informed.

Whilst Hattie (2009) is thorough in identifying which aspects of schooling has on effect size (success of strategy/aspect), little is mentioned about the integration of technology within learning spaces, and which aspects of digital literacy might be relevant or pertinent to various stakeholders within a school community.

This essay proposes to summarise the contributions of various stakeholders in a school community, based on Hattie’s (2009) visible teaching and learning, within the context of the digital landscape, to match aspects of digital literacies and strategies that complement:
• School
• Students
• Teachers
• Parents, and
• Curricula

The assumptions at this stage are that:
• Every member of a school community is a learner, and needs to take an active role in fostering this notion
• Collaborative and collective learning needs to be identified and utilised as a valid form of learning
• Teaching and learning is reciprocal in a multimodal/digital environment
• Digital tools assist in learning but are not learning in and of themselves. This essay will not discuss whether or not the digital landscape has changed the way learners learn.

The essay will attempt to keep the topic in the realm of primary education, with digital lieracy being an emerging skill set in the primary domain.

References will include, but will not be limited to:

Alam, SL & McLoughlin, C (2010). Using digital tools to connect learners: Present and future
scenarios for citizenship 2.0. In C.H. Steel, M.J. Keppell, P. Gerbic & S. Housego (Eds.),
Curriculum, technology & transformation for an unknown future. Proceedings ascilite . Sydney 2010 (pp.13-24). Retrieved from http://ascilite.org.au/conferences/sydney10/procs/Alam-full.pdf

Callow, J. (2013). The shape of text to come (1st ed.). Newtown: Primary English Teaching Association Australia.

Crockett, L., Jukes, I. & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough. Kelowna, B.C.: 21St Century Fluency Project.

Hague, C (2010). “It’s not chalk and talk anymore” School approaches to developing students’ digital literacy [Digital participation strand 1: final report]. Retrieved from Futurelab website: http://www.futurelab.org.uk/sites/default/files/Digital_participation_strand_1_final_report.pdf

Hattie, John (2009). Visible learning: a synthesis of meta-analyses relating to achievement. Abingdon: Routledge.
Honan, E. (2013). Thinking through new literacies for primary and early years. Moorabin: Hawker Brownlow Education.
Metcalfe, J., Simpson, D., Todd, I., Toyn, M., & Honan, E. (2013). Thinking through new literacies for primary and early years (1st ed.). Moorabbin: Hawker Brownlow.

Prensky, M. (2012). Teaching digital natives: partnering for real learning (Kindle Edition). Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

Assessment #5 – Reflective Blog 3 – Thank You Masaoka

I really enjoyed reading Masaoka’s blog regarding digital natives (http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/rmasaoka/2014/04/03/digital-natives/), especially after reading Brabazon et al. (2009)!

Her blog is good food for thought, and I thought I had all this “Digital Native” versus “Digital Immigrant” notion all figured out before reading Brabazon et al. (2009). After reading this, I’m left to wonder if assumptions of youth really do influence the research undertaken about them (p. 167). After using Prensky (2012) as a support and reference point for my scholarly book review, I now feel that, for me, there is a lot I need to do to become more discerning about what a digital native really is, and whether or not those who identify themselves as being such actually have advantage over those seen as the digital baby-boomers! I think I’ll read books more carefully to see how their arguments are supported (or, in Prensky’s case, how they aren’t supported).

I think too that, as we age, we actually develop a broader range of activity in our lives. If we think back to our teen years, school really was our world, and as adults, our work is one facet of our lives (I know it is with mine! Coupled with family, two part-time jobs on top of a full-time one, and study to boot!). So accepting that, unless technology development is foremost of our existence, as it is with some of our students, then knowing and being proficient at emerging skills and technologies isn’t as important as being able to foster them in learning.

I like Stoeger’s article that states that not all students are going to be born into the same skill sets. It reminds me of some ongoing study I’m doing on the side of Hattie’s work (2009). With all students, the teachers role is to, not only know where their students are at developmentally, but know where to go next. In this instance, peer tutoring would play a really effective role in helping those who might be seen as passive learners take on a more active and empowering role when using technology. I’ve tried this using iPads, online digital presentation tools (Prezi, Haiku Deck, Glogster), as well as the more basic form of differentiating classroom learning and creating expert groups within Maths lessons.

In fact, Hattie (2009) outlines a number of factors that influence a child’s learning. At this stage I understand that technology is embedded in our lives, but without key, crucial aspects built into the classroom, the practices that are fostered within learning spaces, the culture that is endemic within a learning community, all influence the learner.
Screen-Shot-2012-02-08-at-12.30.00-300x210
(image taken from http://www.thinkingschoolsinternational.com/)

At this stage, once our education departments get over their assumptions and fears of using social media, and adopt a “challenge” model over their current “risk model” I think we will be able to see the benefits of social networking more (mainly in secondary schools). This is certainly supported by Collin et al. (2011), and their review is being widely considered in many secondary schools in Melbourne. For now, though, I think I’ll have to continue to gradually transform my Year 3/4 learning areas from traditional classrooms to a co-teaching, co-learning collaborative learning space.

Thank you, Masaoka!

Brabazon, T., Dear, Z., Greene, G., & Purdy, A. (2009). Why the Google generation will not speak: The invention of digital natives. Nebula, 6. Retrieved from http://www.iiav.nl/ezines/IAV_607294/IAV_607294_2010_3/BDGP.pdf

Collin, P., Rahilly, K., Richardson, I. & Third, A. (2011) The Benefits of Social Networking Services. Melbourne: Cooperative Research Centre for Young People, Technology and Wellbeing.

Hattie, John (2009). Visible learning: a synthesis of meta-analyses relating to achievement. Abingdon: Routledge.

Prensky, M. (2012). Teaching digital natives: partnering for real learning (Kindle Edition). Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

Assessment Item 3: Online Reflective Journal Blog Task 2 – Digital literacy and connected learning

The definitions of digital citizenship and connectedness seem to be as fluid as the technology that changes and advances at an ever-increasing rate. So much so that the term digital literacy “can be used and understood in multiple ways” (Hague, 2010 p.3). Alam and McLoughlin (2010) state that digital citizenship “refers to the ability to participate in society online and to use technology appropriately” (p.14). Chase and Laufenberg (2011) believe it to be “a genre, a format and tool to be found within the domain of standard of literacy” (p.535). Honan (2013) recognises that parents understand the benefits of new technologies in the social interactions between family members, improving social and language skills, and general enjoyment (p.20).

At the present, most of my students are connected to the internet, most who are regular users of Minecraft. Although it is early stages in the classroom transition for the teachers I am working with, I will be trialling Minecraft in the classroom in Term 2, (www.minecraftedu.com). I have begun flipping the classroom, and am uploading videos on Youtube for students to access at home. Students have access to http://www.Raz-Kids.com, promoting online reading and comprehension.

This is to:
• Demonstrate to the parent body a wider scope of use of technology both at school and at home
• To help dispel an alarmist view some parents have in allowing their children on the internet
• Create a broader notion of learning through Web 2.0 and massive gaming experience
• Allow connectivity to learning and collective text-creation for such in a virtual community (as seen in http://youtu.be/-mTf3j2koJA)

Researchers have noted the communicative and collective potential digital citizenship provides learners, so much so that, in order to close the gap between technological proficiencies of students to their teachers, “willingness to learn from students may provide opportunities to highlight and honor out-of-school literacies of students” (Hagood, 2012, in Gainer, 2012). There is much discussion about components which make up digital literacy, as Third and Richardson (in Collin et al., 2011) point out. These can range from technical proficiency, ordering information and judging its validity/relevance (with learners needing to be, as Crockett et al. (2011), “informationally fluent” (p.33)), social networking skills, manipulating content to become creative and visually literate (Collin ibid, p.12; Crockett et al. Ibid, p.43).

My Year 3/4 students have been given the scope of researching and judging online tools relevant to their learning in class. The inhibitors for students becoming more connected digital citizens are numerous:
• Teachers’ limited understanding of new technologies
• Teachers’ limited ability to mobilise students in a technology-rich learning environment by empowering them to teach and learn
• The wider community’s understanding of connected learning in a global, digital environment. Compared to traditional perceptions of education
• The numerous restrictions imposed by SINA Administration through the school’s network (at this stage, there seems to be a risk-approach to access to the internet, rather than a “challenge” mindset)
• Time – there are many adverse pressures on the teach

For the teaching profession, we all need to have the knowledge, the wisdom, and the courage to “swim against the flow, against conventional wisdom, against our long-standing traditional assumptions and practices in education and begin to move schools from where they are to where they need to be” (Crockett et al. Ibid).

REFERENCES

Alam, SL & McLoughlin, C (2010). Using digital tools to connect learners: Present and future
scenarios for citizenship 2.0. In C.H. Steel, M.J. Keppell, P. Gerbic & S. Housego (Eds.),
Curriculum, technology & transformation for an unknown future. Proceedings ascilite Sydney 2010
(pp.13-24). Retrieved from http://ascilite.org.au/conferences/sydney10/procs/Alam-full.pdf

Collin, P., Rahilly, K., Richardson, I. & Third, A. (2011) The Benefits of Social Networking
Services: A literature review. Cooperative Research Centre for Young People, Technology and Wellbeing.
Melbourne.

Crockett, L., Jukes, I. & Churches, A. (2011). Literacy is not enough. Kelowna, B.C.: 21St Century
Fluency Project.

Hague, C (2010). “It’s not chalk and talk anymore” School approaches to developing students’ digital literacy
[Digital participation strand 1: final report]. Retrieved from Futurelab website:
http://www.futurelab.org.uk/sites/default/files/Digital_participation_strand_1_final_report.pdf

Chase, Z., & Laufenberg, D. (2011). Embracing the Squishiness of Digital Literacy. Journal of
Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 54(7), 535–537. doi:10.1598/jaal.54.7.7

Gainer, J. (2012). Critical Thinking: Foundational for Digital Literacies and Democracy. J Adolesc Adult Liter,
56(1), 14–17. doi:10.1002/jaal.00096

Honan, E. (2013). Thinking through new literacies for primary and early years. Moorabin: Hawker Brownlow
Education.

I think I’m growing up

This time last year, I had two main “bibles” from which I was drawing inspiration and professional direction and validation: John Hattie’s “Visible Learning” (2009) and Lee Crockett et al. (2011) “literacy is Not Enough.”

I was so set to choose one of these books as some reference for this course, but after only a month into INF530, I am now looking at the latter resource with a degree of feeling somewhat underwhelmed. The blanket of research covered even to this point has provided such a kaleidoscope of knowledge and perspective that I’m thinking, in hindsight, I’d left myself a little short-changed last year.

Looking forward to the scholarly review.

Life gets in the way…

Have not been on the blogs a lot this week. We are currently in a major overhaul of the (teaching and learning) structure of Stage 2. It’s taken all week to shunt our practices that now adequately caters for the number of staff we will have for the remainder of the year, and also makes a gentler transition for those teachers hesitant in letting go of their familiar practices for something more reflective of what is needed in contemporary classrooms.

I’ve demonstrated to the teachers various tools with which to flip a classroom, and whilst the lesson was basic (as this was to introduce the idea of flipping to 8-10 year olds), the feedback from the students and the teachers observing was overwhelming.

I’ve also agreed to start running basic technology workshops for teachers in the school, not just showing the technology per se, but how to integrate it into current classroom settings, which apps can be useful (current trialling Three Ring), etc.

I’ll try and get up some photos of our learning spaces for Stage 2.

How It Feels

imagesCA30N4WH

From toptencollections.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Wonderful-Base-Jumping.jpg

When I began co-teaching and learning in a contemporary learning space, it felt pretty much like it feels to begin this subject: like base jumping, knowing that I’m not alone.

Maybe the trick is knowing when to pull the chute…

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