Coming into this subject, I was not fully aware of all of the ways that literature can be classed. In today’s society, people consume so much digital media that there is a need to shift our understanding of literacy and its place in an online world. I, myself, have engaged in some digital literacies and even used them at a basic level to show students that there is more ways to engage with stories outside of the print and eBook sphere, but that was the extent of my knowledge in that realm.
I was excited to start the subject and expand on that base knowledge that I already had and find new ways to engage students with literature that they might not have thought about before. I fond that there needed to be a shift in thinking from the fact that literature in a digital environment covers both literature as a resource in itself but the fact that literature can also be seen as a student production. Students have recently become complacent with the use of digital versions of texts in the classroom. In the past, I have worked at schools that have subscribed or asked the students to purchase the digital version of the textbooks that are needed. Yes, it reduces the expenses for the family and the school as digital versions are cheaper to produce compared to printing physical copies but they are also not utilised to their full potential and often used as a glorified eBook and seen as a second thought. Far too often, adding technology into the already existing curriculum means that it is limiting its usefulness for teaching and learning, it is very rarely an organic part of the lesson plan (Biancarosa & Griffiths, 2012, pp. 149). Although there has been a shift in the past probably five years, some teachers still hold the view that technology and its advantages are secondary to the curriculum and pedagogy.
When reading through the first module, I noted that there are some questions that I already ask myself when it comes to assessing the validity of a text within the classroom. My post in the evaluating digitally reproduced stories, mentioned that Walsh’s 3 questions were ones that I had considered before, especially that of how does it appear on the screen and if it is different from the print version and is the digital version much more enjoyable (Boeti, 2020, July 26). This line and many other lines of questioning were expanded on in the subsequent assessment that followed. Being able to explore the different forms of transmedia literacy opened up a whole new world for me. There was a multitude of possibilities that I was able to incorporate into the classroom to help students better engage with literature in ways that they may not have thought of before. The immersive nature of some forms of transmedia storytelling allows students to explore and investigate at their own pace and was in a format that was familiar to them that they may not have thought of as a form of literature (Lamb, 2011, pp. 15). I noted that my personal preferences had changed over the years and that now, I much prefer a physical book to reading on a kindle, as that was something I was fond of in the past (Boeti, 2020, August 23). But it is important to consider that people have different preferences and, as teachers, we must be open to embracing that and not have our own preferences cloud our teaching.
The concept of creating a story or a narrative to fit in with the curriculum was interesting to me as that was something that I was thinking about for my own subject that I teach. Presenting it in a digital format that was both engaging for the student and that also worked with the web based learning management system was very important to me. Students are able to engage on a deeper level with both fiction and non-fiction through a digital setting because they are able to throw themselves into alternate ways of telling their stories or presenting their ideas. By working through this subject, I have been able to reflect and grow ideas to help my students engage with literature in ways that would not have occurred to them. They will be able to see the multitude of ways that we can tell a story and present information to the world outside of the traditional media that they have become ever so familiar with.
Biancarosa, G., & Griffiths, G. G. (2012). Technology tools to support reading in the digital age. The Future of Children, 22(2), 139-160.
For this digital storytelling project, the focus will be on megacities and urbanisation. This falls under the changing nations and place, space, and interconnection descriptors for year eight geography in line with the Victorian curriculum. At the year eight level, students are investigating the causes and consequences of urbanisation and they use a case study from Indonesia to support their understanding (VCAA, 2020). The specifics of the story are to give a background of megacities and urbanisation and then personify it through the story of a person that has moved from country Indonesia to the megacity of Jakarta with their family.
Virtual School Victoria is located in the north western region of Victoria but has students enrolled from all over Victoria. The students that are the intended viewers of this resource have a wide range of needs as the target students of Virtual School Victoria are those who mainstream or brick and mortar schools do not meet the needs of those students as they have learning difficulties or physical difficulties. This project is an adaptation of two weeks of work that the students complete and send into the teacher. There have been comments in the past from students and parents alike that the work can be overwhelming or that they can not understand it. The way that it is presented is so that students of all abilities have an easier way to access the course materials and complete the tasks.
As the students progress through the presentation, they will be able to listen to audio clips that read out the text for them to better comprehend what they are reading. Through the process of storytelling and reading someone else story, students reflect on what they already know and to challenge assumptions that they previously had on the topic (Malita & Martin, 2010, pp. 3061). The personification of the context and concepts that the students are learning allows the students to grasp at the key ideas in a way that was not present before. With year eight geography, it is seen as an introduction to the key geographical concepts and skills, so it is quite basic in nature and in parts that can be quite dry and dull. Presenting them in a story like format in a relatively new way will make it easier for the students to engage with. Microsoft Sway is a platform that is used sparsely at Virtual School Victoria, but the students are familiar with its layout and how it works.
As the student cohort consists of students with drastically different learning needs, presenting the information in a format other than a word document or on a learning management system website, there are a lot more opportunities to differentiate the information and the tasks that they need to complete. By giving the students different opportunities to access the content and different ways to express what they are learning, this form of universal design for learning can assist teachers to devise ways that they tackle teaching, learning, and assessment that are both flexible and meaningful for the students (Kingsley, 2007, pp. 53). If the students have different and engaging ways to access the information and tasks, they will be more willing to connect with the subject information and may be excited for lessons as it is different from the other classes at the school
. Vulnerable and special needs students often find it difficult to communicate with adults and their peers, both in terms of language difficulties and in an inability to focus on feelings and thoughts, and as a result to express them properly (Botturi, Bramani & Corbino, 2012, pp. 10). The anxiety around posting in a public forum or discussing ideas in an online lesson can be extremely overwhelming for students so the different way to engage with the information and the individual nature of the tasks makes it a much more calming environment for then as the students know that it will only be the teacher of the class seeing their responses rather than being in such a public forum.
Students should feel safe and supported in their learning, and by presenting the information in a way that is different and exciting compared to the norm will hopefully allow them to fully engage and take part. The inclusion of a story will also help the students make sense of the key geographical concepts and skills that are required to be taught at the year eight level.
Botturi, L., Bramani, C. & Corbino, S. (2012). Finding your voice through digital storytelling. TechTrends, 56(3), 10-11.
Kingsley, K. V. (2007). Empower diverse learners with educational technology and digital media. Intervention in School and Clinic, 43(1), 52-56.
Malita, L. & Martin, C. (2010). Digital storytelling as web passport to success in the 21st Century. Procedia Social and Behavioural Sciences, 2, 3060-3064.
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority. (2020). Level 8 Geography level and content descriptors. Retrieved from https://victoriancurriculum.vcaa.vic.edu.au/level8?layout=1&d=G
As a teacher librarian, it is important to create a space where students will feel comfortable and safe. Students must know that they are supported in the library environment and that they can go up to any member of the library and feel that their needs have been met.
The teacher librarian is there to create that environment for the students and to help them build the skills that are necessary through their schooling, and in life. If those skills, such as appropriate researching techniques and effectively using the library, are not engrained in their learning, the students will be at a disadvantage.
Part B – Evidence of growth:
The idea of technology in the classroom and the library has shifted dramatically in the last ten years. I can remember when I was in year twelve back in 2010, the thought of all the students having a device supplied by the school was a luxury, where as in schools today, it is expected that students have a device or at least access to one. That sharp pivot in the space of ten years has equated to large expectations being placed on the teacher librarian and their library space. This is even more prevalent this year when, for a good portion of the year, schools had to switch to remote learning due to the pandemic. I have been fortunate enough to have experience in both a physical school and a virtual school, sometimes referred to as a distance school, so I am able to see the importance of technology and its seamless integration into the school and library.
As I have progressed through the course, I started to take more of an interest in the digital aspects of teacher librarianship and how that could possibly be translated in my day to day teaching practice as I am not yet in a library. It is important to consider that the way that we are consuming literature is constantly changing and the way that it can be presented to students is evident in the now abundant use of technology in the library and classroom (Boeti, 2020). Yes, the technology is there to consume said literature, however, the way that it is advertised and presented to students and teachers is integral in its successful use in the school community. The final assignment for Teacher Librarian as a Leader, was focussed on the idea of future-proofing the library and making it a more important feature in the school community. The main point of discussion in that for me was the proper inclusion of technology and the continual use of it rather than it being a sometimes option for students. Teacher librarians, along with their teams provide the missing link between the rollout of a technology feature, to helping get that feature off the ground at the school and making sure that it is effectively used in the school community (Pelletier, 2019, para. 2).
The concept of 21st century learning and digital citizenship are important factors to consider for me given the current climate that we are in due to the pandemic. Students are more reliant on technology now than ever before and more than ever, the library needs to be assessable for them. While I was on placement, I was able to create a space for the grade four students that I was working with where they could easily and safely research the First Fleet. It was hosted through Oliver library systems, which was a new program for the school, so it was also an educational session for the teachers as well as the students.
There is also a need to approach online collaboration, not as a substitute for face to face learning and collaboration, but something that can be intertwined with day to day practice, some cases it is more appropriate to work online than it is face to face (Samuel, 2015, para. 15). Working through a pandemic has made me realise that the structure of the average classroom is going to become vastly different in the coming years. To meet these needs, the direction that the library takes needs to be in relation to the needs of the students and the evidential changes that come about in relation to technology (Boeti, 2019, pp. 3).
An important factor that I found while completing the course was the importance of being a good digital citizen in an online learning space. With lessons now taking place online, although this was a common form of instruction at my current place of employment. It is important to make the students aware of the appropriate ways to act in an online classroom. One of my tasks for Digital Citizenship in Schools was to create an online learning module for Netiquette. As that was something that I was in the process of teaching my students at the time, it was quite fun to explore further. I created the video below as a teaching tool for that module, but for my students as well, as a different way to present the appropriate behaviours for an online class.
Video created for Netiquette online learning module. Boeti, A. 2020.
It was fun to explore the importance of technology further and to expand on what I was already doing in my own setting at the virtual school. I was able to explore ideas and concepts to better my understanding of its importance and the need to stay up to date with the advancements that are coming out.
Collection development and maintenance was not something that was on my radar when I first started the course. I knew that there had to be a way to build the library collection, but I did not know what that process looked like or what it involved. One element that I was aware of going into the Resourcing the Curriculum Unit was that of banned book lists. I was only aware of the list because an author I like has a book on it, however, I did not know that that was part of collection development and maintenance.
The physical space that is the library has changed over the years to suit the needs of the students and teachers, but at the heart of it, its core has stayed the same (Boeti, 2019). There is always a need for texts, both in the physical form and the digital form. An idea that has stuck with me since that unit came from Hughes – Hassel and Mancall who suggest that there needs to be a shift in the selection process from what is the best to what is appropriate and how it all fits into the context of the school when it comes to selecting resources for the library (2005, pp. 43). This is something that I have considered when completing assessments and tasks for other units. The resources that we choose to house in the library, both physically and digitally, need to be appropriate for the students to use and fit well with the content that they are learning. It is all good and well to have the best resources that are available, but if they do not meet the needs of the students and the teachers, they are just wasting valuable space and money.
In previous decades, policies around collection development were mainly a vehicle for communicating the libraries strategies for potential collection development and how to also manage said collection, however, it is ever more important today to communicate those steps and strategies as we shift in to this more technology reliant world (Demas & Miller, 2012, pp.170). I do admit, policy creation is something that I have to work on more, but it is an integral part of the teacher librarian role. It is something that we need to create to ensure that the collection of resources that we have in the library are relevant and being used by the students and the teachers and that is something that has stuck with me. When selecting texts to review for assessments, I have thought of the students at my school and if it would meet their needs.
When selecting texts for the grade four class that I taught on placement, I had to keep in mind the varying abilities of the students in the class and if it was appropriate for them and the topic that they were looking at. In a way, it was like I had my own mini selection criteria in my head to create the resource collection for those students. It made me realise that those skills are quite transferable and can be used in a multitude of different ways. I have found that over the course of my Masters, I am assessing resources that I use in the classroom and in my assessments with the mindset of using and making it available in a library.
A very clear point of this was when it came to completing the Experiencing Digital Literature assessment for Literature in Digital environments. The texts that I chose for that were based on the context of my previous school as well as elements of my current school. By having this idea of a cohort of students in my mind, I was able to assess if the resource would be worthy of a spot in the library or used in the library. However, there was an element of self-censorship as there was a range of texts that I would have liked to have used but there was an element of fear as if was to be used in an actual library or classroom setting, there would be potential for those choices to be challenged. Dawkins, noted that when it comes to the principal challenging a selection choice, it often results in the text being restricted or removed (2018, pp. 8), and that is not something that I want in my library. I would prefer that the students are able to explore all types of texts and themes rather than be limited by what other people think and prefer. A library collection should be vast and varied to allow students to explore all the ideas that they have.
Information Literacy Skills:
Throughout the course, there has been a strong emphasis on the need to develop student’s information literacy skills. This is an important skill that students will call upon at all points of their learning adventure. Initially, my understanding of information literacy was quite limited as I had not heard of it prior to starting the course. My first blog post for the unit, Introduction to Teacher Librarianship noted that my understanding changed as the unit progressed and mentioned that the UNESCO definition of Information Literacy showed it as a “more holistic approach to education” (Boeti, 2019) and is something that is more than just in the classroom. It had me thinking that had a Teacher librarian been more involved, or at least included, in the inquiry program that was run at the previous school that I had worked at, there would have been a better outcome in the results of the student’s work. Teacher librarians can, and should, team up with classroom teachers to build and support the research skills and language skills that are necessary throughout life.
The thought of information literacy skills started to make its way into my standard teaching practice and was part of my work at my placement school. Having this idea in place, it was important that I maintain it and grow it into something that can be taken from a grade 1 level all the way to year eleven and twelve. Information literacy skills form the basis of lifelong learning and is transferable across subjects and that means that the library is not limited to working with the English and Humanities departments in a school.
When it came to my opportunity to assist with a unit of inquiry lesson while I was on placement, it was important to me that I showed the students the right and wrong ways to research for a task and what were the key things that they needed to look for, such as when the website or book was published, who published the website or book and are they a reliable person or group to get our information from. This then led them to a little bit of a scavenger hunt to find an interesting fact about the First Fleet. As this was a lesson for grade four students, it was quite simplified in language, but the key skills were brought across and met the requirements that the teachers needed.
Image of script used for the grade 4 research lesson (A. Boeti, 2020).
When given the opportunity to work in a library in a school, I would like to set up a program that goes across the different domains in a school to build on those skills and show students that the library is solely connected to the English and Humanities domains, it is a space that can be used for all subject and that the skills can be used in all subjects, this falls in line with the American Library Association’s (ALA) definition that was presented in the final report from the ALA Presidential Committee on Information Literacy (1989). Instead of being overwhelmed with information, students will know how to find, evaluate, and use the information at had effectively to solve the problems that they have or to find information for tasks that they are doing (ALA, 2006).
I would say that my overall perception of information literacy skills and its place in the library and the classroom has progressively changed as I have moved through the course. It has moved from the pure understanding of literacy being around word understanding and reading, to that of a holistic approach to a lifelong skill that students will build on and use throughout their progression in their school lives.
Teacher librarians are seen as the catalyst of this form of instruction and guiding the students, but in a way, it is a whole school approach as well. It is important for the classroom teachers to carry on what the teacher librarian does in the library to maintain those skills and interest in the students. The teacher librarian is the start of the information literacy process and build the foundations and the interest among the students and the classroom teachers continue that work. Teacher librarians and classroom teachers are a team and that is something that I would like to instill in the library environment that I would eventually work in.
Part C – Growth through the course and beyond:
Coming into this course, there was much excitement for the adventure I was about to take. I had decided to leave a toxic work environment and decided to pursue this idea that I had for a while. When I was still at that school, I had timetabled sessions in the library where I would man the front desk, loan out items to students and teachers as well as returning books and shelving them. The library was my one place of solace at the school and added to the realisation that working and just being in the library was something that I wanted to pursue.
I had always been fascinated with the library and to be able to learn more about the finer workings of it was exciting to me. Starting the course was a bit of a shock as I did not think that I was going to go back into study, let alone in an online environment. I will admit, I do not have the best time management skills, so it was a huge learning curve for me along with the fact that I was doing this all completely on my own and with not a lot of connection to other people in my state undertaking the same course. However, once I started to get into a momentum, that trepidation fell to the wayside.
As I progressed through the course, I started to realise that I wanted to focus on the student and their experience in and with the library. Coming from a school that undervalued the library and all of its resources, it became important to me, when I eventually had my own library space to work in, to create a safe and supportive environment for the students to go and research tasks and to just explore what was on offer. I also started to realise the importance of technology in the library and the everchanging landscape that we are in. The underfunding of libraries in some schools means that students are at a disadvantage when it comes to developing their digital researching skills and just the general expansion of the library.
When I was looking through the Australian Library and Information Association’s standards of professional excellence for teacher librarians, I come to the realisation that I had already implemented some of the standards in my general teaching practice, however, I do need to improve on my library and information services management as policies and policy development are not my strong suit. In the future, it will be important for me to go to learning days around policy development and management to build on though skills and to also improve the library environment for students and staff. If the library is not well maintained and supported, it will become a wasted resource within the school. I am also very community minded, so I would very much be excited to create a space in the future where students are welcomed and encouraged to use the library as more than an add on to the classroom.
This was a new experience for me as I have not yet had the chance to review such a wide variety of digital literacies. The ability to explore and choose such different texts was quite fun and made me look at my interest, video games, in a new and different light.
When looking at the texts, I was assessing them on their usability in the classroom and the engagement factor for the students. Cost was another issue that needed to be considered as well, as there may be a chance that they will be used in the classroom after this and some families may find issues with the pricing. In saying all this, I found that, in the setting that I was considering while engaging with them, the level of engagement a student is able to get out of it is important. A good digital text is one that draws students in and holds them there, they will not get distracted and will have the fullest experience with the text. The different types of texts that are available provide students with various opportunities to engage with ideas.
While reading the texts that I chose to evaluate for this task, I found that I much prefer a physical book to that of an e-book and reading on a Kindle. I prefer the feel of a book and the ability to see my progress right then and there rather than tapping or clicking out of the book on a Kindle to see the percentage I am at. Mark Kingwell did raise a good question “If reading is so great, fun or edifying, why does it need such an aggressive promotion?” (2013). You could say that I am old school in that thought and after talking to others about it, I do not seem to be the only one. The ability to see your collection and not having to worry about a battery running out is a nice detox from the digital world. Even though technological devices have become vital in the way students collect information, they influence the texts that they are engaging with and reading (Edwards, 2013, p. 138). That then brought the focus to applications and how familiar students are with them and the intuitive nature. Providing a text in an application setting is much more fitting for students and offers them a wider range of opportunities to interact with the text, in this case, poetry.
In saying that though, the mixing up of the way that we consume literature in settings that are not normally considered conventional, is quite refreshing. Playing through Detroit: Become Human was quite exciting for me as I was able to put on my teacher hat and assess the reliability of using it in the classroom. To many students, they would not think that video games like that would be considered a text but that ability to flip it on its head and change their perception of role-player games was quite an exciting concept to think about.
I have used and talked about video games in the past with my own students, it was mainly focussed on what draws them to certain games and the enjoyment that they get out of them. I would very much like to set up part of an English unit around Detroit: Become Human and teach it in the context of authorial intent. Students will have the ability to play through part of the game and note the choices that they make and what it leads to. Usually, you are given between two to four options so that opens up a wide range of possibilities for the students. They will then discuss the choices that they have made at certain points and why they did so, this will encompass character development and prior knowledge of character backstory as it is made available in the game. This will become the social element and mimic that of forums that are created around the game where other players discuss their own experiences and troubles that they are facing. The students will be able to see that even though they are playing the same game the choices that they make as an author can completely change the dynamic and outcome of the game.
Edwards, J. T. (2013). Reading beyond the boarders: Observations on digital e-book readers and adolescent reading practices. In J. Whittingham (Ed.), Technological tools for the literacy classroom. (135-158). Information Science Reference.
The e-book is something that has been around for a while and is not unfamiliar territory for people. The ability to store a multitude of books on a small and slim device such as a Kindle, iPad, or even a smart phone. The convenience of having books stored on a device means that there aren’t any heavy books to lug around and take up space in bags.
Reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz on a Kindle device was a new experience. The device was small and compact and was light enough that it did not feel weighty after an extended period of reading. The book itself is based on the true story of Lale Sokolov and the three years that he spent in Auschwitz-Birkenau and the meeting of his wife Gita Furman. It is an incredible insight into the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the prisoners of Auschwitz and the things that they had to do to survive. Although there is some creative license given and parts of the story are embellished for dramatic purposes, the fact that it is mostly true is quite incredible and would interest a lot of students. For some students, World War II and the events that occurred within is of great interest, and having an underlying love story would open that pool of interest wider.
This would fit well in the senior history curriculum as an extension to the World War II topic as well as the English curriculum as a form of historical writing and authorial intent around where and what to embellish when telling someone else’s story. At the higher year levels in high school, students are reading more and more texts and often find it difficult to carry them around as they may be cumbersome and heavy. By having a device that stores all of the text that they are reading, they will be more inclined to read and engaged with the text as it is easily accessible for them. With features such as in text highlighting, linking to dictionaries and the ability to make notes within the text, students are able to annotate better compared to a physical text where thy need to try and fit it in the margins. It has been found that digital reading devices, be that a Kindle or iPad, promote new literacy practices like better in text note taking and allows them to control how they actually engage with the text (Lamb, 2011, p. 13). That autonomy around what they can do with the text gives the students more agency with what they are reading. There is no chance that the notes that they make and the different tabs that they put on pages will fall out or be ruined like a physical text. However, the is the issue of the battery running out, the screen dying or being damaged either by water, being dropped, or another mishap.
The other downside to e-books is the issue of reading from a screen. It has been found that people read slower when using a screen and that it becomes a lot more tiring than reading from a book (Combes, 2016). Students often find it difficult to concentrate when reading a large amount of text on a device so there is a need to set up brakes so that they do not have a form of tunnel vision. This has the potential to affect their other studies. The format of the e-book can have limitations as well and students may be unfamiliar with the layout and also the device that is being used. Even though students are becoming increasingly familiar with the most common devices that are available, there is still developing research on how students engage with the content of e-books and the different devices that they can be viewed on (Roskas et al., 2016, p. 6).
The thought that the e-book can act as a straight swap for a physical text is not that simple, there is a need to teach students how to use the device first and the different features that will be relevant for the class that they are in. The overall benefit of having all the books in one place is appealing, however, the issues around the device itself and the options that the students have outweighed the benefits of e-books.
Combes, B. (2016). Digital Literacy: A new flavour of literacy or something different? Synergy, 14(1).
Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(3), 12-17.
Roskos, K., Burstein, K., Shang, Y., & Gray, E. (2014). Young children’s engagement with e-books at school: does device matter? Sage Open, 4(1), 1-9.
In schools where iPads are the main device that is used, there are a plethora of applications that can be used in an educational setting that relate to the different areas of study. Poetry is often a difficult topic to get students engaged in, so any opportunity that arises to make it as engaging as possible is a god send. iPad applications such as iF Poems allow students to engage more with the poems that they are studying or wanting to explore further.
iF Poems is an application that has a collection of poems that are built in and offer a small range of options that allow you to interact with them. For some of the poems, they can be read to you by well-known British actors such as Tom Hiddleston, Bill Nighy and Helena Bonham Carter, students will also have the opportunity to record themselves reading the different poems and send their favourite poems to other students in the class via email. Hey also have the option to learn more about the poet including where they were born and a short biography. The poems are broken up into categories relating to love and friendship, lessons for life, growing up and others, or into age groups. There is also a section that allows students to learn a little bit more about the various types of poems and provides examples of them. The application is directed at a younger student base, but that does not mean that it can not be used across year levels in both English and Literature classes.
With the study of different forms of poetry core at various levels of the English and Literature curriculum, it is important to allow student the opportunity to explore and engage with the texts that are different from what they are used to. Gone are the days where the teacher stands at the front of the classroom and reads a bit of prose or plays a video of it from YouTube, students should be engaging with it in ways that they are familiar with and that is most commonly done through applications on their phones or iPads. There is a need for teachers to transform the way that they use texts in the classroom, shifting from that of print-based practices to the digital practices that more closely reflect the authentic uses of literacy outside of the classroom (Mills & Levido, 2011, p. 81).
When it comes to the discussion of the use of applications and other software in the classroom, there is a need to consider the issues of availability, cost, and accessibility (Moller, 2015, p. 54). There are some applications out there that are free on initial download but then there are additional charges within the application to unlock features or read different texts. With iF Poems, the application is free and the poems are out of the copyright bounds, so they are accessible as soon as it has been downloaded onto the device. This makes poetry more accessible to students as there is no need to worry about paying for extra items and features just so that they can use the application.
The extra level of consideration is that the application allows for better individualisation for students that need extra assistance. There has been a level of difficulty in the past for improving the literacy outcomes for all students when there are disparities in skill and knowledge and reading and learning difficulties (Biancarosa & Griffiths, 2012, p. 146). This application allows students to make the text larger so that they are able to read it better and the option to hear some of the poems being read assists students with reading difficulties, it also helps other students with the pronunciation of words as the poems use words and phrases that are not commonly used today. They can then record themselves reading the poem as a form of practice for creating their own.
By having an application in the classroom that allows the students to interact with a poem, other than at face value, is an invaluable tool. However, the basic level of information on the poets and the types of poems means that the students will have to branch out of the application and do their own research. The students will get to experience the poems in a way that they may not have before.
Biancarosa, G., & Griffiths, G. G. (2012). Technology tools to support reading in the digital age. The Future of Children, 22(2), 139-160.
Mills, K. A., (2011). iPed. Reading Teaching, 65(1), 80-91.
Moller, K. J. (2015). Apps in literature-based classroom instruction: Integrating reading and response through traditional and digital media. Journal of Children’s Literature, 41(1), 54-60.
Story based video games, such as Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, L. A. Noir, and Detroit: Become Human, which will be the focus of this evaluation, rely on the player to pick options to situations and complete tasks. The choices that are made affect the final result of the game meaning that different players will have different outcomes, some may progress further into the story whereas others may have exhausted all of their options early on.
Detroit: Become Human is a third person view game where there are multiple playable characters that the player can control and progress their story. It is based around three characters who, at the beginning have different storylines but eventually converge depending on the choices that are made by the player. The game is rooted in a strong moral concept of right and wrong. The choices that the player makes with any of the three characters has a great impact on the entirety of the universe that they are playing in.
Playing through the game, there is a heavy investment in the story of all of the characters and attachments build. The graphics are of a high quality so the player is able to see small details that would otherwise be missed. The ability to see facial expressions also adds to the attachment that the player builds with the characters. It is an immersive environment, meaning that hours can go by without the player noticing. As the story evolves, more difficult decisions have to be made, playing into the moral code that is in place, some of which result in the characters dying.
This game fits well within the senior level philosophy classes around the discussion of morals and the outcomes of decisions as well as in the English curriculum around authorial intent and the differing views around the same text. It is key to consider that when students lack the attention span, critical thinking skills, and the motivation that is important to read an entire text, they will struggle to pick up the deeper meaning and significance of them (Grey, 2012, p. 24). By having a video game that is as immersive and engaging as Detroit: Become Human as an alternate literature for students, they will feel that they are getting more out of their learning experience as they have a sense of control over what is happening in the story. Creating and developing a discourse among the students around authorship and authorial intent through the use of a video game helps them to broaden their understanding and assumptions about literature and its creation (Berger & McDougall, 2013, p. 142). Along with the playing of the video game, students can also watch videos of other people playing trough and have discussions based around that. This will allow for comparison between their own experience and that of others. The discourse element is quite important to consider as it will allow the students to link back to other texts that they are looking at and try and find parallels.
The video game is available on Play Station 4 and on Microsoft computers through a program called Steam. This video game is more suited to upper high school students due to the nature of some of the scenarios and the decisions that need to be made. There may be some limitations around cost and the accessibility for the students. Some parents may have objections around the themes in the video game, however, that is a common hurdle with texts in general studied in schools or used to supplement the course material.
By having a video game that can differ from one player’s experience to another, it allows the students to discuss their thoughts and the process of decision making, opening the lines of communication around the idea of authorial intent and the concept of right and wrong in a moral setting. It allows the students and the teachers the opportunity to explore concepts and ideas in a way that is familiar to students and to break out of the constraints of the traditional texts that are most commonly used.
Berger, R., & McDougall, J. (2013). Reading videogames as (authorless) literature. Literacy, 47(3), 142-149.
Gray, l. (2012). Added Interest, Added Value. In S. Emmons, E. Dail-Driver & J. Ford (Eds.), Fantasy media in the classroom: Essays on teaching with film, television, literature, graphic novels and video games (pp. 24-32). McFarland & Company.
The use of digital literacies is becoming evermore prevalent in today’s classroom. Schools are opting for digital subscriptions to textbooks and flipping the library into both a physical space and a digital space. In my own experience with reading and acquiring information, I find that I switch between the digital and the physical. I enjoy the feel of books and the sensation of turning the pages, however there are some stories and information that I am unable to find in a physical form and others that have been transformed for the digital world.
I am aware of all the options that are available to students from my experience from teaching at a school with a cohort of students that were digitally disadvantaged. The students may have had phones, but there was limited data or the laptops they did have were very outdated and the school internet connection was unreliable. However, with that divide aside, the students enjoyed stories that branched out from the norm, and that excited me as well. When teaching the year tens about literature types, I introduced them to the world of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a retelling of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice in vlog format that tied into twitter accounts and secondary YouTube channels that further progressed the story and subsequently a physical book that filled in the gaps even more. The realisation that such a well know story could be retold in such a way was mind-blowing to them. This form of transmedia storytelling allowed them to explore the story at a pace that was comfortable to them and in a format that was awfully familiar (Lam, 2011, p. 15).
For me, finding stories written by people like me have re-emerged on my radar along with physical books. In this time of lockdown, I felt that old habits are coming back in a good and refined way. Alternate universe stories based on movies or television shows I watch are creeping back in from sites like Archive of Our Own (Ao3). With people having a lot of freedom and time now on their hands, they are able to be creative and produce literature on sites like Ao3 for other people to read. There is no heavy promotion of the stories like we see with books published by well-know authors (Kingwell, 2014), readers find them in a natural and organic way and can experience the story developing as the author is writing it. This process of reading is much more interactive as the readers can comment on chapters and speculate what is going to happen next like you would with an episode of a television show on a forum. With this realisation that ebooks and other forms of digital media can do things that physical books cannot, there is an inherent value that lays within them and they are changing the way that we think about and look at books as a whole (Sadokireski, 2013.).
The way that we are digesting literature is ever-evolving and it is evident in how we access it and how it can be presented to students. It is important to consider the skill level of your audience and the devices that are available to them when selecting resources to use in the classroom.
As I have progressed through this subject, I have been enlightened to the concept of digital citizenship in the realm of education. I was quite oblivious to just how important it was even though I work in a school that is predominantly online based and hardly any face to face sessions. In that environment, it was something that was not really thought about and, for me, did not hold a high place in the teaching practice. It is as if my eyes have been opened and I am looking at my role at the school in a more critical light. Even though digital citizenship is an umbrella term that covers a wide range of issues, the guidelines that it provides for responsible, approachable behaviour when using technology. In my classes I do set up lesson etiquette for the online lessons, however, it stopped there. By having this space to discover and evolve my understanding of how to better engage students in a digital space.
As a teacher librarian, there is a need to make students aware of the footprint that they make in a digital environment. They think that it might not be that significant, but we need to inform them that is has major effects later on in life. As the teaching at my school mainly takes place via video conferencing, there is a need for the students to know that how they act in those lessons can affect the rest of the class and there is no way to see if it is in a negative or a positive way. With the first assessment task involving group work, it gave me an idea of what it is like for my students. There is a need for the environment to feel safe and supportive and for there to be effective communication amongst all members.
The library for many students is seen as a safe space but it is much more than that, it is a place where they can access the world and the teacher librarian is the facilitator of that. As students are global learners, there is a need for them to be fully aware of their role as a global citizen. Through the creation and facilitation of a Personal Learning Network, as set up by the teacher librarian, the students will be able to work in a collaborative nature with other students that are not only in their suburb but in a different state or country. One of the many benefits of the school that I work at is that the students are already in that mindset and are sometimes in awe of the places that the other students have come from or where they currently are.
Even though there isn’t a defined leader of eLearning, as the whole school is based on eLearning, all the staff members are aware of the needs of the students in terms of their learning and how to adjust things to best suit their needs. As opposed to one leader, the whole teaching staff takes on that role and help out each other when we need it.
This unit has made me aware of what I need to do in my own practice to help my students become better digital citizens and how that can translate from the school setting into the rest of their lives and what sort of impact that will have in the future.
When it comes to collaborative tasks, it is important to remember that everyone is in it together and there needs to be equal amounts of input into the task. In saying that, it is also a great way to distribute the responsibilities of a task, all the members of the group know what they are doing and what role they play in relation to the task. This can all be turned on its head when it is conducted in an online setting.
As we found out, our team was comprised of members from different parts of the country, so there lay an issue in itself. The main solution that we found was through the creation of a Facebook group where we could easily discuss ideas and share the artifacts that we had created. We were all active in the discussion process and provided input where needed. There was not much that we, as a group, disagreed on as we were mostly on the same page. We did have periodical online meetings through the Zoom video conferencing program so that we were able to discuss the main ideas in real time and not solely rely on the Facebook group. It was also a great way to see all the members of the group and not feel isolated from each other. By sharing and clarifying our ideas amongst ourselves, elements of our critical thinking had been enhanced (The University of Melbourne, n.d). I found that working in an environment like this was much more calming and did not hold the stressors that other group tasks have had in the past.
In many cases, working in a group online can feel like you are still isolated from people and feel like you are doing the work on your own. One way that can be a solution to this is to use a shared Google doc where everyone can contribute and make comments. By dividing up the different parts of the task, the participants will know exactly what they need to do (UNSW Sydney, 2015). The most obvious normality to working online is the use of online video conferencing programs like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and WebEx. By using these programs, the group becomes more connected and there is no miscommunication with ideas and improvements. Many schools today are using video conferencing programs to maintain the connection between the students and the teachers. If that option were not there, students would withdraw from their education and jeopardise their learning.
By having multiple options for collaboration and communication, the group was able to work in a manner that is similar to an in-person group task. In some cases, I forgot that we were in different parts of the country as there was always that opportunity to talk with the group and get feedback on my ideas. In a way, online collaboration is much more effective than in-person group tasks, as there is always that reminder popping up on your device.