Guest Colloquium – Dr Ross Todd

Concerns around the future of education: How do we move forward? How do we cater for students who are born into a cyborg nation?

  • Break down of boundaries between human and machine
  • Technology is playing a critical role in challenging the ideas and notions that shape our very beings
  • How do we engage with technology with a focus on the ‘human’ being and foster the wellbeing of human kind.

Superconnected (2016)

  • How do we move to the future with the problematic break down about how we think about our life?
  • “Digital life is simply real life”
  • We talk about digital natives and digital citizens as though they are seperate – what are the problems around the use of those terms?

Human Agency is the key to digital futures

How do we use technology to disrupt our thinking?

Personal Agency – the human side of education

  • Role of encouraging and nurturing


Guest Colloquium – Rocket Shoes

Last week we had the privilege of having a guess colloquium with the owners of Rocket Shoes. The colloquium focused on a range of topics from owner IP to how block chain with change the way we view student work and their rights over the work. Some of my takeaways from the colloquium are as follows:

Platform Agnostic & Cloud Agnostic – Kieran Nolan discussed how within his school they are both platform and cloud agnostic meaning students can chose the best device and platform for the task they are completing. It did raise questions for me how teachers would deal with finding great applications across multiple platforms and teaching across a range of platforms.

Block Chain Agnostic – this discussion was my first interaction with block chain and developing my knowledge. The picture below was used to highlight the difference between what we currently use as part of web 2.0 and what the switch would be to web 3.0 and block chain technology.

Future Focused – A large part of the presentation was discussing Kieran’s work in his current setting. The picture below is a screen shot from the presentation discussing how work will look in 2028. It is constantly refreshing to consider that people within the education sector are thinking forward to what the future should and can look like.


ETL523 – Reflection

Before this subject if you asked my about the term digital learning environment I probably would have provided an answer using my prior knowledge of the words. My definition would have stemmed from the belief that a digital learning environment is a space where students can learn online, perhaps merely referring to ‘Google Classroom’ or the like. Perhaps if you had asked me about the term digital citizenship I would have thought of students being aware of what they did online. I might have also made mention to social media and young people and how that impacts on our role of influence as teachers.

Early in the semester I posted the below comment into the discussion forum.

A Ryall Discussion Forum CSU

It highlights a discussion with peers around digital citizenship and some early thinking. Within the modules of the subject digital citizenship was defined as “The quality of habits, actions, and consumption patterns that impact the ecology of digital content and communities” (Heick, 2018). This definition, although at the beginning of the modules, highlighted the vastness of digital citizenship especially in outlining the consumption patterns of our students. When we think about how many hours young people may spend on digital devices consumption patterns become of extreme importance. How can we provide tools and support to assist students on this journey? From this point, my understanding began to shift to a much wider, broader definition of digital citizenship which encompassed more areas of the digital world.

Throughout this unit I have had the opportunity to work with a range of peers in group work assignments but also through the discussion forum. This networking has extended my knowledge of digital learning environments as I have heard other professionals ideas and thoughts. Below is an excerpt from a conversation during the group assessment. Through the sharing of knowledge and resources with peers we came to know the topic in more depth. Additionally, the creation of our digital citizenship module in particular my section on ethical creation brought about a further wondering around copyright for students. This wondering led me to the DQ Institute which provided resources.

Screenshot – Sharing Resources Microsoft Teams Group Chat

In my role as classroom teacher I continue to learn from those around me. I aim to foster an understanding of loving to learn within my students and working through this course enabled me to model this. Furthermore, the role of the digital learning environment and the environmental scan assessment allowed me to critically reflect on my current professional context. Through this critically reflection I was able to discuss things that are currently working well but also aspects which could be improved into the future.

As I reflect on my final assessment I am reminded of the final reflection task within the modules which discusses if you could highlight five aspects of policy to your current setting what would you highlight? My breadth of knowledge around this, particularly acceptable use policy, has improved immensely. I can now discuss how various schools around the world are largely in front of the school I did my environmental scan on and discuss steps School A could possibly take to implement effective policy. This discussion, however, leads to a wider reflection on school policy in general in relation to digital learning environments, in particular, are we doing enough?

Digital Citizenship is not a buzzword. It is not something that we can teach our students in the early years and set and forget for years to come. It is not even something that can be taught at the beginning of high school and be expected to last them until year 8. Digital Citizenship is an ongoing discussion about how we can best support our young people to become capable digital citizens. It encompasses so many varied avenues including their digital footprint, ethical consumption and creation and social media. As educators we have a duty of care to our students to support them on their learning journey and to ensure we are best equipped to support them.


Crowley, L. (2019, April 9). Microsoft Teams [Conversation Threat]. Retrieved from 

Heick, T. (2018, December 17). The definition of digital citizenship [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Ryall, A. (2019, March 23). ETL523 Discussion Forum [Forum Post]. Retrieved from  


OLJ Task 14: Managing your Digital Identity

Based on your reading of the items from the above list, think about online identity in relation to both individuals and organisations:

  • What is important in terms of how we present and manage those identities online?
  • What can we share with the online world and what should we keep private?
  • Summarise important issues around online identity to your learning journal.

“Digital identities can be broadly grouped into professional, transactional and social identities. This research explored the transactional and social identities” (Australian Communications and Media Authority, 2017). These terms are important as to how we can define our digital identity.

Professional refers to a presence online that relates to your professional life for example my online twitter page is used purely for professional dialogue with colleagues. Cho, V., & Jimerson, J. B. (2016), asks the question what does it mean to act like an educational leader online? As interests grows around social media, many teachers are using Twitter as a form of free professional development. This can be seen in tags such as #aussieED and #pstchat. Cho, V., & Jimerson, J. B. (2016), discuss that using twitter educators generally have two audiences; administrators and educators or parents and school networks. This begs the question about educators posting on behalf of the school image. Recently teachers came under fire for dressing up as Mexicans and posting to social media. When managing social media and digital identities it is important to clarify what can be made public and what should be kept private.

Transactional, as defined by Australian Communications and Media Authority (2017) refers to a presence online through aspects of shopping. This includes using your name to purchase products and building an image for your buying practices with businesses. The article Take Control of Your Data demonstrates data being collected through both locational means and browser tracking. Recently Woolworths had to Tighten Security after a privacy breach.

Social identities refers toe that which can be found through social media platforms not linked to professional practice (Australian Communications and Media Authority, 2017). When The Thesis Whisperer went to search his identify online and discovered his digital identify looked different to different people it raised questions. The article demonstrates how Google manipulates search engines bases on previous searches and most hit websites. While private and public is always discussed it is important to note that even your private information is not private. Google Social Media Shut Down after Privacy Breech highlights risks associated with trusting your data with multinational companies.


Australian Communications and Media Authority. (2017). Who are you online? Retrieved from

Cho, V., & Jimerson, J. B. (2016). Managing digital identity on Twitter: The case of school administrators. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 45(5), 884-900. doi: 10.1177/1741143216659295

Me and my shadow, (n.d.). Take control of your data. Retrieved from

Sveen, B. (2018). Google+ social media service to shut down after private data of at least 500,000 users exposed. ABC News. Retrieved from

The Thesis Whisperer: Scholar, google thyself

INF530 Critical Reflection

As I sit and reflect on my thoughts on INF530 I began to revisit my notes I had taken early in the semester and in particular my first blog post. The exert below was taken from my original thoughts where I quoted Mark Prensky (Prensky, 2001) and his thoughts on digital natives.

It seems appropriate that I ended up using this quote and theme in my end digital essay as I came to wrap my head around some of the concepts within the course. Prensky’s views on digital natives in comparison to digital immigrants was a turning point in my beginning of my knowledge around our students and how they learn (Prensky, 2001). Through further reading I began to umpack my students and how they learnt and made the link with later modules around creativity and game based learning in an article entitled ‘Do They Really Think Differently? (Prensky & Berry, 2001). At points this semester I felt perplexed with the overwhelming nature of starting a new degree and taking all the information in while having no face to face conversations in the form of a tutorial. However, with time, I began to realise the discussions taking place in the form as blog posts, comments, tweets and discussion forums was just as rich.

Module two discussed knowledge flow and the information environment and was the content very new to me. As I discussed in my blog the taxonomies of learners took my back to my undergraduate degree in education. The comments on my blog allowed me to take my learning further as Julie suggested I take a look at Andrew Church’s Blooms Digital Taxonomy. The image below from Andrew Church (Church, n.d.) discussed the communication skills behind the taxonomy which could be used within my current context. I found connections when Church mentioned collaborating as a higher order communication skill and I made links as I completed my digital essay on capabilities and soft skills in the work environment. The content was starting to form a series of links in my mind.

Andrew Church – Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

Module five discussed creativity and I once again made connections with the possibilities of using capabilities rather than outcomes which came through my current context at St Luke’s Catholic School Marsden Park and I placed the below thread on the discussion forum.

I brought my prior knowledge of creativity to what I had learnt through the module. As you can see from the topic discussions below the ability to discuss with others throughout the forum proved beneficial.

The way Samuel weaved his discussion, see screenshot above from the discussion forum, into creativity based on recent work from Jane Hunter (2018), allowed the conversation to have a new lens for myself. One in which I began to question how the inquiry cycle of learning could fit into allowing students to be creative. I enjoyed learning about creativity and education and found links with my other course subject for this semester INF541.

“Learning in a digital age requires practitioners who understand education imperatives in local and global settings, and who can demonstrate an agile response to novel technologies that may catalyse learning (Lindsey, 2018). The final module in the course INF530 summarised all my knowledge that I had learnt throughout the modules and allowed me to reflect.

The video above that highlighted the ‘Future of Learning’ by Mark Treadwell, summarised my thinking as I reflected on growth my throughout the course and my digital essay. Students live in a changing world and our school system needs to begin to reflect that. Students need to be able to collaborate, manage themselves, identify problems and have the ability to think and question to succeed in this world (Treadwell, 2017). These capabilities are beginning to be reflected in some aspects of education.

INF530 allowed for a foundational understanding of the connected world personally developing my understanding around communication, creativity and future learning tools.

Reference List:

Church, A. (n.d.). Bloom’s Digital Technology. Retrieved from

Hunter, J. (2018). Technology integration and high possibility classrooms: building from TPACK. New York Routledge.

Lindsey, J. (2018) Concepts and Practices for a digital Age. In Reimagining education in the digital age. [INF530 Modules: Topic 5] Retrieved from Charles Sturt University website:

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

Prensky, M., & Berry, B. D. (2001). Do they really think differently. On the horizon, 9(6), 1-9.

Treadwell, M. (2017) The Future of Learning. Retrieved from

INF541 – Reflection

My learning curve throughout INF541 has been a steep one. My blog post (Ryall, 2018) highlights my lack of knowledge early in this subject and I reflected at each part along the process about my growth in knowledge. When I began the Game Based Learning (GBL) course the term was something that I had heard irregularly and in my mind mainly revolved around what I had seen of glimpses of Minecraft Education. As I started to learn more about games throughout the modules and analysed a game based on mechanics from Turkay, I began to see connections between learning outcomes and GBL (Turkay, Hoffman, Kinzer, Chantes, & Vicari, 2014).  This is highlighted in my final assessment as I sought to link the New South Wales syllabus for Stage One with a game based environment.

In my first reflection after reading module one I discussed how the use of board games and card games was a prominent part of my childhood while reflecting on Keen 4 as an early memory of using computer games. If you think to todays children the world is vastly different and students now have access to a whole host of games including some specifically designed for learning such as Minecraft for Education. This was highlighted in my reflection on my game design when I quoted Prensky who refers to today’s students as digital natives (Prensky, 2001). My aim throughout the course was always to learn more about how we can successfully cater for “Digital Natives (Prensky, 2001).

Discussion Board CSU 11 March 2018

 As my knowledge through the course grew and I became involved discussions with peers and became more aware of other gaming experiences.

Discussion Board CSU 13 March 2018

I found I connected with the literacy part of the course during module two as I began to make links with my school context. I thought deeply at narrative functions in games and the ability for narrative to support learning especially in literacy. Connolly, Stansfield and Boyle (Connolly, 2009) explained the overlap between ‘gaming literacy’ and ‘textual literacy’ and videos earlier in the module discussed how hard it is to master techniques of true emotional storytelling through narrative functions. Why can’t students, who sometimes have a simpler viewpoint than adults, attempt to use their knowledge of both games and writing to combine the two? I think as children get older they may have more of an understanding of both the gaming and literary world and find it easier to merge the two. As I had little knowledge on how I would go about creating a game, due to my limited knowledge, I steered away from the chance to create a storytelling game for my final project.

As I have continued along the journey my strong belief is that the vast experiences students come with to school should be harnessed. I still feel this resembles my belief about game based learning. That, if given the opportunity, students would really enjoy taking on multiple identifies while practicing what they have learnt within a context.

I reflect back on my knowledge and I know it has grown. I now quote Whitton when I refer to gaming elements and have a rich understanding of how game design stimulates player involvement (Whitton, 2009). I have enjoyed delving into the depths of GBL and the rich conversation which has been stimulated through discussions with my peers.



Connolly, T. (2009). Games-Based Learning Advancements for Multi-Sensory Human Computer Interfaces: Techniques and Effective Practices: Techniques and Effective Practices: IGI Global.

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

Turkay, S., Hoffman, D., Kinzer, C. K., Chantes, P., & Vicari, C. (2014). Toward Understanding the Potential of Games for Learning: Learning Theory, Game Design Characteristics, and Situating Video Games in Classrooms. Computers in the Schools, 31, 2-2), p.2-22. doi:10.1080/07380569.2014.890879

Whitton, N. (2009). Learning with Digital Games : A Practical Guide to Engaging Students in Higher Education. London, UNITED KINGDOM: Taylor & Francis Group.


Assignment 1: Online Reflective Journal

We know games can be highly motivating,” she says. “We know the ways they are organised can lead to deeper factual and conceptual understanding, but we need to find ways to use them that are consistent with the ways teachers teach.” (Jennings, 2014)

You can walk into a classroom on any given day at my current school and see 4 teachers teaching the same content in totally different ways. Is anyone of them better? Are any students going to have a grasp of the concepts quicker? The hope would always be no – that no matter the way you teach the students walk away with an understanding of the content. But what that could be challenged? What if games could assist students to understand the content more deeply by applying their knowledge to game play and therefore real life situations. All these questions have come to in #INF541

My own experience with game based learning has been limited up until this point. I have seen some teachers integrate glimpses of games such as literacy word games in the early years to engage students, but in terms of what Jennings mentions in her article in relation to Minecraft my understanding is far short. Throughout module one I found perhaps the most interesting perspective very early on. The video was discussing games within the classroom in the clip ‘Playing Games In The Classroom and discussed that perhaps the most motivating factor a child could have is putting a game on a top shelf and saying you aren’t quiet old enough to play this yet (Big think, 2011). From the point within the module I felt compelled to give my students that experience and learn more about not only how games can be used within the education world but more importantly how they can be used in my classroom in my context.

My first interaction with games came at an early age in the form of Keen 4.

When I searched for information on Keen 4 little came up however I did find a website where you could play the game. Unfortunately, as I own a mac, many of the keys to make Keen move now change different settings on my laptop. My reminiscing was cut incredibly short.  What I did discover was that the game had a strong story telling element – one which I did not first recall in my memories of the game. As I skipped through the story telling element I reflected on what I have already read of module two.  As Tikka discusses traditional story telling in games is linked inherently with the game (Tikka, Kankaanranta, Nousiainen, & Hankala, 2009). As Keen gets into his spacecraft the storyline supports that. Suddenly I had a greater understanding of how hard it is to support the story line through games as I skipped right on through.

I am a stage 1 teacher at a “next generation” school in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. The school itself is in its early days, only opening last year and is doing things differently. We have a focus on general capabilities and are trying to develop creative and critical thinking students.

Personally, I am aiming to gain a deeper understanding of games and how they can be used in the classroom. As someone who has never owned a game console I found downloading Ingress this week slightly overwhelming in just understanding basic game play strategies. I hope to enlighten myself and journey through my current sense of misunderstanding. The challenges I face are similar to my aims. I am learning something new everyday in this unit and that excites my but also challenges me. I bring no prior knowledge to this unit so I feel that could be a challenge. One that I feel I can overcome with lots of reading and discussion with peers.



Reference List

Jenkins, H. [Smithsonian American Art Museum]. (2012, March 9). The Art of Video    Games: Interview with Henry Jenkins’. Retrieved from


Jennings, J. (2014, November 25). Teacher’s Reevaluate the Value of Video Games. The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from


Tikka, S.-M., Kankaanranta, M., Nousiainen, T., & Hankala, M. (2009). Telling Stories with Digital Board Games.


Unknown. [Squakenet]. (2004, June 3). Commander Keen 4 GamePlay (PC Game, 1991). Retrieved from


Unknown. [Big Think]. (2011, July 5). Playing Games In The Classroom [Video File]. Retrieved from