When motivation matters – integrating digital literature into classroom practice.

geralt / Pixabay

 

My journey into literature started very traditionally.  Like all members of my generation (after boomer but before Z), I learned to read from first readers to chapter books, series fiction and comic books ( more Jughead than Nimona) and all of them in print.  Consequently as an adult, my preference for recreational reading is for print and I do use digital journal articles for educational purposes but that is a matter of expediency rather than inclination. As I have documented my reading journey in previous blog posts so I will not go into that again. 

(But you are more than welcome to read about my love of reading/books etc.  Try this one when I fell in love with reading, or this one about the importance of storytellng, or this one about childhood favourites)

My personal  preferences for text formats have leached into my professional practice.  As an early career teacher I always favoured print texts for my classrooms because that was the medium I was confident and comfortable using.  I was reluctant to explore and use digital literature because I wanted to conserve my faculties for behaviour management and pedagogical practices.  I did not want to add in technology and digital literature to my already overloaded self.  

Fast forward two years and my foray into the role of a teacher librarian has forced me to extend my practice into the digital realm.  I have learned how to teach information literacy by navigating my way through ebooks, audiobooks and interactive books online.  I have downloaded and experimented with book apps, created bento boxes and book trailers.  Through this journey of discovery using digital literature and creating digital text, I have come to the conclusion that there are three main concerns when advocating for the inclusion of digital literature in the classroom.  These concerns are, students, teachers and the technology itself. 

The most commonly cited impediment for the implementation of digital literature into classrooms are the students themselves.  I have previously detailed the multitudinal issues relating to reading and comprehension of digital texts in another blog (see here), so I will just give a synopsis now. Besides the usual issues of forgotten, uncharged and missing laptops, many students struggle with reading digital literature because they struggle with visual ergonomics in digital texts.  Their inability to locate text leads to reduced comprehension and negative mental representation of the text (Mangen et al., 2013, p.66).  This lack of comprehension, combined with poor digital literacy (see this post!) and the fact that many students are easily distracted by games and social media can negatively impact the integration of digital literature in classroom practice. 

Teachers themselves are another liability when it comes to the implementation of digital literature in the classroom. Even though AITSL (2017) is very clear in the Teacher Standards that ICT needs to be included in teaching strategies (Std 2.6), and within resources selection (Std. 3.4), there is still a strong reluctance among many teachers to use digital literature meaningfully in their classroom practice.  This disinclination to use digital literature could be due to a myriad of reasons as Hyndman (2018) explains in this article.  One very pertinent reason is that many teachers feel pressured to suddenly become digital experts as they often assume they need to be the expert so as to instruct and assist students in their learning (Hyndman, 2018).  Hyndman (2018) goes on further to say that these feelings of anxiety can exacerbate in schools with  BYOD programs as the large variability in student device capability can cause increased technology anxiety.  But there is no expectation that teachers be experts in understanding the complexities of individual devices nor in how the digital literature was created, only that they use them in their teaching practice (AITSL, 2017; ACARA, 2014). 

geralt / Pixabay

 

The last crucial variable is the literature itself.  Digital literature comes in many formats and ranges from scanned books on a website, ebooks, enhanced ebooks, linear narratives, hypertext nonlinear narratives and mobile applications for tablets and smartphones.  Each of these literature formats may use different technology, require competency in different literacies and consequently need specific pedagogies for instruction.  The combination of these new formats and technologies can be overwhelming for many teachers.  Unfortunately, professional development for teachers regarding ICT and digital literature is often ad hoc and lack specific focus, which can inhibit the integration of these technologies into classrooms (Howard & Thompson, 2016). 

When you view these issues, it seems evident that the best way to improve the breadth and variety of digital literature in classrooms, is to explicitly motivate, introduce, and teach educators about the various formats and their applicability to classroom practice (Korthagen, 2017; Hyndman, 2018).  As teachers we have little control over student’s device selection and swiss cheese memories.  But we can have control over our own learning and behaviour.

There are a myriad of learning courses available for teacher education, and teachers are encouraged to extend their professional development.  This explicit instruction targeting ICT and digital literacies would be assumed to automatically lead to a cognitive change in teachers, which in turn would correlate to improved integration of digital literature in classroom practice.  (Korthagen, 2017, p.390).  But this assumption of correlation following a cognitive change is a fallacy as behavioural change requires more than just improved cognition, it requires motivation and affect too (Korthagen, 2017, p. 389-390)!   

Therefore it seems foolhardy of ATSIL (2017) and ACARA (2014) to mandate the integration of technologies and multimodal literature into classroom practice without accounting for the requirements of behavioural change (Korthagen, 2017, p. 389-390).  Simply dictating teachers to increase digital literature into classroom practice will not succeed in altering their behaviour, as this level of change requires cognition, affect AND motivation (Korthagen, 2017, p.390).  Affect not only has an impact on teacher behaviour but also on student motivation.  Teachers who are frustrated and disinclined with using digital literature are not going to translate the value of that format to their students.  Whereas teachers who gain pleasure from using ICT are more enthusiastic about it, and this has a positive effect on their motivation too.  Intrinsic motivation in teaching comes from teachers having a sense of autonomy, competence and relatedness in their profession (Korthagen, 2017, p.391).   A teacher that has learned about digital literature, through formal professional developments or informal social learning is more likely to implement those new practices if they are enthused about it and that they can apply this knowledge in a manner of their choice.  

So it appears the best way for a teacher librarian to introduce and promote digital literature in schools is to:

  1. Run training sessions for teaching staff and support staff about various digital literature formats and how they meet specific learning outcomes.
  2. Share your ideas, enthusiasm and motivation about digital literature, model, talk, blog and boast about how it works for your classroom, and most of all, be positive and laugh about it –  After all, happiness and a smile are way more infectious than COVID-19.

Pexels / Pixabay

 

 

REFERENCES

ACARA. (2014j). Information and communication technology capability learning continuum. F-10 – General Capabilities Curriculum. Educational Services Australia. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/media/1074/general-capabilities-information-and-communication-ict-capability-learning-continuum.pdf

AITSL. (2017). Standards for Teachers. Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. Retrieved from https://www.aitsl.edu.au/teach/standards

Howard, S., & Thompson, K. (2016). Seeing the system: Dynamics and complexity of technology integration in secondary schools. Educational Information Technology, 21, p.1877-1894. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s10639-015-9424-2.pdf

Hyndman, B. (2018). Ten reasons teachers can struggle to use technology in the classroom. The Conversation [Blog]. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/ten-reasons-teachers-can-struggle-to-use-technology-in-the-classroom-101114

Korthagen, F. (2017). Inconvenient truths about teacher learning: towards professional development 3.0. Teachers and Teaching, 23(4), p.387-405. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/13540602.2016.1211523?needAccess=true

Mangen, A., Walgermo, B. R. & Bronnick, K.A. (2013). Reading linear texts on paper versus computer screen: Effects on reading comprehension. International Journal of Educational Research, 58, 61-68.doi:10.1016/j.ijer.2012.12.002 

Mantei, J., Kipscombe, K., & Kervin, L. (2018). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

The Classroom Divide – What does it look like and what can we do about it?

 

Pexels / Pixabay – Classroom divide – How is your classroom divided?

 

For a period of time, society was of the opinion that people who grew up with technology would naturally be comfortable and confident using it as it was their native ‘language’.   These technically savvy individuals would require minimal instruction on digital literacy because as a cohort, they would approach digital technologies with intuitiveness and instinct.  

 

But that assumption was WRONG!  

 

Not just kinda wrong ..

BUT

EPICALLY WRONG!

Think

BIGGER THAN

CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

 

KIND OF WRONG.

 

But I digress… 

The myth of the digital native and digital immigrant has been thoroughly debunked (Kirschner & De Bruyckere, 2017).  They myth assumed that technology competence was inherent because of life long exposure to digital technologies (Frawley, 2020).  This bias is  based upon the common image of students permanently attached to their devices for social and personal practices, and does not translate to ICT proficiency in an educational setting (Brown & Czerniewicz, 2011).  

 

Day (2012) suggests that the theorised cause of the previous digital divide was between those with computer access and those without.  But most teachers would disagree.  Many students have access to smartphones and tablets for personal use and they are still flummoxed at using technology in their schooling.  It appears there is a clear lack of translation from social use of devices and technology to educational practices.  This is observable in the way students are familiar with keyboards for gaming purposes, but very few are highly accomplished at touch typing (onlinetyping.org, 2020).  It amazes me how some students can deftly play online games and switch their screens in milliseconds to avoid detection, but are unable to create and save a document to find at a later date.  Others can create a TikTok video, but do not understand the mechanics of boolean operators to search databases.  I have students that can surf the web for hours but are unable to read an article online in depth and the list just goes on….  All these examples clearly show that any correlations of age should not be translated to an assumption of digital literacy.   Digital literacy, as I have expounded on before, are the psychomotor, cognitive and affective skills required to use digital technologies successfully (McMahon, 2014, p.525).  Students and their parents who are technology savvy are more adept at navigating the digital world (Day, 2012). 

 

How the divide manifests: 

Educational professionals around the world have realised the impact the digital divide has had on learning outcomes (Steele, 2018).  In Australia, the divide was previously acknowledged in educational circles but has been brought to the forefront with the recent Coronavirus pandemic and corresponding school closures.  The nation wide school closures identified numerous students and their families who lacked access to personal devices and high speed internet at home (Coughlan, 2020).  Some students and families did attempt to stream online learning through mobile phone data but this method proved to be unrealistic and very costly (Coughlan, 2020).   Whilst most Educational Directorates across Australia provided their disadvantaged students with laptops and internet dongles, the process was often time consuming and bogged by red tape (Duffy, 2020).  

Students with a digital disadvantage often have a very different schooling experience than students who could be considered digitally elite.  The digitally elite are able to study from the comfort of their couch or their bedroom, in pleasant and safe surroundings (Steele, 2018).  The level of work produced by these students is higher and of better quality as they are not worrying about library opening hours, or stressed or anxious about getting home late.  Whereas students who are disadvantaged may hand in poorly conducted assignments because they were unable to research under optimal conditions (Steele, 2018).  Many teenagers are too embarrassed to be seen doing school work in the library when their friends are playing games, and some students who lack NBN, broadband internet and a desktop or laptop at home, persist in doing their assignments on their mobile phones, which leads to increased fatigue and eye strain. Many disadvantaged students would rather cite lack of interest in learning, or pretend to be apathetic than admit they do not have appropriate facilities at home and just stop trying to learn.  When you consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it is clearly obvious that a student’s self actualisation is unlikely to occur if their personal safety and security is at risk (Hopper, 2020).   

Chiquo (2019) CC-BY-SA 4.0

 

Some critics would argue that personal devices such as smartphones are ubiquitous and allow anyone with a phone internet access.  Sung (2016) points out that whilst mobile phones do offer internet access, it is not conducive for conducting  research or in depth analysis of documents and as they tend to promote superficial features such as emails, social media and multimedia  (Sung, 2016).  

LoboStudioHamburg / Pixabay – Smartphones – Mostly social?

 

How to reduce the divide:  School based programs.

Education Magazine (2020) points out that the onus to reduce the divide are within the realm of federal and state government departments.  Currently, the most common method government bodies chose to address the digital gap is to supply students with a personal device such as a laptop or tablet (Jervis-Bardy, 2020).  But Steele (2018), Day (2012), and Boss (2016) all agree that bridging the divide goes beyond just supplying students with devices as simply handing each student a device does not build critical thinking and digital citizenship.  But the explicit teaching of digital literacy across all learning areas, would not only have a greater impact on bridging the gap, it would also empower students to gain further digital knowledge and understanding (Steele, 2018; Lori, 2012).  

Whilst teaching students digital literacy is an essential step, it is important to also involve their parents opportunities that build ICT competence and digital literacy (Wolohan, 2016; Hiefield, 2018).  Wolohan (2016) suggests that when schools and communities offer digital information sessions, it affords opportunities for parents who may also have low digital literacy a chance to broaden their knowledge and learning (Boss, 2016).  This then means that parents are able to assist their children with their learning at home, which improves technology integration, learning outcomes and bridges positive connections between school and home (Hiefield, 2018).  These sessions could also be used to inform families of any extra facilities and services that the school offers, such as extended library hours, homework help, as well as other local facilities such as public library and other community services (Wolohan, 2016). 

School libraries and teacher librarians are already involved with digital literacy pedagogical practices in numerous ways – as I have mentioned in this blog .  Another engaging and innovative way to boost digital literacy are digital or coding clubs.  Busteed & Sorenson (2015) suggest that lunchtime run digital clubs and programs are a fun and engaging way of teaching digital literacies and competencies at school. These clubs allow students to explore different computer programs and devices independently or in collaborative learning groups.  Lunch time clubs also open the door for many students, including digitally disadvantaged students,  a chance to explore emerging technologies that they may not normally get access to (Busteed & Sorenson, 2015).  As these clubs are predominantly social in nature, they do not have to conform to curriculum requirements, and this means students are able to explore their own interests instead of canon. Further school based options include ensuring a bank of spare devices for students who do not have access to their own, advocating for an extension of library opening hours outside school hours to allow students time to study, as well as explicitly teaching digital literacy skills as part of teaching and learning (Education Magazine, 2020). 

How to reduce the divide:  Classroom based learning.  

Teachers and educators should be encouraged to adapt their practices to reduce or minimise any unnecessary  ‘digital’ stress on their students.  Stress factors include take home assignments and feelings of overwhelm due to poor digital literacy skills.   Wolohan (2016) advises teachers to get to know their cohort and understand that whilst students may appear to be confident using their devices, it is not advisable to send large assignments home unless digital literacy and ICT facilities at home are assured.  Non submission of tasks could be due to lack of internet or even access to assistance from parents or caregivers, who may have low digital literacy skills and unable to assist their children with tasks (Wolohan, 2016). 

The other consideration classroom teachers and teacher librarians need to make is to acknowledge that each student’s ICT ability will vary and that our learning activities need to match their competencies.  This means that digital literacy needs to be differentiated the same manner as the rest of the curriculum (Wolohan, 2016).   One method is to identify students’ zone of proximal development, and create learning activities that are within that zone for optimal learning (Audley, 2018).  This method is far more efficient and beneficial than assuming capability or teaching at a fixed point.   

CONCLUSION

Steele (2018) feels like the greatest social ramification of the digital divide is that disadvantaged students will not get the same opportunities to be creative and inventive with digital technologies.  This means that the future scope of these students would be limited and possibly restricted in this new information paradigm to long term prospects of minimum wage.  Whereas students on the better half of the divide have unlimited access to information in the safety and comfort of their own home, the financial stability to access emerging technologies, increased opportunities to develop interest and skills in engaging and exploring these technologies.  Their long term prospects are far removed from their disadvantaged peers who often have to travel extensively to have the same access to technology and the internet.  This in itself is very limiting for many students and reduces their future educational and economic prospects.   As teachers and educators, we need to remember that schools are supposed to be the great equaliser, and to provide equal and equitable access to knowledge and learning.  Though in reality, we all know life and education is definitely not equal.  Government policies can often get influenced by political affiliations and can take time to come into effect.  But we as teachers have influence in our classrooms, and our actions and practice in the classroom can make a difference to improve the digital literacy of our students, improve student learning and reduce the width and depth of the digital divide. 

REFERENCES:

Audley, S. (2018). Partners as scaffolds. Teaching in the zone of proximal development. Teaching and Learning Together in Higher Education. 24. Retrieved from https://repository.brynmawr.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1186&context=tlthe

Boss, S. (2016). Engage parents as partners to close digital divide. Edutopia – Digital Divide [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/engage-parents-partners-close-digital-divide-suzie-boss

Brown, C., & Czerniewicz, L. (2010) Debunking the digital native beyond digital apartheid, towards digital democracy. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning (26) 5. p357-369. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2010.00369.x

Busteed, B., & Sorenson, S. (2015). Many students lack access to computer science learning. Gallup Education. Retrieved from https://www.gallup.com/education/243416/students-lack-access-computer-science-learning.aspx

Coughlan, S. (2020). Digital poverty in schools where few have laptops. BBC News – Family and Education. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/education-52399589

Day, L. (2013). Bridging the new digital divide. Edutopia – Technology Integration [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/bridging-the-new-digital-divide-lori-day

Duffy, C. (2020). Coronavirus opens up Australia’s digital divide with many school students left behind. ABC News. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-12/coronavirus-covid19-remote-learning-students-digital-divide/12234454

Education Magazine. (2020). What is the digital divide and how is it impacting the education sector? The Education Magazine [blog]. Retrieved from https://www.theeducationmagazine.com/word-art/digital-divide-impacting-education-sector/

Frawley, J. (2017). The myth of the digital native. Teaching @ Sydney [blog]. University of Sydney. Retrieved from https://educational-innovation.sydney.edu.au/teaching@sydney/digital-native-myth/

Hiefield, M. (2018). Family tech nights can narrow the digital divide. E-School News. Retrieved from https://www.eschoolnews.com/2018/11/21/family-tech-nights-can-narrow-the-digital-divide/

Hopper, E. (2020). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. ThoughtCo. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/maslows-hierarchy-of-needs-4582571

Kirschner, P., & De Bruyckere, P. (2017). The myths of the digital native and the multitasker. Teaching and Teacher Education 67, p.135-14

McMahon, M. (2014). Ensuring the development of digital literacy in higher education curricula. ECU Publications. Edith Cowan University. Retrieved from https://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1835&context=ecuworkspost2013

Online Typing.org. (2020). Average typing speed (WPM)[blog]. Retrieved from https://onlinetyping.org/blog/average-typing-speed.php

Sung, K. (2016). What’s lost when kids are under connected to the internet? KQED – Mindshift. Retrieved from https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/43601/whats-lost-when-kids-are-under-connected-to-the-internet

Steele, C. (2018). 5 ways the digital divide effects education.  Digital Divide Council. Retrieved from http://www.digitaldividecouncil.com/digital-divide-effects-on-education/

Wolohan, S. (2016). How teachers can provide equal learning in a world of unequal access. EdSurge – Diversity and Equity. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2016-04-13-how-teachers-can-provide-equal-learning-in-a-world-of-unequal-access

 

Digital native or digital elite? What is the cause of the digital divide?

geralt / Pixabay – The 3rd Millennium

The third millennium has clearly delineated a strong demarcation between people who are confident using digital technologies and those that are not. 

Prensky (2001) attributed this confidence to the time frame in which people were born, and described that those that grew up with technology are designated ‘digital native’, and those who had to be introduced to technology as ‘digital immigrants’ (Prensky, 2001; Houston, 2011).  Prensky (2001) stated that the modern student is digitally savvy because of their lifetime exposure to personal devices, the internet, and therefore will be highly competent using digital technologies in their personal, social and educational domains.  He predicted that ‘digital natives’ would have increased intuitiveness and competence when using digital media, and teachers need to adapt their pedagogical practices to reflect this paradigm (Prensky, 2001; Houston, 2011). 

Unfortunately reality is very different.  Not all modern students are competent and adept with using digital technologies, and the use of the terms native and immigrant, as well as the assumption of proficiency, has led to frustration and a deep digital divide in the classroom and the greater community.  

The terms digital ‘native’ and ‘immigrant’ itself are polemical.

Brown & Czerniewicz (2010) point out that by using these titles, society is polarising itself and categorising the former is fully adept using technology and the latter, a completely maladroit luddite.  The terms can also be viewed to some people as offensive, as both the words natives and immigrants have negative connotations when considered in tandem with colonisation and immigration policies in the western world (Brown & Czerniewicz, 2011).   Instead it seems more sensible that ICT competency be based and assessed upon ability and capability rather than age (Brown & Czerniewicz, 2011).  

The most pertinent factor that these generic terms fail to acknowledge is the impact of privilege on ICT acuity. 

The recent online learning experience clearly illustrated that it is the combination of these factors that affect ICT competence, not age or birth year (Brown & Czerniewicz, 2011). 

From a personal viewpoint it appears that ICT ability and acuity is more comparable to a continuum rather than polar opposites.  Individual and collective ability will vary depending on exposure to various software programs, frequency of use, access to devices and high speed internet in the home (Houston, 2011).  It is simply ludicrous to assume familiarity with one program means virtuosity over all (Frawley, 2020).  

For example, I would call myself competent when I use Windows or android devices, but am a complete tech-tard when it comes to Apple and Mac products because I am unfamiliar with them.  I am fluent in Facebook, Instagram and Microsoft 365, but ignorant of TikTok, Snapchat and Minecraft.  I may know the intricacies of a few programs and basics of many more, I am often completely unaware of any enhanced functionalities of how these programs can be used for social or educational purposes (Kirschner & De Bruyckere, 2017, p.136).  By the same benchmark, I am comfortable with using many different forms of digital literature but would flounder if asked to create a hypertext digital narrative with embedded multimodal features.  By Prensky’s parameters I am classified as a digital native as I was born after the onset of the information revolution, but since I don’t know how to play minecraft, lack a TikTok account and still listen to the radio, my year 7 students think the dinosaurs were around at my birth (Prensky, 2001)…. See… continuum

This digital divide and inequality of access has proven to be a major issue for many families and households in Australia, as it is well known that teenagers who are not actively engaged in education, employment or training are most likely to be digitally disengaged (Helsper & Smirnova, 2019).  This is because most educational institutions offer their students unlimited internet access through onsite wifi. 

geralt / Pixabay – Schools and libraries provide equitable access to digital technologies.

 

The current Coronavirus pandemic and corresponding lock down restrictions have highlighted the disparity between that socio-economic status and residential postcodes and corresponding impact on a person’s ICT competency and educational success (DIIS, 2016; Thomas et al., 2018).  The shutdown of schools, libraries and other educational institutions have shown that people who live in lower SES communities, or in rural and remote areas, recent immigrants and refugees, as well as First Nations peoples are significantly more disadvantaged when it comes to access and ICT competency (DIIS, 2016; Thomas et al., 2018).  Reasons cited include insufficient funds to purchase personal devices and access to high speed internet, living in shared housing or remote areas, loss of employment and lack of a fixed address (DIIS, 2016; Thomas et al., 2018).  

geralt / Pixabay – Coronavirus closures.

 

Community leaders and social organisations are very concerned with further disenfranchisement arising from the Coronavirus pandemic and the corresponding closures of schools, libraries, governments and social organisations shopfronts (Alam & Imran, 2015).  This means that socially disadvantaged individuals are even further inconvenienced by their lack of ICT knowledge and access (Alam & Imran, 2015).   For young people, these closures have extended ramifications as they are conscious of their lack of access and often end up feeling marginalised and excluded, due to their inability to have an active participation in a digital society (Helsper & Smirnova, 2019). (For more information on inequalities in digital interactions click here!)

The term digital native is now considered obsolete by most reputable educational professionals (Frawley, 2017).  Brown & Czerniewicz (2010) clearly indicate that age is not an indicator of ICT acuity but rather access to devices and the internet is what defines digital adroitness.  Instead of using the terms ‘native’ and ‘immigrant’, Brown & Czerniewicz (2010) advocate the terms ‘elite’ and ‘stranger’, as it seems financial security is a greater indicator of digital acuity than age . 

Digitally elite students have unlimited out of school access to ICT through personal devices, high speed internet, and electricity, whereas digital strangers have limited access to ICT and the internet once they are no longer on their educational or professional site (Brown & Czerniewicz, 2011).  These digital strangers are often of lower socio-economic status, lack digital technology at home and rely on public services such as libraries to access the digital world (Alam & Imran, 2015; Baker, 2019).  This digital disadvantage can often be exacerbated by a lack of English as they are unable to participate in community run computer courses (Alam & Imran, 2015).  The combination of lack of access and an inability to communicate can increase social exclusion, inhibit full participation in society as well as lead to further marginalisation and division in society (Alam & Imran, 2015).  

In conclusion – the terms digital native and immigrant are no longer valid.  Digital acuity and competence is instead based upon a person’s access to digital technologies and high speed internet in their residence, which is directly correlated to financial stability and urban living.  By assuming someone’s digital ability based upon their age, teachers and educators are disadvantaging their students and reducing their learning potential.

Stay tuned for Round 2 – The Classroom Divide.

REFERENCES:

Alam, K. & Imran, S. (2015). The digital divide and social inclusion among refugee migrants; A case in regional Australia. Information Technology & People, 28(2), pp.344-365. Retrieved from https://eprints.usq.edu.au/27373/1/Alam_Imran_ITP_v28n2_AV.pdf

Baker, E. (2019). Digital access divide grows in disadvantaged communities. ABC News. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-12/digital-access-divide-grows-among-disadvantaged-tasmanians/11402218

Coughlan, S. (2020). Digital poverty in schools where few have laptops. BBC News – Family and Education. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/education-52399589

De Bruyckere, P. (2019). Myth busting: children are digital natives. ResearchEd News. [Blog]. Retrieved from https://researched.org.uk/myth-busting-children-are-digital-natives/

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. (2016). Australia’s digital economy update. Retrieved from https://apo.org.au/sites/default/files/resource-files/2016/05/apo-nid66202-1210631.pdf

Duffy, C. (2020). Coronavirus opens up Australia’s digital divide with many school students left behind. ABC News. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-12/coronavirus-covid19-remote-learning-students-digital-divide/12234454

Education Magazine. (2020). What is the digital divide and how is it impacting the education sector? The Education Magazine [blog]. Retrieved from https://www.theeducationmagazine.com/word-art/digital-divide-impacting-education-sector/

Frawley, J. (2017). The myth of the digital native. Teaching @ Sydney [blog]. University of Sydney. Retrieved from https://educational-innovation.sydney.edu.au/teaching@sydney/digital-native-myth/

Kang, C. (2016). Bridging the digital divide that leaves schoolchildren behind. New York Times – Technology. Retrieved from  https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/23/technology/fcc-internet-access-school.html?_r=0

Kirschner, P., & De Bruyckere, P. (2017). The myths of the digital native and the multitasker. Teaching and Teacher Education 67, p.135-142

Helsper & Smirnova. (2020). Chapter 9. Youth inequalities in digital interactions and well being. Education 21st Century Children: Emotional Wellbeing in the Digital Age. OECD iLibrary. Retrieved from https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/d0dd54a9-en/index.html?itemId=/content/component/d0dd54a9-en

Holt, S. (2018). 6 Practical strategies for teaching across the digital divide.  NEO BLOG. Retrieved from https://blog.neolms.com/6-practical-strategies-teaching-across-digital-divide/

Houston, C. (2011). Digital Books for Digital Natives. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 9(3), 39–42.

McMahon, M. (2014). Ensuring the development of digital literacy in higher education curricula. ECU Publications. Edith Cowan University. Retrieved from https://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1835&context=ecuworkspost2013

Miller, H. (2017). The myth of the digital native generation. E-Learning Inside. Retrieved from https://news.elearninginside.com/myth-digital-native-generation/

Online Typing.org. (2020). Average typing speed (WPM)[blog]. Retrieved from https://onlinetyping.org/blog/average-typing-speed.php

Pontefract, D. (2017). The fallacy of digital natives. Pontefract Group [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.danpontefract.com/the-fallacy-of-digital-natives/

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. Marckprensky.com. Retrieved from https://marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

Steele, C. (2018). 5 ways the digital divide effects education.  Digital Divide Council. Retrieved from http://www.digitaldividecouncil.com/digital-divide-effects-on-education/

Thomas, J., Barraket, J., Wilson, C., Cook, K., Louie, Y., Holcombe-James, I., Ewing, S., and MacDonald, T. (2018). Measuring Australia’s Digital Divide: The Australian Digital Inclusion Index 2018. RMIT University, Melbourne, DOI: https://doi.org/10.25916/5b594e4475a00

Teens, trends and technology.

 

congerdesign / Pixabay

 

There is no comprehensive data on the recreational reading preferences of Australian children and teenagers across print or digital formats, but a study conducted by Deakin University and Murdoch University point out that teens have a clear preference for print in comparison to reading on devices (Cull, 2011; Dickenson, 2014; Earp, 2017).    This is surprising considering over 90% of Australian children and teenagers have access to a computer or laptop, but more than 75% never used them to access digital literature (Earp, 2017).   This information seems contradictory when you consider that recent fieldwork into public libraries showed a significant shift from traditional to more digital and computer based resources to compensate for the shift in the reading paradigm  (Wyatt, McQuire & Butt, 2015, p. 6-8).   This is because libraries are anticipating the long term presence of digital literature, and are motivated to curate their collection to hold a range of physical and digital resources, as well as a repository of technology for their clientele’s personal, social or educational use (Cull, 2011; Wyatt, McQuire & Butt, 2015, p. 8).   

O’Connell, Bales & Mitchell (2015) point out that the advent of e-books and e-readers have been the biggest game changers for school libraries in the past few decades.  E-books, especially e-textbooks have become increasingly popular in schools across the country as they are able to integrate multimodal features such as interactive maps, videos and images and enhance teaching and learning practices (O’Connell, Bales & Mitchell, 2015).  E-books also meet ACARA’s mandate to include a variety of print, digital and hybrid resources as part of the ICT and Literacy components of the General Capabilities (ACARA, 2018). 

Whilst e-books address curriculum requirements and educational needs of the modern student, O’Connell, Bales & Mitchell (2015) do acquiesce that including digital literature may be cost prohibitive to many schools and students.  Many students, especially those in lower socio-economic areas lack the financial ability to purchase a personal device to access e-books, and many schools cannot afford to purchase additional e-readers or other personal devices for all their students.  The other pertinent issue is internet access.  E-library subscriptions such as Wheelers require internet access at all times to read the book which is problematic when on public transport or out of wifi, whereas Borrowbox titles can be downloaded and then used offline, which is far more beneficial.  But both e-book repositories permit only one borrower at a time to access a title.  For class texts , this can be extremely expensive for schools to purchase multiple subscriptions for the same title.  The other pecuniary issue is that many e-books are often just ‘leased’, and as they are not owned by the school, can suddenly become unavailable and or the lending parameters change without warning.  

Whilst the cost of e-books may be prohibitive, the on-going costs of maintaining digital literature subscriptions for online encyclopaedias and databases are often cheaper than  obtaining individual journal subscriptions (Cull, 2011).  Academic libraries in particular, often purchase databases with access to a variety of journal articles for a lower cost than individual subscriptions.  Smaller libraries may coalesce to purchase a subscription together.  For example, ACT local libraries offer Gale databases as part of their collection.  

When it comes to genres, recent publishing trends show an increase in young adult literature across Australia and the world (Manuel & Carter, 2015).  These trends indicate two possible reasons, the first being that young adults are reading increasingly, and the second, is that as teenagers age into adults, they are retaining their young adult reading preferences.  Manual & Carter (2015, p.122) point out that fiction is still the most popular choice for teens, followed by multimedia, non-fiction and magazines.  Genre wise,  fantasy and mystery are popular with both sexes, and romance disdained by everyone (Manuel & Carter, 2015, p.123).  Graphic novels are making a comeback but this time in a digital space, girls seem to like detective stories, action and adventure, whereas boys like science fiction, informational texts and biographies AND EVERYONE HATES POETRY (Manuel & Carter, 2015, p.123-124; Moorefield-Lang & Gavigan, 2011))!  

What is interesting about reading preferences with teenagers is that text selection and pedagogical practices in the classroom actually has an impact on students.  When inappropriate classroom texts are selected, and or the pedagogy associated with them is poor, students develop an antithesis for that particular title/genre or reading in general (Manuel & Carter, 2015, p.125).  A perfect example would be Golding’s Lord of the Flies. I studied this text many moons ago and I only have ghastly memories of the text. 

I am an avid reader and I STILL GET THE HEEBIE JEEBIES when I think about that book.  

Whereas appropriate texts and good pedagogy can bolster a love of reading.  I studied Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre ain high school and I still love her to the point where I have seven copies of Jane Eyre!!!

   

 

 

*All imageswere obtained from the public domain.

YES I HAVE 7 COPIES OF JANE EYRE!!!

 

 

Digital devices have been often touted as the panacea for improving reading rates, literacy and learning for three main reasons.  Introducing digital literature into classroom practice allows teachers to bridge the digital disconnect between a teenager’s personal life in the digital world and the school’s analogue world.  By making these valuable connections, teachers are able to lure students to tasks they may normally disdain, such as reading class texts or researching online.  Combined with the fact that most teenagers are permanently glued to their personal devices means that they are very receptive to the idea of using (their phones and) digital literature for personal and educational purposes.

 

REFERENCES:

Cull, B. W. (2011). Reading revolutions: online digital text and implications for reading in academe. First Monday, 16(6). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3340/2985

Dickenson, D. (2014). Children and reading: Literature review. Australia Council 2014. Retrieved from https://www.australiacouncil.gov.au/workspace/uploads/files/research/children-and-reading-literatur-5432557e418db.pdf.

Earp, J. (2017). Infographic – Teen reading habits. Teacher Magazine. Australian Council for Educational Research.  Retrieved from https://www.teachermagazine.com.au/articles/infographic-teen-reading-habits

Houston, C. (2011). Digital Books for Digital Natives. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 9(3), 39–42. EBSCO 

Manuel, J., & Carter, D. (2015). Current and historical perspectives on Australian teenager’reading practices and preferences. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 38(2), p.115-128. Retrieved from https://www.alea.edu.au/documents/item/1175

Moorefield-Lang, H., & Gavigan, K. (2012). These aren’t your father’s: the new world of digital graphic novels. Knowledge Quest, 40(3), 30-35. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/detail/detail?vid=0&sid=b349502e-3dd2-48d3-9d9a-6beed7db31cc%40pdc-v-sessmgr05&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=82563984&db=lih

O’Connell, J., Bales, J., & Mitchell, P. (2015). Literature in digital environments: Changes and emerging trends in Australian school libraries. In L. Das, S. Brand-Gruwel, K. Kok, & J. Walhout (Eds.), IASL 2015 Conference Proceedings: The School Library Rocks: Living it, Learning it, Loving it (pp. 356-369). International Association of School Librarianship. http://www.meles.nl/_clientfiles/SMD/IASL2015_Proceedings_Vol2_2ndEd_ResearchPapers.pdf

Teen Reading In a Digital Era. (2017). Report at a glance – Teen Reading in a digital era. Murdoch University & Deakin University.  Retrieved from https://teenreadingdotnet.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/teen-reading-folio-report_email.pdf

Wyatt, D., McQuire, S., & Butt, D. (2015). Public libraries in a digital culture.  University of Melbourne & State Library of QLD. University of Melbourne Press. Melbourne Victoria. Retrieved from https://arts.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/1867865/PublicLibrariesinaDigitalCulture.pdf

The evolving nature of literature for the digital classroom.

DarkWorkX / Pixabay

 

The advent of technology, the internet and plethora of personal devices has forever changed the world and in turn, the paradigm of a secondary classroom. 

Whilst teenagers and society in general have embraced technology in its multiple forms for personal, social and recreational purposes, Education Departments and schools are often delayed in their digital pedagogical practices.  This delay in the embedding of digital technologies and literature has exacerbated the disparity between the information literacy skills that society demands, and the ability students have when they finish school.

This digital gap is even further widened in areas of lower socio-economic success, rural and remote communities, and First Nations peoples, who lack the personal means and access to devices and reliable internet connections (DIIS, 2016).  

For further information on the deepening of Australia's digital divide .. click here!

MCEETYA made a concerted effort to address this disparity by advocating for the embedding of ICT in the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians .  The argument put forward by the creators of this declaration, was that ICT is an essential skill required for active citizenship in a digitally rich information society (MCEETYA, 2008)Therefore ICT skills and competencies are essential to ensure each student is able to gain entry into this new paradigm.  ACARA’s response to this declaration was to create curriculum learning outcomes that allow students opportunities to access, analyse, modify and create a range of hybrid, digital and multimodal tasks (ACARA, 2018).  Examples of these include access to digital literature for classroom activities, explicit teaching of new literacies and assessments that require students to explore, create and analyse multimodal texts.  

The simplest form to introduce students to digital literature is within classroom practice.  Digital literature can be defined as texts that utilise computer technology and a device in order to access and engage with the text (Rettberg, 2012).  Unfortunately this may be a limiting factor for many students and schools that lack the financial means to secure devices and internet connectivity.  This issue became glaringly obvious in the recent nationwide school lock down which shifted learning to from onsite to online. 

Check out this article by the ABC published back in March 2020. 

Coronavirus opens education’s digital divide, as COVID-19 forces schools into online learning 

The level of computation associated with the digital literature varies with the device and format.  It can range from the most simple form of a scanned book on a website, to the interactive hypertext narratives with multimodal features in a mobile application (Maneti, Lipscombe & Kervin, 2018; Rettberg, 2012).  The middle of this digital literature continuum contains genres or hybrid genres such as e-stories, linear e-narratives, interactive stories, hypertext narratives and electronic games narratives (Walsh, 2013).  

My own knowledge of digital literature is rudimentary at best as I am strictly a user of digital content rather than being a creator – though this blog would be the only exception to the rule.  Whilst I do use my kindle and am able to engage with digital texts, it is a matter of expediency rather than personal pleasure.  By that token, I prefer reading digital texts rather than listening to audio-books and am  completely disinclined to use digital narratives (or anything that is non linear in nature) as I find those sources too overwhelming for indepth analysis.  But as a teacher librarian I need to be aware of the various formats and educate myself as to their benefits to student’s learning and literacy.

  The irony is that this Masters course has caused me to test, trial and experiment with more digital media than I ever would have in my life!  

Over the next few weeks I will be reviewing several different examples of digital literature that can be used in classroom practice as part of my own learning journey into literature in the digital space.   Each review will discuss the source’s value to the curriculum, to learning and literacy and to digital competency.

References:

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2018). Literacy. In Australian Curriculum – General Capabilities. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/literacy/

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (2016). Australia’s digital economy update. Retrieved from https://apo.org.au/sites/default/files/resource-files/2016/05/apo-nid66202-1210631.pdf

Mantei, J., Kipscombe, K., & Kervin, L. (2018). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)

MCEETYA (2008) Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians. Curriculum Corporation. Australia. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.edu.au/verve/_resources/national_declaration_on_the_educational_goals_for_young_australians.pdf

Rettberg, J.W. (2012). Electronic literature seen from a distance: the beginnings of a field. Retrieved from http://www.dichtung-digital.org/2012/41/walker-rettberg.htm

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Austr

Task 1 – INF533 – Reading, literacy and digital literature in the classroom.

xxolaxx / Pixabay – Reading in a digital landscape.

 

The advent of technology, and plethora of personal devices has revolutionised the reading paradigm to the point where, texts are no longer restricted to print, but are now available through multiple formats and platforms.  Digital literature utilises a continuum of technology to convey meaning, and the level of computation varies from a scanned book, to the interactive hypertext narratives with multimodal features  with a host of genres and hybrid genres such as e-stories, linear e-narratives, interactive stories, hypertext narratives and electronic games narratives. in the middle (Walsh, 2013; Maneti, Lipscombe & Kervin, 2018; Rettberg, 2012).  

The level of computation associated with the digital literature varies with the device and format.  It can range from the most simple form of a scanned book on a website, to the interactive hypertext narratives with multimodal features in a mobile application (Maneti, Lipscombe & Kervin, 2018; Rettberg, 2012).  The middle of this digital literature continuum contains genres or hybrid genres such as e-stories, linear e-narratives, interactive stories, hypertext narratives and electronic games narratives (Walsh, 2013; Maneti, Lipscombe & Kervin, 2018; Rettberg, 2012).

These new formats as Lamb (2011), and Sadokiesiski (2013) point out, require additional literacies to engage, process, evaluate and communicate. 

This is because reading has evolved from text decoding, to constructing meaning from symbols (Lamb, 2011) . 

ACARA’s (2018)  response has been to define literacy as the ability to interact with, engage and communicate across modalities for personal, social, economic and recreational purposes. 

This definition clearly indicates that teaching practice needs to include a variety of texts, in print, digital and hybrid formats (Leu, Forzani, Timbrell, & Maykel, 2015).  But whilst there are strong arguments and mandates to include digital texts, there are are complications.  

Many students struggle with digital text comprehension, as the simultaneous synthesising of visual, audio and text information causes information overload (Jeon, 2012; Mangen, Walgermo & Bronnick., 2013).   Students with poor fundamental literacy are at further disadvantage, as they are easily distracted away from the content by the multimodal elements, as well as being unable to locate information due poor visual ergonomics (Lamb, 2011; Leu, McVerry, OByrne, Kili, Zawilinski, Everett-Cacopardo,Kennedy, Forzani, 2011;  Jeon, 2012; Hashim & VongKulluksn, 2018; Mangen et al., 2013, p.66). 

geralt / Pixabay – Feeling overwhelmed???

 

I have noticed that here is a strong disinclination for teachers to include the creation of hypertext narratives and games in their practice (Mantei, Lipscombe & Kervin, 2018).  This hesitancy could be attributed to the premise that it requires both the student and the teacher to be competent in the additional literacies  (Leu et al., 2015).  Whilst many students could be considered digital natives and may possess the necessary skill set to create such hypertext, many teachers would be considered digital immigrants and therefore lack the confidence to implement such technologies in their classroom.  Unfortunately by excluding creation of digital texts, students are disadvantaged by the lack of potential extension and consolidation of learning. 

Armstong (2020) Bloom’s Taxonomy. CC – BY – NC

Remember Bloom – By failing to include a creative element – students are being denied opportunities for higher order thinking.  

In an effort to address some of these concerns, our library team has a balanced collection of print and digital literature, as well as have recently implemented an information literacy scope and sequence  (Leu et al., 2015).  Our students have access to a robust physical collection, e-books and audiobooks through a BorrowBox subscription, as well as online databases such as InfoBase, Gale, Britannica, EBSCO, Trove, and World Book.  

Anecdotally from my position as a teacher librarian, I can see the students vastly prefer print for recreational reading, but have a strong preference for digital resources for informational purposes.  I regularly see many teachers include digital texts into their teaching practice through reading and viewing of e-books, online databases and web based texts.  Through our information literacy program, we are endeavouring to teach digital literacy skills, such as, how to locate, evaluate and synthesise information, as well as problem solving in both online and offline scenarios (Leu et al., 2015, p. 140).  

Digital literature has transformed society, the definition of literacy and the landscape of pedagogical practice.  Time will only tell if our scope and sequence improve digital literacies and competencies in both the faculty and the students… stay tuned for further updates

 

 

References 

Armstrong, P. (2020). Bloom’s Taxonomy. Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University. Retrieved from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/. Image licenced under CC – BY – NC 

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2018). Literacy. In Australian Curriculum – General Capabilities. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/general-capabilities/literacy/

Hashim, A & VongKulluskn, V. (2018). E reader apps and reading engagement: A descriptive case study. Computers and Education, 125, pp.358-375. Retrieved from https://www.journals.elsevier.com/computers-and-education/

Jabr, F. (2013). The reading brain in the digital age: The science of paper versus screens. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/

Jeon, H. (2012). A comparison of the influence of electronic books and paper books on reading comprehension, eye fatigue, and perception. The Electronic Library, 30(3), 390-408. doi: 10.1108/02640471211241663 

Lamb, A. (2011). Reading redefined for a transmedia universe. Learning and leading with technology, 39(3), 12-17. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.csu.edu.au/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/ login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=67371172&site=ehost-live

Leu, D., McVerry, J. G., O’Byrne, W. I., Kiili, C., Zawilinski, L., Everett-Cacopardo, H., Kennedy, C., & Forzani, E. (2011). The new literacies of online reading comprehension: Expanding the literacy and learning curriculum. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55(1)5-14. Doi: 10.1598/JAAL.55.1.1

Leu, D.J, Forzani, E.,Timbrell, N., & Maykel., C. (2015) . Seeing the forest, not the trees: Essential technologies for literacy in primary grade and upper elementarty grade classroom. Reading Teacher 69: (2), p.139-145. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1073399

Mangen, A., Walgermo, B. R. & Bronnick, K.A. (2013). Reading linear texts on paper versus computer screen: Effects on reading comprehension. International Journal of Educational Research, 58, 61-68.doi:10.1016/j.ijer.2012.12.002 

Mantei, J., Kipscombe, K., & Kervin, L. (2018). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Rettberg, J.W. (2012). Electronic literature seen from a distance: the beginnings of a field. Retrieved from http://www.dichtung-digital.org/2012/41/walker-rettberg.htm

Sadokierski, Z. (2013, November 12). What is a book in the digital age? [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/what-is-a-book-in-the-digital-age-19071

Sargeant, B. (2015). What is an ebook? what is a book app? And why should we care? An analysis of contemporary picture books. Children’s Literature in education, 46, p.454-466. doi: 10.1007/s10583-015-9243

Walsh, M. (2013). Literature in a digital environment (Ch. 13). In L. McDonald (Ed.), A literature companion for teachers. Marrickville, NSW: Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA).

Augmented Reality in a school library – Part 5.

So far I have covered ways in which emerging technologies such as AR can be incorporated into the classroom.  This next section is about this technology can be used in school libraries as part of resource management, pedagogical practices and collaborative learning.

ROLE OF THE LIBRARY

School libraries and teacher librarians play a pivotal role in technology access.  School libraries have long been known for providing equitable access for information (ALIA, 2014).  The digital revolution has changed the primary purpose of libraries from information repositories to being gateways to knowledge.  This is because a library collection is no longer limited to print texts but now extends to including ebooks, digital resources,online databases and emerging technologies.  Consequently, by extending this access to emerging technologies like AR and VR, school libraries are building the value of their resources and concurrently, reducing the impact of the digital divide on their students (DIIS, 2016).  There are several ways in which a library can introduce emerging technologies such as AR to their patrons.  These include:

 

  1. AR EMBEDDED TEXTS – These resources are also the most cost efficient method of introducing AR technology to students,  as it enables them to experience the technology but without the associated costs of setting up hardware and software (Brigham, 2017; Foote, 2018).  Magana, Serrano & Rebello (2018, p. 526) cite clearly there is an increased student understanding when multimodal resources such as AR embedded information texts are used when compared to traditional texts. The reason why AR technology has increased efficacy in informational resources is that haptic feedback is non verbal and students focus on that as the primary source of information and the text provides the support (Magana, Serrano & Rebello, 2018).  This method is currently in place in most schools and academic libraries and some libraries offer a smart device loan scheme as well to assist with AR resources for offsite learning.
  2. MAKERSPACES – Makerspaces convert students from users of content to creators of knowledge as they allow students to pursue individual projects in and out of class time,  as well as facilitate independent and cross disciplinary learning (Slatter & Howard, 2013).  Many libraries have designated makerspace areas to facilitate creativity and critical learning and free play.  Pope (2018a) points out that free play should be encouraged as it allows users of all ages to learn through experimentation, even if the original point was educational or recreational in purpose.  These areas also allow teachers to experiment with new technology for their own personal benefit or to embed into their teaching practice (Slatter & Howard, 2013).
  3. AR INSTALLATIONS – An extension of makerspaces are AR installations.  These areas, known as sandbox programming, are permanently devoted to experimentation, exploration and demonstrations of AR/VR technology  (Townsdin & Whitmer, 2017).  Some examples of AR installations are TinkerLamp and zSpace. TinkerLamp was the forerunner of AR technology and required a screen, a projector, experimentation board and an interferometer (Furio et al., 2017, p.3).  Whereas the more modern zSpace consists of a computer, stylus and specialised glasses (Foote, 2018).                                                                                                                 Foote (2018) correctly points out that it is not cost effective to implement AR technology into every classroom, and that AR elements are best served through shared spaces such as the library.  But even then, these installations are not common in schools as Merge cubes, as they are very expensive and the latter is cheaper and more flexible for group use (Pope, 2018a).  
  4. LIBRARY OUTREACH AND MARKETING – Library tours, displays and other promotional programs have an immense capability for AR.  AR embedded posters and displays are an innovative method to engage students, and can convey useful information about seasonal events, special collection, library skills and services (Townsdin & Whitmer, 2017).  It is also possible to gamify library maps with embedded GPS tagging as a method of incentivising students to explore the various library spaces and facilities (Balci, 2017; Townsdin & Whitmer, 2017).  Besides being innovative, the use of mobile applications facilitates the collection of user data.  Library staff are able to analyse this data and use it to appraise student engagement, as well as illustrate the library’s effectiveness in adapting to advancements in technology (Townsdin & Whitmer, 2017). 
  5. INFORMATION SEEKING BEHAVIOUR –  There is scope for libraries to implement AR as part of their learning management system, the delivery of information and the provision of data (Zak, 2014).  The modern student has a preference for technology based practices and this extends to information seeking (Wolz, 2019). Zak (2014) suggests that by using emerging technologies as part of information seeking, libraries are speaking the same language as their clientele.

 

REFERENCES:

Australian Library and Information Association. (2014). Future of the Library and Information Science Profession. ALIA Futures. Retrieved from https://www.alia.org.au/sites/default/files/documents/advocacy/ALIA-Future-of-the-Profession-ALL.pdf

Balci, L. (2017). Using augmented reality to engage students in the library. Information Today Europe [Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.infotoday.eu/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/Using-Augmented-Reality-to-engage-students-in-the-library-121763.aspx

Brigham, T. (2017). Reality check: Basics of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality. Medical Reference Services Quarterly (36) 2. Pp 171-178. DOI: 10.1080/02763869.2017.1293987

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (2016). Australia’s digital economy update. Retrieved from https://apo.org.au/sites/default/files/resource-files/2016/05/apo-nid66202-1210631.pdf

Foote, C. (2018).  Is it real or is it VR? Exploring AR and VR tools. Computers in Libraries. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=6093ea4d-06fa-42b1-8400-75e5bd1dd875%40pdc-v-sessmgr03

Furio, D., Fleck, S., Bousquet, B., Guillet, JP., Canioni, L., & Hachet, M. (2017). HOBIT: Hybrid optical bench for innovative teaching. CHI’17 – Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Retrieved from https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01455510/file/HOBIT_CHI2017_authors.pdf

Magana, A., Serrano, M., & Rebello, N. (2018). A sequenced multimodal learning approach to support students’ development of conceptual learning. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 35 (4). DOI https://doi-org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1111/jcal.12356

Pope, H. (2018a). Virtual and augmented reality in libraries. Library Technology Reports – American Library Association, (54)6.

Slatter, D., & Howard, D. (2013). A place ot make, hack and learn: makerspaces in Australian public libraries. Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association, 62(4), pp.272-284. Retrieved from https://eprints.qut.edu.au/73071/1/73071.pdf

Townsdin, S., & Whitmer, W. (2017). Technology. Public Services Quarterly. 13. Pp190-199. DOI: 10.1080/15228959.2017.1338541

Wolz, K. (2019). Building faculty competence and self efficacy for using ZSpace virtual reality (VR) software in the classroom. All Regis University Theses. Retrieved from https://epublications.regis.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1930&context=theses

Zak, E. (2014). Do you believe in magic? Exploring the conceptualisation of augmented reality and its implication for the user in the field of library and information science.  Information Technology and Libraries.

Augmented Reality in the Classroom – Part 4

Continuing with the series….

More ways in which AR can be applied in a school dynamic. 

6. NUMERACY

Numeracy skills can be enhanced using AR.  Wu et al. (2013) suggest that students can learn geometry, trigonometry, spatial relationships and collaborative problem based learning by using AR to supplement their learning.  Technologies such as the combination of TinkerLamp and Kaleidoscope are popular in Europe and can be used to explore symmetries and congruence.  Whereas the mobile application – AR Measure kit is useful in measuring distances, trajectories, angles, height and estimating volume  (Cuendet, Bonnard, Do-Lenh & Dillenbourg, 2013).  

7. SUPPORT LITERARY ARTS

Hannah et al. (2019) cited several methods in which AR can support the literary arts curriculum.  Students are able to create or visit real or fictional sites using the digital interfaces such as Merge cubeso that connections between the content and the real world can be made.  For example, Shakespeare comes alive with a tour of Verona, Japanese medieval history can be taught by analysing the structure of Kokura Castle, and students can investigate the structure of a steam engine, all with a single mobile app, a smartphone or tablet and a Merge cube.  

8. VISUAL ARTS

A very interesting use of AR is the ability to access and engage in an authentic exploration of real objects in an artificial space (Wu et al. 2013).  Many art galleries and museums around the world already have embedded AR to allow users access to additional information about the display, for example, some places use QR codes to inform the user of additional information about the artist or exhibit (Coates, 2020).  From a classroom perspective, students can support their own creative pieces by embedding their rationale using Thinglink, Padlet or Metaverse, and use QR codes on their paintings, sculptures, photographs or collages to link it to their rationale (Zak, 2014) .  

9. LOCATION BASED LEARNING

Wu et al., (2013) suggests that location based learning, such as field trips and excursions, can be augmented by the use of AR.  As previously mentioned, many museums, galleries and other institutions have already adopted the use of AR in their spaces (Coates, 2020; Townsdin & Whitmer, 2017).   Some of them use the technology to provide additional information to the user about the collection, whereas other places use AR in their maps or tours  (Townsdin & Whitmer, 2017).  By including relevant information within the augmented space, it encourages more authentic learning, which in turn improves student engagement and learning outcomes (Wu et al., 2013). 

Emerging technologies have also been adopted by some council reserves and state national parks as a means to inform users about local flora and fauna.  Visitors are able to use their devices and their inbuilt GPS systems to access pertinent information about the site they are accessing (Townsdin & Whitmer, 2017).  Some sites also offer remote access and this can be very useful for excursion preparation or for revision purposes.  Remote access would also be of great assistance when students are unable to attend excursions or field trips due to illness or pandemics. 

10. ASSISTING STUDENTS WITH DIVERSE LEARNING NEEDS

Technology has often been cited as an effective intervention method for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and educators seek methods in which to meet cognitive, behavioural and developmental needs (Sahin, Keshav, Salisbury & Vahabzadeh, 2018).  Digital methods are often favoured  for ASD students, as they tend to have a preference for electronic media due to their predilection as visual learners (Mahayuddin & Mamat, 2019, p.2176-2177).  Additionally AR offers them an environment that supports the tangible manipulation of abstract ideals, as well as a visual image of the learning content, and standardised and predictable outcomes as routine and predictability is very important to students with ASD (Mahayuddin & Mamat, 2019, p.2176-2177; Sahin et al., 2018, p.1).   

AR and VR are also able to assist ASD students in developing their socio-emotional skills.  This technology allows students to experience the world and its environmental hazards as well as engage and interact with their peers in a socially controlled environment (Sahin et al., 2018, p.2; Riva, Banos, Botella, Mantovani & Gaggioli; 2016).   Whilst tablets and smartphones can be used, Sahin et al. (2018) suggests the use of SmartGlasses as they can be preloaded with social and behavioural coaching software.  Another benefit is that AR experiences can be tailored and adapted to suit student’s diverse needs, which is important as many experience high levels of anxiety when there is disruption to their learning plan.  

 

Augmented Reality in the Classroom – Part 3

Continuing on the series….

Here are few ways in which AR can be applied in a school dynamic.

  1. STUDENT ENGAGEMENT 

Technology has often been cited as a tool to increase student engagement.  Bonascio (2017) and  Magana, Serrano & Rebello (2019) theorise that AR is able to prolong attention and focus, as when multimodal resources and haptic devices are used, higher levels of enjoyment are experienced.  This gratification is significantly reduced in students that do not comprehend the mechanics of the technology and indicated that whilst utilising AR can improve digital literacy, explicit teaching is required to ensure that all students are able to interact successfully with the technology (Magana, Serrano & Rebello, 2019). 

               2. INQUIRY LEARNING

Oddone (2019) and Foote (2018) both suggest that greater educational benefits arise from students creating their own interactive images and overlays rather than using supplied ones.  Apps such as Metaverse or Augment can be used by students to construct their own interactive content and would be an ideal cross curricular inquiry task across any discipline, but have curriculum value within the Science, History and Geography inquiry skills section. Examples of inquiry tasks include:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. ABSTRACT CONCEPTS & STEM SUBJECTS

Magana, Serrano & Rebello (2018, p.526) believe that there is a positive effect to using multimodal resources and active learning for science and its related fields. This is because students often need assistance with visualising complex and abstract concepts (Saidin, Abd Hali & Yahaya, 2015; Riva, Banos, Botella, Mantovani & Gaggioli, 2016).  Abstract concepts can be problematic for many students because of the difficulty students can have in visualising theoretical postulations (Furio, Fleck, Bousquet, Guillet, Canioni & Hachet, 2017, p.2-3 ).  This struggle can negatively influence a student’s perception of the content material and lead to adverse learning outcomes (Furio et al., 2017, p.2-3 ).   AR technology allows students to visualise the concept, albeit in animation, and increase comprehension which leads to improved outcomes  (Saidin, Abd Hali & Yahaya, 2015, Wu et al., 2013).  This is because haptic devices allow students to manipulate and utilise their sensory faculties when they are constructing knowledge. Large and small phenomena, as well as anatomical figures, can be visualised using AR technology (Wu et al. 2013). 

 

High school curriculum linked examples include:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. READING – RECREATIONAL & INFORMATIONAL

AR books is the largest growing trend in children’s publishing and that many publishers are supplementing traditional texts with AR embedded resources (Levski, 2018; Zak, 2014). This is because AR books are seen as more innovative and able to improve flagging reading rates in children and adolescents (Levski ,2018, Zak, 2014).  Many young readers find the interactivity extremely engaging and the use of technology appeals to digital natives (Magana, Serrano & Rebello, 2019).

5. LITERACY

Mayahayuddin & Mamat, (2019) point out that the multimodal nature of AR improves literacy because the audio visual cues assist students in decoding.   Additionally,  AR enables students that have low focus or attention to enhance their learning as it grants access  to language in both formal and informal contexts, which is very useful for students with ADD, ADHD and those with social anxiety (Rafiq & Hashim, 2018, p.31; Mayayuddin & Mamat, 2019.  These benefits are further improved when AR is combined with gaming principles which provides additional interest and intrinsic motivation  (Mayahayuddin & Mamat, 2019; Levski 2018). 

 

REFERENCES

Foote, C. (2018).  Is it real or is it VR? Exploring AR and VR tools. Computers in Libraries. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=0&sid=6093ea4d-06fa-42b1-8400-75e5bd1dd875%40pdc-v-sessmgr03

Furio, D., Fleck, S., Bousquet, B., Guillet, JP., Canioni, L., & Hachet, M. (2017). HOBIT: Hybrid optical bench for innovative teaching. CHI’17 – Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Retrieved from https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01455510/file/HOBIT_CHI2017_authors.pdf

Levski, Y. (2018). 10 Augmented Reality Books That Will Blow Your Kid’s Mind. AppReal- VR [Blog]. Retrieved from https://appreal-vr.com/blog/10-best-augmented-reality-books/

Mahayuddin, Z., & Mamat, Z. (2019). Implementing augmented reality (AR) on phonics based literacy among children with autism. International Journal on Advanced Science Engineering Information Technology 9 (6). Retrieved from https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/296918932.pdf

Oddone, K. (2019). Even better than the real thing? Virtual and augmented reality in the school library. SCIS Connections. (110). Retrieved from https://www.scisdata.com/media/1921/scis-connections-110.pdf

Saidin, N. Abd Halim, N., & Yahaya, N. (2015). A review of research on augmented reality in education: Advantages and applications. International Education Studies, 8(13). Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.730.8456&rep=rep1&type=pd

Rafiq, K., & Hashim, H. (2018) Augmented reality game (ARG), 21st century skills and ESL classroom. Journal o fEducational and Learning Studies. 1 (1) pp29-34. Retrieved from https://journal.redwhitepress.com/index.php/jels/article/view/23/pdf

Riva, G., Banos, R., Botella, C., Mantovani, F., & Gaggioli, A. (2016). Transforming experience: The potential of augmented reality and virtual reality for enhancing personal and clinical change. Frontiers in Psychiatry 7. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5043228/pdf/fpsyt-07-00164.pdf

Wu, H., Lee, S., Chang, H., & Liang, J. (2013). Current status, opportunities and challenges of augmented reality in education. Computers & Education, 62. Pp41-49. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2012.10.024

Zak, E. (2014). Do you believe in magic? Exploring the conceptualisation of augmented reality and its implication for the user in the field of library and information science.  Information Technology and Libraries

 

Augmented Reality in the classroom – Part 2

AR APPLICATIONS IN CLASSROOMS – Part 2 

The interactive and innovative nature of technology has often been cited as a positive influence on educational outcomes, and this benefit extends to the inclusion of AR in schooling (Oddone, 2019).   AR can be used to improve student engagement, address curriculum outcomes and increase digital literacy skills (Oddone, 2019; Saidin, Abd Hali & Yahaya, 2015).   It can be used in inquiry learning, recreational and informational reading, improving literacy and numeracy standards, developing STEM and ICT skills, supporting literary arts, visual arts and developing social emotional learning (Saidin, Abd Hali & Yahaya, 2015).  Like VR, AR expands learning beyond the textbook and classroom walls, as well as builds those critical digital literacy skills for life beyond the classroom (Wolz, 2019, p.3; Wu et al., 2014). 

The most sizable and unique benefit AR has on educational practices is that it uses 3D images to illustrate complex concepts to students (Zak, 2014).  By creating these images, AR enables the student to feel a sense of immediacy and immersion which fosters a realistic experience (Wu et al., 2013, p.44).  This realistic experience increases the frequency and depth of connections made between the student, the content and the real world (Hannah, Huber & Matei, 2019, p.278; Wu et al., 2013).  AR requires the user to activate the augmented data, therefore it can be described as student centred, contextual to the user and is a constructivist approach to education, and consequently aligns itself along the current prevalent pedagogical theories (Wolz, 2019, p.2; Zak, 2014).   Hence, when combined with holistic and authentic learning practices, AR has an immense capability to inspire affective learning. 

REFERENCES

Hannah, M., Huber, S., & Matei, S. (2019). Collecting virtual and augmented reality in the twenty first century library. Collection Management, 44 (2-4), pp.277-295. DOI: 10.1080/01462679.2019.1587673

Oddone, K. (2019). Even better than the real thing? Virtual and augmented reality in the school library. SCIS Connections. (110). Retrieved from https://www.scisdata.com/media/1921/scis-connections-110.pdf

Saidin, N. Abd Halim, N., & Yahaya, N. (2015). A review of research on augmented reality in education: Advantages and applications. International Education Studies, 8(13). Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.730.8456&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Wolz, K. (2019). Building faculty competence and self efficacy for using ZSpace virtual reality (VR) software in the classroom. All Regis University Theses. Retrieved from https://epublications.regis.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1930&context=theses

Wu, H., Lee, S., Chang, H., & Liang, J. (2013). Current status, opportunities and challenges of augmented realiy in education. Computers & Education, 62. Pp41-49. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2012.10.024

Zak, E. (2014). Do you believe in magic? Exploring the conceptualisation of augmented reality and its implication for the user in the field of library and information science.  Information Technology and Libraries.