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.

Literary Learning – Shifting from ‘Learning to Read’ to ‘Reading to learn’.

Language and literature has always been part of educational practices. 

This is because language is central to cognition and therefore needs to be implemented in all areas of thinking and learning.  Literary learning is the use of literature across the curriculum.  It is based upon genre theory as language is learned in context and a variety of genres and formats should be made available for all students to (Derewianka, 2015).  Whilst the emotive and behavioural benefits of literature are well documented, some teachers may believe that a variety of genres in teaching and learning are unnecessary.  Cornett (2014) points out the many cognitive values of literary arts in the curriculum such as promoting literacy, supporting active meaning construction and provoking inquiry, lifelong learning, problem solving and increasing critical thinking skills.  The  role of the teacher librarian and educator is to increase the implementation of the various forms of literature, such as narratives, expositions, discussions and recounts, in order to increase student exposure to the heterogeneity of discourses available in their subject area.  

GDJ / Pixabay – Code breaker to text analyser.

Literacy for learning is when a student moves from simply being codebreakers and text participants, to using text for learning and analysing.  The basis of literary learning is genre theory and programs such as ‘reading to learn’ places an emphasis on students using a variety of literature formats in schooling (Derewianka, 2015).  Genre theory has had a great influence on education practices in Australia.  It is an extension of Vygotsky’s and Halliday’s theory of language development occurring in social contexts (Derewianka, 2015).  The extension is based upon the view that students need access to a variety of genres within their subject matter in order to be able to engage in discourse (Derewianka, 2015).  Since each genre has its own identifiable format, it is important that educators offer a variety of genres to maintain equity (Derewianka, 2015).  Derewianka (2015) also elucidates the pertinent fact that each key learning area has a particular vocabulary, and that students need to understand and develop experience with this specific language and various formats in order to achieve academic success. 

ACARA places great emphasis on literacy, language and literature in the curriculum.  It requires students to use language as a method of participating in the learning process (Derewianka, 2015).  I have previously elucidated on the importance of literacy, so I will not go into any more detail about that now.  But within the General capabilities curriculum, there is a requirement for students to be able to make meaning and critically analyse.  Therefore, the use of a variety of genres within teaching and learning practices ensures students are able to meet the learning outcomes set by the standards within the curriculum.  

From a pedagogical perspective, literary learning is a child centred approach to teaching and learning. Derewianka (2015) points out that the shift from teacher to child centric pedagogy requires student’s engagement in order for them to participate in the learning.  Literature can be used as a method to learn about subject matter as it provides a increased engagement for students and also has a higher recall compared to expository texts (Cornett, 2014, p. 151).  Besides being a mode of conveying information, the use of good quality literature has been proven to support construction of meaning, deepen understanding of complex social issues and meet the aesthetic needs of students (Cornett, 2014, p. 151).  The latter is very important as motivation is a commitment to extend the reader’s aesthetic experience (Cornett, 2014).  

 There are some educators that are skeptical of the need to implement literature across the curriculum, even though the implementation of language, literature and literacy across key learning areas has been part of teaching practice for the last few decades.  One of the arguments against the implementation of literature, is that some students would struggle against having to negotiate meaning from the text.  Students with low literacy and those who speak a second language could find some genres more problematic than others.  But Cornett (2014) refuted this argument by determining that literature based learning is beneficial to students combating aliteracy or illiteracy.  This is because students that have literature at the core of their learning improve their overall reading levels in comparison to those that do not  (Cornett, 2014).  Ironically, the use of  standarised tests have been proven to have no benefit in improving literacy outcomes but they still happen at regular intervals (Cornett, 2014).  But whilst literature have been proven to address  cognitive, emotional and developmental needs, not all students (and teachers) like  all aspects such as narrative literature.  Since choice is an essential aspect of engagement and motivation, it is important to implement a variety of genres and resources in educational practices when planning a unit of work.  Astute educators will know that it makes sense to balance pragmatism with literature.  

Literary learning is the implementation of literature across the curriculum.  By using literature as a method of conveying subject specific information, teachers are improving the learning outcomes of the students.  From an evidence based perspective, literature based learning is the better option for students as it allows students to construct their own bank of knowledge from information which is more easily read, understood and comprehended.  It allows students to put into context the subject specific vocabulary they have learned and use correctly the variety of formats and genres that are applicable to their discipline.  Students no longer just learn to read… they read so that they can learn. 

 

References:

Cornett, C. E. (2014). Integrating the literary arts throughout the curriculum. In Creating meaning through literature and the arts: arts integration for Classroom teachers (5th ed,) (pp144-193) USA

Derewianka, B. (2015). The contribution of genre theory to literacy education in Australia. In J. Turbill, G. Barton & C. Brock (Eds.), Teaching Writing in Today’s Classrooms: Looking back to looking forward (pp. 69-86). Norwood, Australia: Australian Literary Educators’ Association. Retrieved from https://ro.uow.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2620&context=sspapers

 

Curriculum Conundrums – Module 4.3

Curriculum can be broadly defined as the academic content taught within the education system.  In Australia, the National curriculum is three dimensional and covers eight content areas, three cross curriculum priorities and seven skills sectors (ACARA, n.d.).  This national framework is broadly defined and whilst some states have set syllabi that clearly delineate what needs to be taught, others have more freedom in the manner in which the learning outcomes are addressed.  As this method of delivery is diverse, curriculum implementation falls down to state governance and individual schools to develop and create a plan that clearly outlines the teaching and learning, whilst respecting the values and ethics of the school and its community.

 The purpose of schooling is detailed within a curriculum and as a result its strength and veracity will directly affect student learning potential (VCAA, 2015, p.6). Meritorious curricula are cohesive and contain connected units of work that build upon a student learning.  It is not an ad hoc system of disconnected and repetitious units, as that leads to student disengagement and teacher angst. A teacher librarian is a witness to all that occurs within a school and from this centralised position, are able to see the teaching and learning from a whole school approach.

 The role of a TL can affect curriculum planning in a variety of ways but the four main ways are; facilitating multidisciplinary units of work; creating LibGuides for individual classes, year levels and or units of work; embedding information literacy within the curriculum and explicit instruction.  Lastly, ensuring that the school collection supports the teaching and learning practices of the school. In the first place, a TL can facilitate conversations between departments to broach a collaborative unit of work. An example would be, negotiating RE, HASS and Science to address a Sustainability unit from a triple prong approach for a deeper and more holistic learning experience, rather than just superficially addressing aspects in three separate subjects.  Real world scenarios are multidisciplinary and it is frustrating to pigeon hole learning into subject areas and be unable to fully experience the scope the unit. Secondly, a TL can use LibGuides as a method in which to curate and organise resources to specific classes, subjects and topic guides. By being involved in the planning stages, a TL can create these LibGuides in anticipation of the units and thus eliminate late and often disruptive requests for resourcing.

 TL are information experts as well as teaching practitioners.  Their mastery of information seeking behaviour allows them to embed information literacy skills within the curriculum with ease using their knowledge of pedagogy.  With the current information overload, students need to be fluent in information literacy and TL can work with classroom teachers to explicitly teach these essential skills.  Some schools and TL are working collaboratively to construct a ICT and CCT skill progression framework that will allow students to build upon their current knowledge in a logical manner.  Other TL and schools seek methods in which to assess these skills in various formative formats along the inquiry pathway so as to provide useful feedback. The national curriculum is explicit upon the needs to integrate the general capabilities and a TL’s expertise is definitely a benefit in the planning stage.  As practitioners, a TL is able to explicitly teach these skills in discrete lessons in a team teaching scenario and or in a consultant role. Finally, when a TL is involved with planning, they can ensure that the school collection is able to support the teaching and learning. Many school budgets are constrained and a TL present in the planning is aware of what the school has currently available and can suggest or recommend resources that are already part of the collection in order to buttress the curriculum judiciously.  This is even more important in a digital age when subscriptions and licencing becomes an issue should multiple e-book titles be necessary to support a differentiated learning.

 TLs have been emerging as co-creators and designers of inquiry learning within schools for a long time.  The somewhat recent inclusion of guided inquiry into the national curriculum has increased the importance of well designed inquiry units for teaching and learning.  In collaboration with classroom teachers, TL can assist with designing and resourcing these inquiry units across the school. As an essential phase of inquiry learning requires the student to immerse and explore their task.  This immersion and exploration can involved a variety of digital and authentic experiences, which include incursions, excursions, VR and widespread information collation. A TL is often the one that assists with this access to information by providing a few resources as a scaffold or explicitly teaching information literacy skills.  These skills are essential students then seek information to answer their question. Education NSW (2016) is explicit in their policy in that a TL is a member of the “teaching staff and as such is actively involved in collaborative teaching and learning, school curriculum planning and program development”. The policy also is clear that TL are required to assist with planning, implementing and evaluating the curriculum at a school.  Therefore, NSW public schools are required to have their TL part of their planning and programming. In this token, principals should be allocating planning time to teachers so that they can fulfill the parameters of their position. Whether this mandate is applicable across the states and territories is unknown but the NSW policy definitely sets a valid precedent. It now only is up to principals to ensure that planning and curriculum days during professional development week is actually for planning and not filled up with unnecessary meetings and emails.

 Schools that use a collaborative approach with planning have the expertise of an information teacher at the table.   Like other speciality teachers within a school, a TL is an information teacher and that title encompassess a wide scope of knowledge and mastery of information seeking behaviour.  It is this mastery and unconscious competence that allows the TL to see the unit of work beyond the content and place the skills on the learning continuum. Schools that promote collaborative curriculum planning harness this knowledge and use this collective strength to create units of work that extend the mind and build upon those important life long skills.   The absence of a TL within curriculum development is detrimental to student learning. TLs are essential to curriculum planning for multiple reasons, especially their skill in information literacy and wide curriculum knowledge. Their skills in information seeking behaviour are essential in this digital age of misinformation and their unconscious competence in this field means that they are able to create units of work that are beyond the scope of most classroom teachers.  Whilst these skills are important for all students, they are essential for students from lower socio-economic households where there is already a digital divide (DIIS, 2016).

 

Curriculum planning ideally should be a collaborative effort and include all teachers and their disciplines.  The intentional exclusion of the TL seems foolhardy as there is ample evidence illustrating their positive effect on learning outcomes.  But unless a TL is willing to advocate their place at the table then it is unlikely an invitation will be issued.

 

References

 

ACARA (n.d.) Structure of Australian Curriculum; F-10. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/f-10-curriculum/structure/

 ACARA (n.d.b) History Inquiry. Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Search/?q=history%20inquiry

 DET Victoria (n.d. ) Curriculum Planning. Retrieved from https://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/teachingresources/practice/Pages/curriculum.aspx

 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.

 Education NSW (2016) School library policy. Retrieved from https://education.nsw.gov.au/policy-library/policies/library-policy-schools?refid=285831

 Lutheran Education Queensland (n.d) Approaches to learning. Inquiry based learning.  Retrieved from https://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/media/1360/lutheran-education-queensland-inquiry-based-learning.pdf

 Softlink International (n.d.) The ongoing importance of school libraries.  Retrieved from https://www.softlinkint.com/downloads/The_Ongoing_Importance_of_School_Libraries.pdf

VCAA (2015) Victorian Curriculum; Foundation – Year 10; Revised curriculum planning and reporting guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.vcaa.vic.edu.au/Documents/viccurric/RevisedF-10CurriculumPlanningReportingGuidelines.pdf

 

Analysis of Lupton (2014) paper – Module 5.3a

Edwin01 / Pixabay
Late to the ball

 

We live in an information rich society.  Our world is quickly adapting from industrial to one based upon the creation and dissemination of information.  This economic revolution needs a society that is fluent in information literacy.  Unfortunately, the education sector is resembling Cinderella with their late arrival to the information literacy ball.  Even though the national curriculum was designed with the goal of active and informed citizens, it has failed to meet the task at hand.

Lupton (2014) points out succinctly that there is no information literacy embedded within the Australian curriculum in her analysis.   It does seem fairly obvious that inquiry skill strands are the place to look for the elements that then link back to IL. A teacher librarian is ideally the perfect person to identify these elements and create the links due to their knowledge of the curriculum and holistic view of the learning and teaching within a school.  Unfortunately, we also know that there are many schools that there is no teacher librarian and thus there is no one to make these links in an effective manner. Consequently, teachers and students are often unable to have a planned learning sequence that builds upon prior knowledge. This inability to construct new knowledge upon prior knowledge, is a direct contradiction to the constructivist theory of guided inquiry.

As Lupton (2014) surmises, there is an inquiry focus within the national curriculum in three KLAs; science, history and geography.  Each of these areas addresses inquiry skills with slightly different applications. These mannerisms illustrate the strength and weaknesses of the curriculum to address IL.  Unfortunately, these subjects are not equally structured with respect to IL and thus, the embedding of these skills are inconsistent.

geralt / Pixabay

This variance between KLA’s has lead to science being the weakest of the three in regards to information literacy.  Whilst the research process is vigorous, the data is just gathered with the role of interpretation insufficient. The inquiry skills aspect is aligned only to the experimental procedure and there is limited correlation between the strands.  There is also a lack of consideration of the social, cultural, economic context of the investigation. This lack of social context means that the investigation is often difficult for students to apply newly gained information to real world applications which in turn defeats the ‘action’ part of the process.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

History KLA has strong IL embedded into its curriculum.  The nature of the strands mean that both the questioning and information seeking behaviour are important.  The strong dependence on primary and secondary sources means that students are constantly utilising skills in information seeking and using.  There is appropriate scaffolding within the curriculum that promotes independent learners. Geography, according to Lupton (2014) has the strongest in IL because; the questioning is stronger and varied, action is required in some form and lastly, it promotes personal and social growth and that the tasks are multidisciplinary.  As questioning is the cornerstone of inquiry, the Geography KLA allows for different perspectives of the same question as well as it forces the student to consider the views of the audience. It is clearly the most sophisticated and comprehensive inquiry skills based subject within the curriculum.

The problem with the Australian curriculum is that IL is not embedded within and across the curriculum in all KLAs.  Information literacy is cumulative. To have an IL education, sustainable development is required across all years and areas of study.  It is should be part of the content, structure and sequence of learning; and definitely not the outcome of a single subject.

 

Bundy, A. (Ed.) (2004). Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework principles, standards and practice. 2nd ed. Australian and New Zealand Institute for Information Literacy.

Lupton, M.(2014)  Inquiry skills in the Australian Curriculum v6, Access, November