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).

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).  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 – Part 7 – Contraindications, Limitations and Future Implications

CONTRAINDICATIONS AND LIMITATIONS OF AUGMENTED REALITY USE IN THE CLASSROOM 

There are a few issues with implementing innovative teaching practices such as AR into classrooms.  These reasons include misconceptions with using ICT in the classroom, teacher reluctance and insufficient access to technology and the internet.

  1. MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ICT IN THE CLASSROOM – There is a significant disinclination from some educators about the inclusion of digital technology into classroom practice.  This reluctance can stem from a belief that technology causes students to become passive in their learning and that encouraging the use of personal devices increases class distractions (Wu et al., 2013).  Saidin, Abd Hali & Yahaya (2015, p.1) disagree vehemently and argue that AR actually causes the learner to become more interactive with the learning content as it requires the student to think critically and be able to make meaning from their interactions.  Wu et al. (2017) suggests that the use of mobile phones promotes social interactivity and student collaboration when using through networked devices.  
  2. TEACHER RELUCTANCE – Many teachers are not comfortable with emerging technologies due to their own lack of knowledge with the medium (Pope, 2018a).  Wolz (2019, p.6) points out that teachers, like students, develop self efficacy from their own ability, observing others and verbal affirmation.  Self efficacy of teachers and educators is essential, as there is a strong correlation between teacher competence and inclusion of digital technologies in the classroom  (Wolz, 2019).  Saidin, Abd Hali & Yahaya (2015, p.1) argue that all teachers should be required to continuously keep abreast of new products as part of professional learning and development.   Unfortunately, requiring all teachers to be familiar and confident with emerging technologies is simply unfeasible.  Many teachers are already overworked and overwhelmed with their current workloads.  Therefore, it is more viable that each school has dedicated ICT teachers, or teacher librarians, that are tasked with embedding emerging technologies into classroom practice.  This method allows both classroom teachers and students to improve their digital literacy skills and develop ICT acuity concurrently.  For schools with a library, it makes sense to ensure the TL has self efficacy with AR/VR technology as most AR installations are sourced in their teaching and learning spaces.    
  3. DIGITAL DIVIDE – This is a significant hurdle to the implementation of digital technologies such as AR in Australian classrooms.  The high cost of technology has inhibited its diffusion across classrooms, but the recent rapid advancements and price has reduced this barrier significantly (Wolz, 2019, p.2).  It is not common for all students and schools to possess mobile devices and or have available data to have transactions with AR.  This issue is more common in rural areas and within lower socio-economic families and schools (DIIS, 2016).   The extent of the digital divide has been highlighted and under scrutiny by the recent COVID 19 school closures, where the lack of internet and device access caused many students to be unable to access home learning.  

 

IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE

Oddone (2019) and Zak (2014) suggest that VR and AR will become mainstream technology soon and it behooves educators to equip students with the necessary skills to maintain their digital literacy.  Previously access to these technologies was extremely expensive and many schools were unable to gain access due to lack of funds. However,  rapid changes in technology have led to a significant price reduction, but even with the decreased costs, AR installations are still out of reach for many schools.  For schools and educational institutions that can afford these emerging technologies, there are educators that lack confidence in their ability to use AR, and there are others that find the available AR content is not suited to the needs of their students (Wu et al., 2013, p.46).  Whilst centralising emerging technologies into the library addresses the lack of self efficacy of teachers, it does not solve the issue of unsuitable AR content.   

Hannah et al., (2019) proposes that schools create their own 3D content objects that suit their students and align to the curriculum as needed.  As part of this approach, images are curated and integrated into the library management system that shares knowledge and collaboration.  This method allows all the images that are created in the school by both staff and students to be stored for future use whilst acknowledging the authorship and intellectual property ownership of the images.  This proposition is an extension of Zak (2014) idea of using AR in information seeking as mentioned previously.   Whilst collection management is part of a librarian’s repertoire, the curation of 3D images requires new vocabulary and ontology, and requires further exploration of the relevant literature.  Therefore, it makes logical sense that AR installations and its other forms of hardware and software are centralised in the library and the teacher librarian tasked with cataloging the 3D images, embedding AR and other emerging technologies across the curriculum.  

Augmented Reality in the Classroom – Part 6 – Role of the TL

Bit of a hiatus since the last post… I decided to go on holidays.

 

ROLE OF TEACHER LIBRARIAN

The library and the teacher librarian hold a central position in the school learning and teaching dynamic and thus are ideally positioned to engage in collaborative planning and teaching across the curriculum.  Like libraries, the role of the teacher librarian has evolved in response to the metamorphosis of repository spaces to information gateways.  ASLA (2016) clearly defines the foci of a modern teacher librarian to; learning and teaching, resourcing the curriculum, management of the library and its resources, providing leadership, collaborating with their peers and engaging with the school community.  

Even though libraries and the role of the teacher librarian has evolved, their main purview in a school has not changed.  Information seeking is the core of each school library, and the main point of the teacher in teacher librarian is  information literacy and the explicit teaching of ICT (ALIA & ASLA, 2004).  This teaching role extends to both staff and students, as teacher librarians are required to model good practice, and explicitly teach information seeking behaviour and information literacy to everyone in the school community (ALIA & ASLA, 2004; ALIA, 2014).  

All teachers in Australia are required to integrate technology into their teaching and learning, but many classroom educators are unaware of the benefits of emerging technologies such as AR and VR (AITSL, 2017).  Consequently, the task of educating staff about emerging technologies falls onto the teacher librarian.  This is because teacher librarians are required by ALIA & ASLA (2014), ALIA (2014) and ASLA (2014) to be familiar with emerging technologies, provide access to and integrate them into library practice, programs as well as support the school community in using them effectively.  

There are many traditional ways of introducing these technologies, such as staff emails or meetings, but there are innovative ways of introducing emerging technologies to the school community.  Townsdin & Whitmer (2017) suggested AR embedded library marketing as an effective way of promoting the library and its services whilst improving information literacy, whereas Wolz (2019) points out that using AR in information seeking covertly introduces colleagues to the technology whilst they overtly search the catalogue.  Pope (2018a) proposes that AR can be introduced through team building exercises, and Zak (2014) suggests the use of AR embedded resources as an effective method of introducing AR into classroom practice.   

Whilst all those listed are valid methods of introducing the school community to new technologies, the most effective manner is by using AR embedded classroom resources.  By using emerging technologies in teaching resources, students and staff are gaining access to high quality information that meets curriculum needs and student development.  The secondary and almost furtive asset is that students gain access to these new technologies and are given opportunities to experiment in a low stakes environment.  This tactic also gives classroom teachers an opportunity to experiment and play with the technology themselves, so that they can effectively use them in their classrooms (Zak, 2014).   From a library management position, teacher librarians are required to regularly evaluate their strategies and services to ensure that it meets the needs of their community, and this extends to AR programming and resourcing  (Zak, 2014).  This evaluation must also broaden to include any mobile applications, 3D image repository or hardware that the library choses to maintain as part of their collection and digital technologies program (Zak, 2014). 

Where was that green sheep (cake)?

Can you see the green sheep (cake)?

 

Getting the word about Book week out.  We have asked the kids to bring in food that has a book theme.  They will be judged and then prizes awarded before selling them to raise money for the Pajama Foundation.  We had a lovely student bring in some a few days early to drum up support.  So far we have had 40 students agree to bring in something delectable for next week.

stay tuned …