Activities and Pedagogies for a New Syllabus.

I had been considering dropping my M. Ed course as my interest in being a TL has waned with severe funding cuts in NSW and the addition of 6 new staff members, including a new Head Teacher, to my science faculty – all with enthusiastic and creative teaching ideas. CLN647 Youth, Popular Culture, and Texts has given me a lot to think about that I didn’t expect from the title. Now I find that I am spending a lot of time researching ideas for improving our science units of work and practice, based on points raised in CLN647.

The NSW version of the National Curriculum, was released this month and is to be implemented in Science for year 7 and 9 in 2014 and for year 8 and 10 in 2015. My school, as part of the federal National Partnerships program is receiving funding to boost numeracy, engagement and literacy (NEL). In our school plan, released last week, funding in this scheme has been allocated to science for someone to spend approx. 1 day PER WEEK to development of new programs/units of work, incorporating new activities and pedagogies that support NEL as well as considering differentiation to support our selective, special needs and mainstream students. I submitted my expression of interest on Friday and I really hope I get some or all or the time allocated to curriculum development.

So, this final blog post is written mostly for myself, my faculty and other science teachers out there [sorry Helen and Kelli]. It is an overview of the activities, tools and pedagogies that I have become interested in during CLN647 and how I think we can incorporate them into new programs. Some are only a starting point and need more research and more thought. Others are a bit more fleshed out. Any comments from the rest of the world are appreciated 🙂


Building Programs around Pop Culture Artefacts

Beach and O’Brien (2008) suggested that schools tend to favour print-text based traditional pedagogies that are in conflict with the pop-culture and multimedia based experiences of students outside of school. They further suggested various ways and reasons why pop-culture artefacts should be incorporated into curricula, including improved digital and information literacy.

Science teachers, in my experience, frequently use a range of pop culture resources in their teaching, sourced from: movies, TV shows, radio, magazines and newspapers. Typically, they are a minor part of a topic and are either very heavy on content (eg. documentaries) and/or a minor part of a topic acting as an extension for good kids or an engagement ‘hook’ for lower ability classes. Ideally, I think it would be advantageous to build some programs AROUND watching a movie or playing a game, where this is the key component that links the outcomes together.

The science staff at my school are generally in agreement that we wish provide a more multidisciplinary, context and narrative based approach to science in the future (see Science of Xmen post). The use of pop culture in the form of movies will help enhance engagement which may lead to improvement in other outcomes and also in behaviour. They are yet to hear of my game ideas ;).

There are some important considerations for incorporating pop culture. We need to find artefacts (movies or games) that balance relevance with engagement. They need to allow exploration and development scientific understanding and skills without being boring. The X-men trial has been ideal for this as its futuristic setting and science basic provides a lot to talk about while being a good story. The usefulness of Xmen is increased because although the movie I showed my class was released in 2000, it has not dated excessively and maintains pop culture relevance as new movies in the series have been and are planned for released since this movie. It is hard, however, to think of many similar pop culture artefacts that will balance scientific relevance and student engagement over a number a years, as we will also need to accurately predict the artefact’s ‘use-by-date’ as being at least 10 years away (syllabus changes and associated funding generally in approximate decade long cycles).


Use of wikis

A wiki is a collection of webpages whose content is typically organized around a specific purpose or topic. Content can be collaboratively written, added to, deleted, and modified by users. The best-known example of a wiki is, of course, the massively collaborative online encyclopaedia Wikipedia ( (Knobel and Lankshear, 2009:631).

Wikis fit in very well with many science topics where there are multiple different aspects or categories of evidence/information that students can investigate in small groups to research, collaborate and co-construct knowledge. However, they have been slow to be taken up by our staff due to access restrictions (see also Electronic Game Use. A Critical Reflection post), training, time and ‘comfort’ level.

I trialled wikis in my teaching this year and have realised that poor pedagogy made the experience less valuable than it could have been. I attempted a wiki with year 7 selective/GAT class but this was a poor technological fit as they had sporadic access to computers affecting their engagement and the continuity of the process. I think that year 9 and 10 (issued with DER laptops) may benefit from having a wiki focused program, but there should be no program based around wikis for year 7 and 8. A short, small wiki activity may be appropriate for year 7 or 8 in term 4 after year 12 have left when they could have a series of lessons scheduled into a computer room but with the number of classes on the same line, staggered timing and management of project duration would need to be closely monitored.

Additionally, the content I attempted in my trial was poorly suited to a wiki and poorly integrated with other teaching and learning activities. The science content that I think is particularly suited to presentation and discussion in a wiki includes: energy and energy transformations; natural disasters; types of biotechnology; evidence for evolution; body systems; and adaptations of organisms. These are easily broken down into categories that have similar formats and levels of work for each group.

This term I will trial a wiki to be used with my year 9 in the Disease topic. I plan to have each group (2-3) research a common disease of their choosing. To scaffold their initial choice, I will provide them with a suggested list and also record what they choose (whether on the list or not) to make sure each group is researching a different disease (otherwise, I suspect all will do herpes 😉 ). Each group will then research and upload to their own page pictures and information the cause, symptoms, transmission and treatment over a couple of lessons, on their DER laptops, in class. In the second stage of the topic, students will view the pages of other groups and list at the bottom of the page whether they (or anyone they know) have had each disease. They will also be asked to check whether their symptoms and treatment agree with what is on the page.

I think that although this is a very traditional activity for the Disease topic often done as a poster, using a wiki will benefit students in a number of ways. Firstly, using a wiki may engage students more than a poster. Heafner and Friedman (2008) have noted that wikis facilitated a pedagogical shift from traditional teacher-centred teaching to more active learning resulted in increased student engagement, motivation and deeper learning. Based on my observations with year 7, I think they will perform to a higher level if they know that their wiki is a live website. Students will also be able to edit their work and other’s more easily which facilitates a higher standard of work and a co-construction of knowledge. Davies et al. (2011) suggested that wikis may offer a new approach to assessment ‘as’ learning as well as assessment for and/or of learning. Properly scaffolded, wiki creation as an assessment may develop students’ capacity to be self-aware and self monitoring above and beyond the essential requirements of the formal learning activity and develop learning skills. The students must manage the task by collaborating and deciding who is doing what and when on the wiki because most wiki platforms (I will use Wikispaces) have the limitation that if more than one at a time person is editing a page, the version that goes live is often different to what is expected. Further co-construction of knowledge occurs when they are required to add their own personal experience of each common disease to other groups’ pages. Additionally, as Wikipedia is one of the most heavily reference information sources I come across in assignments, I hope to extend my students critical literacy skills and help them to realise that Wikipedia is NOT like an encyclopaedia, with an editor and publisher, but is a live wiki. Past discussions with all high school year groups at about this point have shown that my students are unfamiliar with wikis and have poor critical literacy skills. Finally, I hope that the construction of a wiki will help to develop both their general and digital literacy skills.

As a teacher, the individual logins allow me to monitor more closely what students are contributing to the collaborative task. I can also edit pages easily, or ask students to edit pages, to correct any scientific mistakes before they are viewed by others. The moderation and permission which I use can allow me to moderate the additions of other students so that the wiki doesn’t just become a graffiti wall – a problem I have had in the past where students are allowed to comment on posters in a more anonymous setting.

Information Literacy & DIIGO in Research

Currently, all year groups undertake research projects in science. Teachers generally scaffold the content required and often will discuss referencing but there is little real focus on information literacy. DIIGO and the use of annotated bibliographies and webpages provides a potential vehicle for this.

Through the co-mentoring program at the school, I became aware that our HSIE faculty heavily scaffold digital literacy in their year 10 research project by a several stage submission process, the second stage of which (after question development) is an annotated bibliography. They used paper forms which need to be signed off on, which their students often became annoyed (“why can’t we just cut and paste the URLs? They’re too hard to write”).

Additionally, the teacher was continuously running around the room, trying to see web pages and offer help with many students waiting. Towards the end of the lesson, students started sending emails to themselves with many cut and pasted URLS because they were working on the library computers and could not book mark pages for later use. I thought that this HISIE project was a great idea but that there must be a better way of managing it.

A week or two later, through research for Assignment 1 in CLN647, I learnt about DIIGO  through Alvey et al. (2011). DIIGO is a free social bookmarking which allows annotations/notes and highlighting. On any computer with internet access, you can access your book marks webpages. I hope to incorporate annotated bibliographies and similar in most computer research assignments but get students and teachers to set up DIIGO accounts. An example might be that students would find 5 webpages relevant to their assignment, highlight the important parts, add one annotate with the citation/reference and another annotation with their assessment of the reliability and validity of the information on the page. They would share it with their teacher (and possibly the whole class) for feedback and submission.


Mobile Devices

Cook et al. (2011) asserted that mobile phones should be viewed as new cultural resources that are a ubiquitous and almost essential part of everyday life for most people. They argue that phones should be included in lessons and curriculum. We can assume that students have access to a phone and that the phones a minimum have a range of basic functions when designing our programs. Using the assumption that students will have their own mobile device that can be combined with computer access through DER laptops or computer rooms, there are a number of innovative technologies that can be incorporated into our teaching practice to promote engagement and participation in Science.

I would estimate that at least 90% of students have access to mobile phones in class with the capacity to photograph, record footage and sound as well as play mp3 files. I would further estimate that 20% seem to have access to a smart phone and this number will increase as parents provide more ‘hand me downs’ with contract renewals and upgrades. There may be a range iphones and android (and other platforms) smart phones, so it may be difficult to recommend any single app for in-class use. However, students can be made aware of and encouraged to use free science apps in assignments or homework with appropriate choices. For example, everyone could record the change in the position of stars, constellations and planets change over a week/month and students with access could use Google Sky map (Android, free) to identify astronomical bodies.

My greatest interest is in how we can use smart phones in geographical and temporal data. Currently, I run a series of lessons every year in the bushland on school property identifying flora and fauna of significance and compare it to previous years results. The students have high levels of engagement in this as they believe their findings have value and will be used in conservation of this environment. Smart phones may be able to assist in: photographing organisms; identification of organisms; and GPS geotagged, time dated photos of vegetation along a transect which could provide a virtual layer to help us understand ecological gradients, succession and responses to disturbance. This may be particularly useful in determining, for instance, whether to back burn the area.

There are also several Citizen Science projects that our students could be participating in via smart phone apps and webpages. Recently featured on ABC Radio Nation, for example, is The Cockatoo Wingtag Project which uses a free iphone app, Facebook and/or a webpage to collect information on the distribution and behaviour of Sulfur Crested Cockatoos in Sydney. Another example is the Atlas of Living Australia which uses volunteers to collect information on Australian biodiversity.

Even most basic mobile phones can be used to record and listen to ‘podcasts’ students make on a topic. For example students could be given an assignment where they make a 3 minute ‘health report’ or editorial-style comments about a particular type of biotechnology (IVF, GM, cloning etc) and discuss what it is and why it should or should not be encourage in society. This is not a new pedagogy or technology but podcasting has not been used very much in my school, to my knowledge, and the use of mobile phones will increase the accessibility and ease of implementation. Mechanisms for sharing and submitting files will need to be carefully considered, however, if using a mobile device, for both privacy and logistic reasons.

Finally, we can and should use photos taken by mobile phones in our pedagogical practice. For example, frequently students in year 12 chemistry make parallax errors in reading measurements from thermometers and measuring cylinders. This skill should have been learn in year 7 and regularly practice throughout junior science but due to the chaotic nature of lab work and the number of students requiring attention, teachers often do not pick up on bad measuring practices to correct them. If a photo of readings was taken teachers and/or other group members could easily confirm the accuracy and validity of the measurement recorded.



Above are just a few ideas and tools available, generally based on Web 2.0 ideas. Web 2.0 was the buzz-word and communication framework suggested almost a decade ago (Reilly, 2005). When writing science programs for the new syllabus, it is important to realise that mobile devices and a social Web 3.0 (O’Connell, 2011) may provide the communication framework of the next decade. Through research into new tools, technologies and innovative pedagogies and then through trial and reflection we may enhance our teaching practice and programs in the future.


Alvey, T., Phillips, N., Bigelow, E., Smith, B., Pfaff, E., Colt, W., Leander, K., Dalton, B. & Ma, J. (2011) From I-Search to iSearch 2.0 English Teaching: Practice and Critique 10(4): 139 – 148

Beach, R. & O’Brien, D. (2008). Teaching popular culture texts in the classroom. In D. Leu, J. Coiro, M. Knobel, C. Lankshear (Eds.). Handbook of research on new literacies (pp. 775-804). London: Routledge.

Cook, J., Pachler, N. & Bachmair, B. (2011). Ubiquitous mobility with mobile phones: A cultural ecology for mobile learning. E-Learning and Digital Media 8(3), 181-195.

Davies, A., Pantzopoulos, K. and Gray, K. (2011) Emphasising assessment ‘as’ learning by assessing wiki writing assignments collaboratively and publicly online Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 27(Special issue, 5): 798-812

Heafner, T.L.  & Friedman, A.M. (2008): Wikis and Constructivism in Secondary Social Studies: Fostering a Deeper Understanding, Computers in the Schools 25:3-4, 288-302

Knobel, M. and Lankshear, C. (2009) Digital Literacies. Wikis, Digital Literacies, and Professional Growth. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 52(7): 631–634

O’Connell, J. (2011) Web 3.0: preparing our students for tomorrow’s world. Part 2 Scan 30(4): 37-42

O’Reilly, T. (2005), What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software (accessed August 2012)

Electronic Game Use. A Critical Reflection.


First of all, despite my best intentions to do a NOT to do a long post on the use computer games in learning, I’ve ended up doing one any way because I feel this area, more than so many other has great potential in teaching but too often we consider the positives and negatives from within a comfortable box.

Looking at Week 9’s references and the subsequent posts by others in this subject (see below), I found myself failing to use critical thinking as I was confronted by the beautiful shiny pedagogies and game base learning opportunities. Because I was so taken by the good side of games, as advocated by the literature and readings, I feel I need to add balance.


Games and play are a vital part of children’s cognitive development (Berk 2000). But electronic games (computer or video games) are more ubiquitous than ever and are marketed heavily. ACMA (2008) found that 23% of children aged between 8 and 17 years play online games with other players while 43% are involved in other electronic gaming. The results showed that younger children (34%) played more offline games than older children (12%). Older teenagers (15 – 17 years) were playing more games online against other players (37%) (ACMA 2008)

Listening to all the You Tube clips and reading various posts, it occurred to me that an important idea of pedagogical techno-speak was missing from discussion of the benefits of computer games – Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development model (Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2009).


Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (2009)


Computer games have been said to provide a safe environment for attempt and failure (Salen 2009), a virtual place where the risk of embarrassment is less than face-to-face activities (Duong, 2012). Salen (2009) stated that game designers are always aware of who are they designing for and consider what the gamer should have already have (knowledge, tools, skills) and what the need to gain for following problem when creating a problem in the game. They scaffold each problem to create and appropriate tension between the level of challenge and the level of knowledge/tools/skills available. Salen (2009) adds that kids know that games are designed so they can be successful and that they do not always know this about school work.

Basically, children are confident that the level of challenge and competence is scaffolded appropriately – after all it is the only way the games stay engaging and the company makes money. But they are not so confident in our education system using good pedagogies. L Maybe we need better marketing too.



Salen (2009) and Gee (2011) identified that computer games have inbuilt ongoing assessment and feedback. As teachers, we are aware that ongoing assessment of and for learning is invaluable and prompt feedback is vital to students learning. Gee (2011) compared learning a maths topic at school and learning through Halo, saying that we might expect a test at the end of a school topic but not at the end of a game. He suggests we trust the design and learning in Halo more. However another way looking at this is that Halo embeds the test and may even be considered to BE the test. Salen (2009) acknowledged, additionally, that there can be issues in terms of appreciating individual and group contributions to collaborative games.


Students are often more engaged when playing a game than in a traditional classroom setting (Bradford 2010, Salen 2009, Gee 2011, Ladley and Ladley, 2012). A number of factors contribute to this including the design and scaffolding (discussed above) as well as the multimodal nature of games and the narratives provided (Beavis, 2012). I feel that narrative is what is often lacking in high school topics in many KLAs which seem to be content rather than context driven.

Gee (2011), Salen (2009) and Tachau (2012) suggested that gaming encourages the development of problem solving and critical thinking skills. Gee (2011) also suggested that computer games encourage deeper learning with skills acquired persisting and being of greater depth than might be taught in a traditional classroom.

Salen (2009) suggested that games can be very social and can build relationships between siblings. Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) in particular can create social communities (Salen 2009). At the University of Indiana, one subject is designed around an MMO where students create an avatar, work in a guild for team projects, get experience points and level up rather than get a grade – although it is teaching game design (Hechinger Report 2011).

Tachau (2012) identified the many things he has learnt from playing an MMO. This included socialising, engaging in a community, cooperation and co-regulation, as well as self regulation and balancing familial obligations against leisure time.

Games can also teach content, especially in history based games such as Civilisation or Total War. I use Pandemic II whenever I teach disease OR evolution. It contains content about disease transfer, vectors, antibiotics and vaccination while emphasising the balance between severity of symptom and contagion, as well as the importance of mutation. Tachau (2012) outlined how he learnt content about World War II from a MMO from tanks, to strategies and how, ultimately the war was won through factories [although he wrongly implied US factories, when primarily it accepted as being the Russian factories].

Subrahmanyan et al. (2000) informs us that cognitive research suggests that playing computer games can help enhance children’s computer literacy because it increases children’s ability to read and visualize images in three-dimensional space and track multiple images simultaneously. Beavis (2012) also discussed how gaming can develop digital and textual literacies, including understanding of points of view, character history and types of narratives.




I love using computer games to teach! I wish I could do it more. But within my school we have limitations and inequalities around the technologies that would facilitate a greater incorporation of game based learning.

Many games, even educational ones are blocked by the NSW government. While you can apply to have something unblocked, it can take a long time and such an application can be rejected or fail to work well. Many times, I’ve thrown out a great lesson idea when I discovered that an educational game was blocked.

To make matters more difficult, what is blocked for teachers is DIFFERENT to what is blocked for students. This means that without finding a student volunteer to test a website, I often have no idea whether a games will be blocked or not.

Additionally, DER Federal Government provided laptops that are used in NSW public school by years 9 – 12 are protected and NO software can be loaded or installed.

We do have 4 computer rooms, but they do not have enough computers for every student (at least a half of the class will need to ‘work together’ on one computer  – which is very tedious when playing most games) and the computer rooms are mostly unavailable due to the large number of timetables lessons in them. The library also has 20 computer terminals but there is great competition for their use. As a result year 7 and 8 have greatly reduced access to computers compared to current year 9 – 12 students.

At home, students have a variety of access experiences and options but I feel, given the socio-economic demographic in South Western Sydney and the large number of LBOTE students, support for educational gaming at home would be limited.


“Hi. My Name Is Nadia … and I’m A Recovering Game-Aholic.

It has been 11 years since I have installed a game on my personal computer.”

I am not new to games. I played on commode 64s in the early 80s and had to weaned myself off various computer games (PC and Nintendo) as I undertook my HSC and undergraduate uni because I DO have an addictive tendency to loose myself in a game, any game, and ignore the world at large. I was known to play even Tetris for many hours straight and Civilisation for days (with no sleep).

Anything that is ‘engaging’ can reach the point of being additive or developing a ‘dependence’. Griffiths (2010:303) surveyed undergraduate students (n=144) and looked at evidence of students’ dependence, including:

“(i) they played computer games for long periods of time,
(ii) they found it difficult to stop playing computer games,
(iii) computer game playing ever conflicted with sleep, work, eating or social life,
(iv) they would rather play computer games than socialize,
(v) they ever got moody and irritable if they were unable to play,
(vi) they ever got verbally or physically aggressive whilst playing, and
(vii) they ever lied to those around them as to how much time they spent playing on computer games.”

Griffiths (2010) found that high frequency gamers, scored highly on the dependence criteria above and exhibited more social anxiety than lower frequency gamers. However, the direction and causation of this relationship is not clear and Griffiths (2010) concluded that excessive game use is not the same as addictive game use (see criteria above).

Tachau (2012) suggested that it is important that gamers learn self regulation and discipline. I believe that this is easier for some than others, and easier with some games than other. I know I may have a problem stopping so my strategy is to not start. If we introduce mandatory gaming into school classrooms (which I have done, by giving my students a lesson where the entire period is playing a science based game), we remove choices and may push susceptible students into situations which may prove problematic for them.



[Yes, I’m a science nerd, get used to it English types. ]

Some of my WOW (World of Warcraft) friends have RSI from gaming. I have RSI (problems with scared muscle tissue, compensatory muscle development and tendonitis) officially from excessive mouse base computer use in a previous job. It flairs up regularly during exam and report season and when I am half way through typing up assignments.

I’m not unusual. There has been plenty of time for us to examine the effects of electronic gaming on children’s development, beginning with video games in the 1970s, followed by the growing popularity of stand-alone game systems like Nintendo from the 1980s (by 1999, in the USA, an estimated 67% of households with children had a computer game console) and now with a combination of computer, console and games on various mobile devices (Subrahmanyan et al., 2000). Gillespie (2002) reviewed laboratory studies on vision, case reports of game-related tendonitis and ergonomic analyses of classroom computers, and suggested that children using computers and electronic games may have increased risks of such physiological problems. The American Optometrist Association (2010) also lists the various ways that computer usage can affect children’s sight and implies that an underlying problem is that computers and consoles are physically designed for adult usage. Subrahmanyan et al. (2000) also linked computers and electronic games to an increased risk of obesity (as stationary games displace more active physical games) and seizures in children prone to photosensitive epilepsy.

When we think about incorporating games into our teaching, games which ‘engage’ students for long periods of times – much more than other computer based activities, we must be careful of the ergonomics and duration to reduce physiological risks.


Other considerations

ACMA (2008) found that more boys than girls played games online with other players and that boys are more likely to have exclusive access to game consoles at home. By using computer games in the class room, we must remember that not everything will appeal to all students and that statistically at least, many games are designed to appeal more to boys.

I know my teaching practice has improved since we got rid of chalkboards and data-projectors in some of our labs (only last year!) and since I started to differentiate work by giving year 9 and 10 students activity choices via their laptops. But I feel guilty about doing this because, as an environmental science graduate, I am mindful of climate change and the coal based source of most electricity in Australia. There is a simple correlation between energy use and carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. I, like so many teachers, increase carbon dioxide pollution in order to use technology in the classroom.

Additionally, access to games also determines what we can use. Do we have the technology or money to buy off the shelf games? In our current education system, at a secondary level especially, we generally need to justify a game with content as well as skill outcomes. Frequently the awesome and engaging good game just has too little obvious relevance to our content. We resort to using poorly designed and unengaging educational freeware and students are left suffering from a poor pedagogical approach again. It is not teachers who have the power to change this but the community and government who dictate what we teach.

Priebatsch (2010) suggested that the future is a game layer built ‘on top of the world’. Schell (2010) extrapolates and predicts that sensors and data sharing will lead to games ‘invading’ our everyday lives more and more (for example, networked shoes that give bonus points in life for walking a certain distance each day, sponsored by your health fund) which would have real world links (eg. tax benefits).

However, a lot of free online games, mentioned above, are paid for by somebody. How? Schell (2010), a game designer, in a Gruen Planet style analysis of who benefits and how, suggests that many games use psychological hooks and theories to engage people and then make money. Many of the games that we, as teachers, are likely to use are may be deliberately engaging and manipulating to make money or achieve some sort of outcome (eg. data mining).



Using computer games in teaching can be a valuable way of developing content knowledge and skills but there are a number of considerations teachers should reflect on if doing so.



American Optometric Association (2010) Impact of Computer Use on Children’s Vision; 2010 (Accessed October 2012)

Australian Communications and Media Authority (2008). Internet use and social networking by Young people. Media and Communications in Australian Families Series, No.1 September. (Accessed October 2012)

Beavis, C. (2012).  “Video Games in the Classroom: Developing Digital Literacies.” Practically Primary, 17(1), 17 – 20. (Accessed October 2012)

Berk, L. (2000). Child Development (5th ed) Allyn and Bacon, Boston

Bradford, C. (2010). Looking for my corpse: video games and player positioning. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy 33(1), 54- 64. Retrieved from  (Accessed October 2012)

Duong, B. (2012) Computer Games and Game Based Learning (Accessed October 2012)

Gee, J. (2011) PBS VIDEO. Digital Media – New Learners Of The 21st Century. Extended Interview: Dr. James Gee. (Accessed October 2012)

Gillespie, RM. (2002) “The physical impact of computers and electronic game use on children and adolescents, a review of current literature.” Work. 2002;18(3):249-59.

Griffiths, M.D. (2010) Computer game playing andsocial skills: a pilot study. Aloma: Revista de Psicologia, Ciències de l’Educació i de l’Esport, 27, 301-310. (Accessed October 2012)

Hechinger Report (2011) Q&A with Lee Sheldon: Turning the classroom into a multiplayer game Independent Education News (Accessed October 2012)

Ladley, P. and Ladley, S. (2012) Outstanding Lessons and Games Based Learning (Accessed October 2012)

Priebatsch, S. (2010) Seth Priebatsch: The game layer on top of the world. (Accessed October 2012)

Salen, K. (2009)Big thinkers. Katie Salen on Learning with Games. (Accessed October 2012)

Schell, J. (2010) When games invade real life DICE SUMMIT (2010)  (Accessed October 2012)

Subrahmanyam, K., Kraut, R.E., Greenfield, P.M., and Gross, E.F. (2000) “The Impact of Home Computer Use on Children’s Activities and Development” The Future Of Children And Computer Technology 10(2) (Accessed October 2012)

Tachau, L. (2012) Can Online Gaming be Educational? Lewis Tachau at TEDxStudioCityED (Accessed October 2012)

Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (2009) VELS Level 1 and 2 – Zone of Proximal Development and Scaffolding. (Accessed October 2012)





Implications for The Policy and Practice of Byod in the School Library

The school library needs to reach out to students in ways that are innovative, unexpected and information rich (O’Connell). Bring Your Own Device [ Byod]  is a means by which we do not have to ask students to switch off or even unplug when they walk through our library doors. The mobile device as a cultural resource means that the Library can offer an ‘always on’ presence (O’Connell).  Could the possibility of 1 degree separation between the student and their research or reading inquiry become a reality? With immediate access to resources that are relevant and up-to-date Byod might be a viable solution (De Witt, 2012) . Facebook and Twitter are obvious places for innovation in the virtual library space. Likewise QR codes could prove to be a quick digital access point in the library to media of all kinds, and Apps are providing ubiquitous access to digital content without needing a computer (O’Connell).

Where reading was once a solitary pleasure, the advent of mobile devices such as iphones, ipads and e-readers make it increasingly easy to interact with the ideas of ‘followers’ and friends. Even interacting with authors through Twitter and Skype enrich the experience of literature (Moore 2012).  Darcy Moore suggests “Reading is becoming social” and the library is the place to inform and encourage these communities.

Digital and mass convergent media will provide new ways to record and analyse history, society and culture. The library, as well as being an archive of material from personal collections and community history projects, can participate in digitisation projects around the nation (O’Connell). The library can  also help make available images and resources held in government departments, historical societies, museums, galleries and by individuals for students’ needs. By digitizing them and expanding the collections with resources that have been born digital (originating in digital form) the library is the hub of information learning. (O’Connell)

With this increased level of access, there are areas of consideration before opening the WiFi to student use. The library that has allowed students to bring their own devices may sound progressive and relevant to the culture but without the proper infrastructure  it will only look good on paper. De Witt ( 2012) makes a few critical suggestions

  • Is the library infrastructure prepared?

For example, is the school’s hardware and software is prepared to handle things like the sudden increase of IP addresses with all the new devices logged on to the network?  Also, how will the sudden increase in devices affect bandwidth? It is critical to take stock of the network to see if BYOD is going to enhance access not degrade access.

  • Does the school have the proper wireless equipment?
  • Is there secure access for students/staff?

Health and Safety

These guidelines are important. They let students know that they are welcome to use their own devices, but instruction and educational use is the primary reason for that access.


  • Is the library prepared for when students break the code of conduct?
  • Are there present school policies counter to what BYOD means?
  • Do they ban the very devices that students are supposed to use?
  • What does BYOD mean? There are so many devices that students can use and if it is too open-ended, some students will take liberties that they shouldn’t. [Laptop? iPad? Tablet? Smartphone?]


  • What about the students who cannot afford the devices?
  • If the school requires or encourages devices, they need a plan for those students who cannot afford them
  • How will teachers receive professional development around BYOD? Not all staff understand how it works.
  • Many teachers want to allow students to bring their own devices but they do not always understand good pedagogy that underpins the concept.

And finally

Outreach to parents

  • How are parents being informed that their children can BYOD? Parents need to know what their children are doing with the expensive devices they bring to school.
  • What is the policy if a device gets lost or stolen? Is school like a hotel? They’re not responsible for lost or stolen items?


In conclusion,  Byod could be a minefield of misuse and distraction from learning unless policy that is clear and procedure is in place and effective. The school library needs to reach out to their students in ways that are innovative, unexpected, and information rich. for two main reasons.  First, libraries are using social media to convey messages, and make access to resources relevant and up-to-date. But most importantly, digital media has changed the way libraries interact with students, providing new ways to record history, society and culture.


Cook J Pachler N Bachmair B. (2011). Ubiquitous Mobility with Mobile Phones: a cultural ecology for mobile learning. e-Learning and Digitial Media Vol8 Number 3, 181-195.

De Witt, P. (2012). Are Schools Prepared to Let Students BYOD? Education Week.


The Mobile Phone in The Classroom Is No Longer On ‘Silent’

After several incidents involving student bullying via Facebook,  the principal has had enough. At the next secondary assembly he talks firmly and simply to the student body- He will not tolerate cyber bullying and there will be serious consequences for those who engage in this sort of anti-social behaviour. To leave no doubt as to the veracity of his warning, he nails a mobile phone to a one of the wall posts!  

image source:cell-phone-plans-for-kids-21

These dramas are played out in schools worldwide. Individualisation promoted by mobility and media convergence- someone’s uncensored outburst, disclosure or hatred, posted for a mass audience who has little context or connection to the situation- finds its target by traumatising or destroying another human being. In addition, there is the ‘always on’ banal chat of SMS or Twitter which seems to distract and destabilize from school-based modes of learning. Is another device what we really need to enhance teaching and learning? I approached the readings for this topic with some scepticism however what I have seen in my school and now understand from research, is that mobile devices are essential cultural resources and that schools need to find adequate curricular functions where mobile phones can be used as meaning-making tools (Cook J Pachler N Bachmair B, 2011). In best practice, teacher-guided instruction is not the perfect framework for all learning situations. The mobile mass communication context, supported by Web 2.0 and a plethora of apps, has tremendous potential for ‘situated learning’ with authentic tasks characterised by apprenticeship, collaboration, reflection, coaching, multiple practice and articulation. (McLellan, 1991) A ‘user’ can generate specific content with the use of a mobile device. After creating an image, text or video on a phone, it can be published almost immediately on the internet via YouTube, Flickr or Facebook. Micro blogs can be posted via Twitter instantaneously and be followed in a conversation thread. This emergence of ‘user- generated contexts,’ is tailored to the needs of the individual as well as the conversational community and strengthens aspects like articulation and reflection. This range of new mobile mass communications [social sites and media platforms] is known as the mobile complex (Cook J Pachler N Bachmair B, 2011) and the mobile phone is the physical key unlocking the learning potential of the mobile complex.

The most important reason schools need to find adequate curricular functions where mobile phones can be used as meaning-making tools is because mobile phones are a cultural resource for young people. Schools have always had a cultural responsibility in moulding attitudes and approaches to learning. A socio-cultural ecological approach to learning through individualised mobile, convergent media is the cultural resource of 21st century learners. Should schools continue to maintain a position of culturally conservative resistance?  Cultural responsibility requires a framework of new learning options for young people and especially for ‘at risk’ students. As the ‘third screen’, the mobile phone is a learning tool that can enhance ‘active learning’ for young people. The control or context of the user is ‘authentic’ location-based tasks where new learning is embedded into everyday life and the contexts of formal learning and informal learning, the teacher-guided world and the domain of everyday and entertainment are assimilated. The cultural responsibility of schools is to model the skills necessary to critically evaluate social, cultural and technological change. Schools are no longer the storehouses of knowledge and are certainly not the only place where learning can occur or be assessed but they can adopt concepts such as situated learning or collaborative knowledge building to help young people develop meaning of facts and events.  

In conclusion, although mobile phones are entangled with a culture of superficial small talk and world-wide entertainment, schools need to find adequate curricular functions where mobile phones can be used as meaning-making tools for two main reasons.  First, mobile phones can enhance active learning especially for ‘at risk’ students.  But most importantly, schools have a cultural responsibility and mobile phones are a cultural resource for young people.



 21st Century learners

Cook J Pachler N Bachmair B. (2011). Ubiquitous Mobility with Mobile Phones: a cultural ecology for mobile learning. e-Learning and Digitial Media Vol8 Number 3, 181-195.

McLellan, H. (1991). Virtual environments and situated learning. Multimedia Review Vol. 2 No. 3.

Twilight Review


Read or watch a popular text and review it

I was very interested to read Twilight as friends (who are ‘middle aged’ and would not normally read this genre) had commented how addictive the series is and how “as soon as you finish the first one you want to run out and buy the next one”.  So having to write this blog post was the perfect opportunity to spend some time reading for pleasure, which I love to do!I was only able to get through about a third of the book before this review was due (so obviously I wasn’t as addicted as my friends!). Reading Twilight evoked for me memories of high school and of first love. While reading the story I had built a great picture in my mind of the attraction between Bella and Edward prior to Bella discovering that Edward is a vampire.

I then watched the Twilight movie, and felt that it did not convey the attraction between Edward and Bella nearly as well as the book.

I feel that the book was more captivating as the reader was completely immersed in Bella’s life and her romance with Edward, so that as the vampire information unfolded, the reader incorporated that information more naturally into the image of Edward and Bella’s relationship. In contrast, the movie moves quickly into the vampire-related issues and action.

I normally prefer reading books with realistic storylines (my favourite genres are autobiographies and travel memoirs), however I did enjoy reading Twilight because of the fact that the basic premise of the book is the characters’ feelings for one another.

Twilight is a book that would appeal to a wide demographic of female readers, because it is based on a romance enduring despite obstacles and hardships.  This theme has timeless appeal. I asked my 17 year old niece if she preferred the Twilight books or the movies and she responded “definitely the books, because they were so addictive”. It seems the addictive nature of the books may also appeal to all age groups.


Watchin’, Talkin’ and Playin’ A Game


Today, I hung out with my Lab Assistant’s injured son (year 8).  The things we do to find something to blog about ;p.

[Thank you, Thank you, Thank you B— and L— for saving my assignment after something else fell through. ]

I talked about Battlefield 3 with L—, watched him play and even had a quick go myself before having to go back to playing “mummy” to my toddler.

Unlike my last interview with students about books, I came more prepared and have given L— the questions, got him to jot down some answers and have grammatically edited the spoken language used etc so reads more like written language… trust me, we learn more in this post than with D— and M—



What game are you playing?

Battlefield 3


What console are you using?

Sony Playstation 3


So you look like a character, who are you?

My character is Sargent Miller


What are the rules?

You can not shoot your team mates. There are some areas which are out of bounds


How did you work out how to play and what the rules were?

The first time you are playing the game, you can read the booklet which gives you all the controller’s moves and motions.

Also there are guides and maps in the main menu.

In campaign mode, there are few directions as you go through the game itself.

Generally most people who play this game already know how to play it as it is number 3 in the series.


So, what is it about?

It is a war between the Americans and the Russians in the past. I play on the American team and we are in different settings with old buildings blown up and barren land.

We have to kill all the Russians by cutting them up, shooting them with many different weapons or blowing them up using grenades.

Once a player from the other team is dead, you can go over to them and collect their weapons from the ground and keep for yourself. If you do get shot by the other team, a team mate can come and respawn you or you can commit suicide so you get your whole health back when you respawn.


Do you play the game with other people?

Yes, you play with other people on online.

I play this way quite frequently.

Campaign mode is a one player game only.


You’re online?

I mainly play online. Because the missions in campaign are not extremely hard to get through and you finish the game quite quickly. Online playing against all different levels of people make it much more exciting and interesting. You need to have full concentration as there is so much going on around you.


It looks pretty hard? How do you even work out what buttons to press?

For beginners, it is rather hard.  For more experienced players it is rather easy as you have memorised exactly where each button is and each buttons purpose.

Your reaction speed is critical on winning this game. Your reflexes need to be very fast as it is partial seconds between life and death in this game.


You seem to need to focus on a lot of things…

Yeah. I initially focused lots on controller but not now as I am use to where the buttons are.

This game is in 1st person so you have no idea what is coming up behind or next to you… sometimes it takes effort just to keep your ‘vision’ [view of view] in the right direction as you move quickly through the game.

I have to watch out for other players on enemy teams and make sure I’m not shooting at my own team mates.

I also have to keep an eye on the map for incoming enemies and aiming to shoot whilst I’m moving around.


What are your strategies?

Strategy 1:  be a sniper and the best way to play this position is to find a very well hidden and hard place to get at and camp (meaning staying still hidden from other players in the one place).

Strategy 2: be a soldier and use all the different weapons. Run around and jump climb all over the place hiding behind things as you go shooting as many people as you can before getting shot yourself.  This rapidly increases your score as you get a lot of kills but the risk of getting killed is much greater.


So, is it just scoring to work out who wins?

No. You win the game in campaign mode by your team getting the majority of kills against the Russians, but you have to run around and shoot all the enemies and go to certain check points, there is a map and that shows you which way to go. Completing all your missions will complete the game.


Do you talk with your friends about Battlefield 3, comparing strategies or anything?

I don’t really talk to people outside of the game about the game.

I play with my brother, who also has the game online and we communicate by yelling across to each other.

But same it’s only for direction, survival and help.


Have you looked online or elsewhere for ‘cheats’ or advice?

Sometimes I watch youtube to get ideas for different moves or hiding places.

I have not used any cheats for this game.  Although there is a site called PS3 cheats which you can look up that does tell you codes to use.  I don’t even know if this game is one that has cheats.


Do you find Battlefield 3 relaxing or stressful?

This game is extremely stressful when you play it online because there are so many people playing – all with different skills – and most of the players are more advanced than me … and it being a 15+ rating, most players are adults.

I also have to try and block out some of the conversation that is going on over the head sets, different languages and pitches of people’s voices.

But I don’t use my headset all the time as it is rather annoying.

But if you play on campaign mode it is more relaxing, you are only dealing with yourself and not other human players. It’s much quieter and the missions are way easier to get through.


There isn’t much to read much in this game, is there?

No, you don’t really read anything whilst you are playing the game. Only names of other players that are above the character.

There are can be moments where you do send messages to other players and read messages sent to you on the game via your ps3.

Other than that, only in the options and to change settings.


What’s in the options?

In the options, you get all the stats of your weapons and players.


What sort of person do you think would like this game?

People who are interested in army combat games and enjoy a challenge.  It has a MA rating, so young adults.  There are very few female players online.


Who wouldn’t like Battlefield 3?

People who are not into violence or do not like playing 1st person games.


What do you think you are learning from it?

You learn a lot about the kinds of weapons and vehicles that are used in the military. It increases your reflexes and focus. If playing in campaign mode, it increases your patience.




YUCK! I don’t like first person shooter games, they make me feel sick. I thought Battlefield 3 was going to be more like TOTAL WAR or CIVILIZATION –  games you play from above. I guess, at heart, I’m still a platform game kinda girl. ;p

However, it is clear that L— gets a lot from this game. Apart from reciting specs of weapons seen at a glance, he seems realistic in saying that he has improved his focus, motivation, patience, coordination and reactions speed by playing Battlefield 3.










Youth spaces in public libraries

Visit your local library and evaluate the current spaces being provided for young people

The following is an evaluation of the spaces provided for children and young people at the local library where I am currently doing work experience. The library is located in a township of 3500 people and is well utilised by the community.

Evaluation of Physical Library Space

Junior Fiction area

The junior fiction area is a bright and inviting space with books displayed in book stands and book boxes. There is also a games cupboard from which games and toys can be borrowed. Sofas and rugs create a cosy atmosphere and parents are often see reading to their children and playing with the toys with their children for extended periods of time. The library runs weekly sessions for young children –  Baby Rhyme Time for 0-3 years and Story and Craft Time for 3-5 years.

The Young Adults section of the library consists of ‘youth fiction’ titles housed on shelves and ‘youth magazines’ housed under bench seats. The area lacks appeal and only has one window seat which looks inviting for relaxing with a book or magazine. As the magazines are housed under the bench seats, they are difficult to see. The collection is quite limited in both size and variety. The challenge for the library staff remains in making adolescent patrons aware of additional titles which may appeal to them but are housed in the Adult Fiction section. The same challenge applies to magazines, as magazines that may appeal to teens such as sporting and cooking magazines are housed in the magazine section which is a completely separate to the youth area of the library.

Programs that are offered to teens are homework help and an annual market stall where young people can sell their art and craft work.

Suggestions for improving the youth area of the library could be adapted from the youth library space set up by Rockhampton Regional Council, verbYL.

The verbYL library space

  •  provides access to a wide range of cultural product important to youth –console games, internet gaming, messaging, music, books, magazines, graphic novels, comics, subscription tv.
  • provides opportunities for young people to become content creators as well as consumers, by providing industry standard creation software (Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver); skills workshops and opportunities for creativity (software workshops, arts workshops); and a place to display and disseminate their creative product (shopfront window, e-zine).
  • offers training courses in website design, digital photography, digital art, animation, and writing and poetry.

Evaluation of Library Web-Site

In contrast to the limited physical library space for teens at the library, the website pages on the library website are very comprehensive featuring links to book clubs, book lists and magazine lists for teens. The web-site pages do however  need to be re-designed so that they appeal more strongly to an adolescent audience. The pages are quite boring in appearance.

The challenge for public libraries lies in encouraging young people to access the library website. This is particularly important considering the transformation library participation and borrowing habits are undergoing due to the advent of e-books. Zichur et al. (2012) reported that patrons are visiting library branches less often and using the library website for book and audio downloads. Accordingly, patrons’ browsing habits are  moving from in-libray catalogues to on-line searches of library websites.


Burn, Debra. VerbYL: Yeppoon’s Unique Youth Lounge / Youth Library [online]. Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services, Vol. 20, No. 3, Sept 2007: 99-102. Availability: <;dn=781652551028994;res=IELHSS> ISSN: 1030-5033. [cited 24 Oct 12].

Zickhur, K., Rainie, L., Purcell, K. Madden, M. & Brenner, J. (2012, June 22). Libraries, patrons and e-books – summary of findings. PEW Internet.

Including Gaming in the Classroom

Play a video game and analyse the learning that takes place

For this activity I watched my son play ‘The Sims 2 Castaway’ playstation 2 game.

This was my first experience with gaming. I was very interested in this activity, as I have read fellow CLN 647 students’ blog posts about gaming and have become very impressed by the learning opportunities that they have identified in gaming. I can see benefits for including gaming within the classroom, as children have great enthusiasm for it. I can see particular potential for it to assist both children who are excelling academically and in need of extension, as well as students who are struggling academically and in need of extra motivation to engage in learning activities.

Description of ‘castaways’ game – your Sim (character) has been washed ashore on an unchartered island. You must ensure your survival by collecting and crafting items from around the island.

Learning Opportunities – Whilst playing the game I could identify many learning opportunities, particularly around the area of health education.

  • The sim must ensure that they fulfil their daily need for – sleep, chat, music, food, rest, recreation. This would be a perfect introduction to teaching children about healthy lifestyles.
  • The characters must find food from around the island. This would provide an opportunity to talk about healthy eating and the 5 food groups.

Skill Development

  • Skills of forward planning are developed in this game (collecting items as your Sim finds  them  around the island– e.g. collecting sticks and rope to make shelter, bridges etc. when needed).
  • Problem solving skills are developed. For example your Sim may need more protein so they will need to make a chicken trap to collect eggs.
  •  Goal setting skills are developed – your Sim must work through goals and tick them off as they achieve them  – goal setting for individuals or class as a whole

I asked my son what skills he feels that he is developing while playing the game and he replied, “patience, because you have to wait to find and build things”. This is a skill that I did not recognise during my observation of the game, thus it would be of benefit to ask students to reflect on the skills that they are developing as they engage with different computer games.

Whilst this game was played individually, I would be most interested in observing computer games in an on-line environment and also games that are designed to encourage the development of team building skills.

TV? I think that’s what I listened to …

As a predominantly city dwelling Gen Xer, it should be easy to talk about TV I watched… but I have found this post really difficult. Most of the TV I watched just doesn’t seem to have been very memorable. What I mostly remember are the popular shows (from PlaySchool and Sesame Street to Country Practice,Twin Peaks, X files, Buffy) that I just WASN’T interested in. The more I thought about this post, as it sat half finished, the more I realised that the TV was often on but mostly while I was doing other things – like reading a novel.

Reading other people’s posts and surfing the net reminded me more of the reruns I watched in first years of uni. Due big gaps in my timetable and close proximity of home to uni, I loved having the TV on in the background during the day while doing assignments and readings. It was then (about 1995 – 97 that I watched lots of A Country Practice from the 80s). I think mostly, by that age, I was already grown up, though.

[As I format this post, I have the TV on again in the background – cartoons again :)]

However, starting at the beginning…



I remember not liking Playschool, Sesame Street, Fat Cat or Romper Room as a pre-schooler. I did like Humphrey B Bear for a while. Years later, I recognized Glynn Nicholas in the Jon English production of the Pirates of Penzance, I discovered that he was and his singing was the reason I liked Humphrey. [Have  Pirates  since early primary, following exposure to music in the Pirate Movie].

I loved other singer… although I didn’t watch the shows they were on, I loved my Don Spencer and Patsy Biscoe records.

But what I really remember at this age and into about year 2 is the Little Golden Book RECORD collection my mum built for us. My brother and I each our own little plastic, easy to use record player and there was a record at the back of each book. We used to get up on Sunday mornings early and listen to these – not TV. This began my love of AUDIO BOOKS!



I loved Jim Henson stuff – Fraggle Rock, Muppet Show and Muppet Movies! Muppets and singing are way cool! Animaniacs also successfully engaged me.

[… I guess I’m seeing a pattern here,  I like music and audio … you’d think I was an audio learner except that I don’t process audio well and except for the fact I LOVE reading much more than TV (yr 2: fairytales; yr 3: myths and legends from around the world; yr 4: the Chronicles of Narnia & Roald Dahl; yr 5 + 6: finished school library including Tolkien, and most of my dad’s Sci Fi collection excluding some of the Heinlein… it was a bit too annoying).]

Otherwise, it was mostly Sci Fi and Fantasy cartoons and shows:

  • He-Man and later She-ra were pet favourites
  • Transformers
  • Astroboy
  • Ulysses 31
  • Greatest American Hero
  • Wonderwoman
  • Monkey Magic
  • Wombles

I also quite liked The Goodies (which I cringe at now… they are painfully puerile when I watch now), and M.A.S.H (I still this).

The World Around Us inspired a life long love of science and I still worship David Attenborough. My daughter follows in my foots steps.

[She made a good approximation of David “Attentenbra” at 14 months and loved watching Trials Of Life, Life Of Mammals and Life In The Undergrowth then J (not because I’m a controlling parent but because I am a science teacher watching these myself to make worksheets) … but now has come to be obsessed by more normal shows grandparents have shown her: Bananas in Pajamas, Sesame Street and Wiggles. I have countered with Tinga Tinga. ]



OMG! Grown up muppets! The Storyteller combined so many of my loves. Fantasy and history and muppets! I still love watching these on Youtube when I am procrastinating about my assignments. On the movie front Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Princess Bride were videos I watched again and again with different friends after taping off TV. These infiltrated my mind so that I answer questions of loved ones with “As you wish…”, date a boy with “eyes like the sea after a storm” and decades later, as I looked at my 1 month old daughter’s weirdly proportioned triangular face after illness, can’t help but utter “mmmm … Gelfling” in the creepy Skeksis voice or bursting into ” I saw my baby, cry hard as babe could cry“.

Black Adder! Loved this too. Generally disliked Rowan Atkinson’s visual comedy in Mr Bean but thought he was surprisingly hot as an Elizabethan (inspired me to watch backwards).

Weirdly, or maybe not given my other preferences, my most ‘religious’, regular and memorable TV were a bit unusual: Landline and ABC Open Learning. I started watching these when a geography teacher recommended them to me for study purposes and I started watching or recording these an watching them instead of doing ANY other study. It worked though… helped me get great marks in Aboriginal Studies and Geography in the HSC. [I still watch Landline most sundays]

Everything else is a bit of a blur… the things I was going to list, like Gargoyles, checking dates online, I  find I watched them at uni. I guess the difficulties I was having at home, travelling 1-2 hours across Sydney each day to stay with my grandmother after school, swimming and piano limited by TV watching. But I did listen to LOTS of radio and tapes on my walkman and read almost a novel a day and finished most of my school libraries fiction section by year 9. The travelling gave me a chance to collect library cards from all the libraries on the way.

 So, are you librarian wannabes out there REALLY the TV watchers implied in your posts?

Or were you all really ignoring the TV while curled up with a book in the corner of the lounge room while others watched it? Like me!


Engage Byod in your Teaching and Learning

Education is at a point where it must engage with the culture in significant and meaningful ways.

Photo: Louise Kennerley

HOWEVER, our IT department is a little stressed!  The pressure is on to connect Boyd [bring your own device] to the school network and there is a plethora of security and infrastructure issues that must be dealt with.

What about inappropriate material from student devices affecting the network?

What about inappropriate material that might be downloaded through the school network affecting students?

Who is responsible for technical issues on a student’s personal device that is being used at school?

Who is responsible for breakages or damage of personal devices being used at school?

How does IT manage the apps for school use and those belonging to the student?

What about issues of equity? Should every student have to own a mobile device to succeed at school?

It is the popularity and pervasive nature of these mobile devices in the culture that make it essential for educators to understand how to implement not just ‘apps for apps sake’ but apps that support good pedagogy. Devices once considered toys and entertainment now have the ability to be gateways to enriched learning opportunities that connect with the world of young people. Whilst as educators and particularly as TLs we can see where our pedagogy needs to go, the support personal that make the infrastructure possible, are seeing more of the challenges that open access potentially creates.

Where are the answers? Perhaps some of the trailblazers in incorporating mobile technology into their schools could comment on how it’s been done and the hazards to avoid. I recently attended a webinar on Netbox Blue  which appeared a comprehensive solution to some of our IT questions but  is it the best viable option for a small school operation? I would love to hear from other IT people’s experience.

In my quest for exploring what apps teachers are finding helpful to engage students and improve the depth of learning, I came across a site devoted to Blooms teaching taxonomy in the classroom using apps that are available. The list is constantly updated with contributors commenting on the suitability of the app for particular grades along with lesson plans.

Image source: Bloomsapps

While this list is by no means fully comprehensive, it may assist educators in getting started when implementing mobile devices in the classroom…oh but don’t forget with Byod comes responsibility! Is there a policy in place that supports the school sytem using Byod?