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.

 

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.

References

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: <http://search.informit.com.au.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/documentSummary;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. http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2012/06/22/libraries-patrons-and-e-books/

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.

Public Libraries Partnering with Local High Schools

Comment on potential applications for your potential workplace (Public Libraries) from learnings in weeks 6-11

 

Despite the fact that students’ lives are immersed with popular culture, schools have been slow to incorporate popular culture into the curriculum. Schools have retained traditional pedagogies and continue to concentrate on print-based literacies. Public Libraries are well positioned to provide alternative learning experiences for students, which may provide some bridging between the multi-modal literacy learning that students require, and are naturally immersed in, and that which is provided in schools.

Partnering Proposal (a) -blogging workshops

Public Libraries would partner with local schools to offer workshops to students to assist them in developing individual or group blog sites around students’ interest areas such as fashion, music, food, sport etc.  The students could choose if they would prefer to work independently or have the library staff act as an administrator of the blog site, providing input into the structure of the blog. The workshops would occur on a regular basis, so that students can discuss the progress of their blog, as well as seek any guidance and support that they may require. Blogs can enhance students’ confidence in stating a personal opinion while also building their resilience to the critique of others’ (O’Sullivan, 2012, p.206). It is with the development of the skills of confidence and resilience that support from the library staff would be most beneficial. Staff would be able to offer suggestions and positive feedback to students. Library staff could link students to community members, where possible, who share the student’s interest area.  This person could act as a mentor and give informed feedback on the blog site. (Appropriate processes would need to take place such as mentors having Blue Cards and students receiving parent permission for this ‘mentorship’ to take place). Public Libraries often have rich networks within the community from which they can draw.

Advantages of blogging for students

  • Blogging workshops   may help students to engage with learning activities. The Horizon Project (2012, p. 16) suggests that “the use of technology tools that are already familiar to students, project-based learning practices that incorporate real-life experiences and mentoring from community members are  practices that may increase student engagement”.
  •  An integral part of adolescence is the desire to shape a self-identity (O’Sullivan, 2012, p.192). Blogging allows students to experiment with self-expression and identity formation. If students so wish, this can be done in an anonymous manner with the use of an avatar.
  •  When blogging, students are able to present themselves in any way or through any persona that is desired and this can bring a sense of freedom and creative release (O’Sullivan, 2012).
  • Creating a blog site helps students to develop multi-modal literacies such as  “literacies for ’reading’ multimodal texts and new interpretive, creative and communicative skills” (O’Sullivan,2012,p.191).In the digital world that students now live, these skills are required in addition to the traditional literacy skills taught in schools.
  • Blogging may be of particular benefit to students who are struggling to develop traditional literacy skills. These students may be particularly drawn to the the freedom from having to write in a formal way. When creating a blog students are able to directly communicate their thoughts and feelings without worrying about grammatical correctness (O’Sullivan, 2012).

 

Additional Partnering Proposal Ideas – Workshops around Multi-Modal Literacy Skills

Upon success of the blogging workshops, local libraries may liaise with the local high schools to offer additional workshops which develop students’ multi-modal literacy skills. The following workshops may be offered –

             (a)   Workshops to develop effective on-line reading skills

Workshops  would be offered which allow students to research  their personal interest areas with ‘expert’ help from the library staff around conducting effective searches .  The workshops would be scaffolded so  that multi modal literacy skills would be developed as a result of the research. Online reading comprehension requires  additional practices, skills, and strategies in addition to traditional literacy skills (Coiro & Dobler, 2007;Leu, Zawilinski, et al., 2007 as cited in Leu et al, 2011 p.6). See Appendix A for further explanation of on-line reading skills.

(b) Book –clubs/writing workshops

Book-club style meetings and writing workshops would be offered. Students would engage in journaling/blogging and additional media authoring such as power point presentations and creating podcasts in response to popular texts that they have engaged with. The objective of the workshops would be for students to interpret and produce popular-cultural texts, using such strategies such as those identified by Beach & O’Brien (2008).

             (c) Software workshops

Workshops in such topics as website design would be offered with the underlying objective of teaching students “the ability to understand the power of images and sounds, to recognize and use that power, to manipulate and transform digital media, to distribute them pervasively, and to easily adapt them to new forms” (New Media Consortium as cited in Beach, and O’Brien, 2008, p779).

——————————————————————————————————-

 Appendix A

 Online reading comprehension consists of a process of problem-based inquiry across many different online information sources, requiring several recursive reading practices: (a) reading online to identify important questions (b) reading online to locate information, (c) reading online to critically evaluate information, (d) reading online to synthesize information, (e) and reading online to communicate information. During these elements, new online and traditional offline reading comprehension skills are both required, often in complex and interrelated ways. (Coiro & Dobler, 2007;Leu, Zawilinski, et al., 2007 as cited in Leu et al, 2011 p.7).


Reference List

Leu, D. J., McVerry, J., O’Byrne, W., Kiili, C., Zawilinski, L., Everett-Cacopardo, H., & … 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

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.

O’Sullivan, K. A. (2012). Books and blogs: Promoting reading achievement in digital contexts. In J. Manuel & S. Brindley (Eds.) Teenagers and reading: Literary heritages, cultural contexts and contemporary reading practices (pp. 191-209). South Australia: Wakefield Press/AATE

 

 

 

Blast from the Past

When I reflect on my favourite shows from my childhood, Bewitched, Brady Bunch and Happy Days spring to mind. I think I loved those shows as they depicted happy, family life. To this day, I still prefer to watch and read ‘sugar-coated’ material. I love the fact that those shows are now being replayed and my son and nieces and nephews are getting to enjoy them.

I also have fond memories of watching Family Ties in my teenage years. The show aired at 7pm each evening and I can remember gathering around as a family and watching this show. This was one of the few activities that we did as a whole family.

As much as television viewing has been criticised, I think it can provide a positive, shared activity for families.Whereas time spent on PCs, Ipods etc is mainly a solitary activity (even though connections will be taking place on-line), television watching can be a very social activity.  Television watching can be a catalyst for conversation and connection. For example after watching Modern Family, my son will often call his Aunt and discuss the hilarious parts of the show. I think shared television programs are often a great staring point for adolescent/ adult conversations. When I observe adults interacting with adolescents at social occasions, I find that the conversation quite often revolves around a current popular television program such as The Voice or Masterchef.

I have also found that watching shows like Neighbours and Home & Away  with teenagers provides a casual, non-confronting way of having conversations with teenagers about issues that may be effecting their lives.The opportunity to discuss a fictional person at a fictional school can be a great starting point for what could be an otherwise awkward conversation.

When I reflect back on my youthful television viewing, I don’t recall there being such an abundance of tv programs that would appeal to both adolescents and adults as there now is.

Interviews with Youth around Popular Culture

To gain more of an understanding of how young people, of different genders, engage with popular culture, I interviewed a 17 year old female, Georgia, along with a 15 year old male, Tim. The following is a short summary of the cultural activities that they engage with.

Reading Habits

Georgia chooses books to read by browsing at book stores, and she is particularly drawn to books with attractive covers. She has read the Twilight series and also watched the movies. She prefered the books as she found them more interesting and addictive. Georgia mostly likes to read magazines: Frankie, fashion magazines and cooking magazines. She also likes to look at fashion sites on the internet.

Tim’s reading material mostly consists of  magazines, particularly  sporting magazines such as Rugby League Week and Cricket magazines. Tim rarely chooses to read books, but when he does so it is usually a biography of a sportsperson. Tim also reads general news and sports news on the internet regularly.

TV Viewing

Television viewing was a popular past time with both interviewees. Georgia’s favourite programs are Family Guy, Modern Family and Gossip Girl. Most of her friends also watch these shows and they often quote from those shows in their everyday conversations. She thinks that others in her friendship group would feel left out if they did not watch those programs.

Tim watches Home & Away, XFactor, Simpsons and Modern Family. He claims that he and his friends do discuss these shows a little at school but not all of his friends watch them. However he thinks that any friends who do not  watch those shows would not feel left out of the conversation.

Facebook

Georgia spends the majority of her spare time texting and facebooking. She is constantly connected to her friends in this manner and feels that she would definitely feel left out if she did not have facebook. She gives the example that paper invitations are no longer given out and all invitations are on facebook.

In contrast, Tim claims that whilst around 90% of his friends are on facebook, you would not feel left out if you did not have facebook.(One of Tim’s closest friends chooses not to have facebook and he remains popular within the peer group). Tim has  observed that  at school  the girls are on facebook much more than the boys.

Tim attends a school in a country area and Georgia attends school in a more urban area. It would be interesting to research the trends which occur with the use of social networking in different geographical areas.

 

 

 

 

Feedback from Colloborate Session

During the Thursday Collaborate session I spoke about the possibility of public libraries partnering with local High Schools.

My initial idea was for public libararies to offer workshops to encourage students to create blogs around their individual interest areas.

I would welcome any comments or feedback on this idea.

Fay’s Introduction

Fay’s Introduction

 

After completing my Teaching qualification (Dip Teach  Primary/Early Childhood;  1989 – BCAE), I taught for Education Queensland for 7 years in Pre-school and Year 1 classrooms. After having  my son I returned to work as a Family Day Care and In-Home Care Co-ordinator. About 2 years ago I decided it was time for another career change and enrolled in the Masters of Education -TL course. I would love to gain employment in a Public Library setting and  have been doing work experience at my local library. I have always loved reading and particularly enjoyed teaching early literacy skills whilst I was teaching. Working at the public library allows me to utilise my skills and interests and  I love having the opportunity to  share my love of reading and learning in a community-centred environment.

I am now doing my 5th subject of the TL course and have found the course  to be both enjoyable and challenging.

This subject, Youth, Popular Culture and Texts has helped to develop a more positive attitude to social media. I tend to be a fairly private person, so I have not embraced facebook, but I have discovered that I love reading blogs. I met  rhonda hetzel whilst volunteering and learnt about her blog site. I enjoyed reading this site and then started to look for others on similar subjects. I have a long way to go in embracing technology, but in small steps I am getting there!

21st Century Learning

The lives of children and adolescents in the western world are now saturated by  modern media – by television, video, computer games, the internet and  mobile phones. The influx in digital technology which has occurred in the last 20 years has not only changed the day-to-day lives of children and adolescents, it has also effected children’s learning processes. Beach and O’Brien (as cited in Cairo, 2008, p. 778) state  “digital information and channels provide the multiple, interconnected teaching and learning moments  youth experience and share with one another. It is how they learn about the world and themselves”. Despite the the fundamental changes that have occured in childrens’ lives and learning processes, traditional pedagogies continue to exist within the classroom.

The question is then posited; what effect will this disconnect in how children are learning inside and outside of the classroom have on their overall learning outcomes? Beach and O’Brien (as cited in Cairo, 2008, p779) predict that  “school sanctioned pedagogoies will be increasingly ineffective with students who are adapting more and more to engaging with popular culture pedagogies”. The NMC Horizon Projec t(2012 K-12 Edition, p.16), supports this prediction, stating that the lack of incorporation of real life experiences in schools is resulting in a “lack of engagement in learning on the part of students who are seeking some connection between their own lives and their experience in school”. Thus  the importance of integrating digital technologies into teaching pedagogy becomes evident.

The Horizon Project (2012, p. 16) suggests that the use of technology tools that are already familiar to students along with project-based learning practices that incorporate real-life experiences will increase student engagement and address the disconnect. Examples of technology tools that student are already familiar with and their possible uses in classrooms are listed below –

Mobile Phones  – Mobile phones allow constant Internet access and apps are now available tht allow learners to share their findings on a topic. As a large majority of students own a smartphone there is the possibility of students using their own phone for learning activities. The idea of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) could be an answer to some of the budgetary constraints that schools encouter.  (NMC Project, 2012).

Game-Based Learning – Educational games provide opportunities for discovery based and goal-oriented learning and team-building. Simulations and role-playing games allow students to re-enact difficult situations and try new responses or pose creative solutions (NMC Project,2012)

Tablet Computing – tablets, such as I-Pads, provide opportunities for sharing content, videos, images and presentations

 

Whilst there is a clear imperative to include digital media within teaching pedagogy; an educated, mindful approach is necessary when adopting any new pedagogy. This is of particular importance when incorporating digital media into the school setting. There are many benefits which arise from the use of digital technology, but  there are also many areas of concern.  Cyber bullying and  cyber safety have been identified as concerns across all age groups . Common Sense Media (2012, p. 27) identifies  issues such as  hate speech, body image and over-sharing along with  the feelings of depression and social isolation that  some young people experience when using social media. Greenhow et al (2009, p.251) also identifies that when using digital media for education “unproductive interactions, harmful public scrutiny, and threats to privacy”  may undermine learning.

It is important that Educators stay abreast of research into possible effects of the use of digital media. As Common Sense Media (2012,  p.27) states ”we won’t know for a long time how the immediacy of digital communication may be shaping interpersonal relationships and social skills”.

The proliferation of marketing that occurs as an inherent part of digital technology is also of concern. Buckingham (2007, p.81) cautions that digital media is a “a market led media system, in which the maximising of profit takes precedence over any public service imperatives”. Educators have a responsibility to inform students about potential risks, which then allows students to regulate their own use of digital media (Buckingham, 2007). This may be an effective approach with older students, but will pose more of a challenge for  very young age groups.

When students are using digital media they often become ‘producers of knowledge’. With any new form of ‘knowledge production’,the issue of copyright emerges. Educators have a responsibility to inform students of copyright issues; schools must address  “the teaching and learning of copyright opportunities and responsibilities” (Kapitzke, 2009, p104). Increased cloud computing software, will likely intensify the participatory practices of digital media usage (Greenhow , Robelia and Hughes, 2009).  Educators will need to remain informed of current copyright practices as they will evolve in response to technological developments.

Reference List

Crook, C. (2012). The ‘digital native’ in context: Tensions associated with importing Web 2.0 practices into the school setting. Oxford Review of Education. 38(1), 63-80. Retrieved from: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03054985.2011.577946

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.

Buckingham, D. (2007). Beyond technology: Children’s learning in the age of digital culture. London: Polity.

Common Sense Media (2012). Social media, social life: How teens view their digital lives. Retrieved from  http://www.commonsensemedia.org/research/social-media-social-life

Greenhow, C., Robelia, B., and Hughes. (2009). Learning, Teaching, and Scholarship in a Digital Age : Web 2.0 and Classroom Research: What Path Should We Take Now? Educational Researcher 38(4)   246-259. doi: 10.3102/0013189X09336671

Kapitzke, C. (2009). Rethinking copyrights for the library through Creative Commons licensing. Library Trends. 58(1), pp. 95-108. Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/library_trends/toc/lib.58.1.html

NMC Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition. Austin, Texas: The New MediaConsortium. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2012-horizon-K12-shortlist.pdf