Substantial Blog Post 2 Kyra

CLN647’s week 6 to 11 has introduced varying new technologies that have the potential to revolutionize the education system. With this in mind it is imperative that we as the future teacher-librarians consider the possible implications of such technology. In the following blog post the technologies of mobile devices and gaming will be discussed and linked to possible difficulties with using said technology.

In my previous blog post about mobile devices, it was outlined by Cook (2011) that mobile media is the new frontier for education. This frontier has already been explored by students of today and it is a must for classrooms to start using such devices to not only enhance learning but to also produce it. As Cook (2011) stated these devices are not simply add-ons to current computing systems but are the next evolution in cultural resources. The possible use of the mobile devices were using the mobile device to keep audio blogs, having text discussions around assignments and classroom topics, using the features of the mobile like the camera or internet and even using the GPS features. All of these features could enhance simple lessons in the classroom or as the case for Cook (2011) enhance a tour of a street. More importantly though is the opportunity for students to create using the devices which links into web 2.0 technology and the skills needed to be a 21st century learner.

Even though there is fantastic opportunities for this technology the education system would need to seriously consider how they would actually get the mobile devices for students. As Cook (2011) had suggested that mobile devices would be an extension of the students itself, it would be imperative that all students have such a device on hand. But would this raise the issue of cost and also could the students use any mobile or is there a specific handset required to meet the student and curriculum needs. If the handset required was a Smartphone which a basic model is currently on the market for $79, would the school itself be able to supply this or would the students? Adding to this what mobile software would the education system go with: android, apple or even windows?

The issue of cost is also related to gaming by learning where Williamson (2009) points out that this is one of the main reasons for angst in the education system. Even with this issue the overall opportunities of game related learning far outweighs this. Students playing games often have informal learning experiences which allow them to establish and enhance skills. An example of this was seen by the game Civilization which required students to use mathematical skills to be able to help their civilization prosper. As Williamson (2009) explained there are a multitude of gaming platforms such as the Nintendo DS, desktop PC’s and the internet. Using games to learn is linking into students of today interests and school pastimes. As stated by Williamson (2009), “games provide a ‘window’ into young people’s lives, experiences and social practices outside school, and should be considered as worthy of consideration in the classroom.”

 

Furthermore to the game learning topic is the issue of deviant behavior related to gaming. Often when game learning is discussed the concern turns to how will this game influence the child and will in turn the child misbehave. This as Williamson (2009) points out is a result of the media shaping the perception of gaming to be one of negativity. Williamson (2009) went on to state that even though this negativity is not always warranted there is still a need to be cautious due to the lack of research of game-based learning. With this in mind the education system would need to ensure that the games used are of a suitable rating for school aged students and that the skills students are acquiring are socially acceptable.

 

Overall both technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way students are taught there first must be serious consideration taken by the education system. This consideration must encompass the legal, ethical and cost issues that will either make or break the game-based learning and mobile device technology. Without stringent rules and regulations such technology may be used incorrectly such as a way to bully fellow students, students not being able to afford such devices and using devices as add-ons. To have this technology in the education system would allow students to connect with learning in a whole new way but there are many hurdles to overcome to see this used in the education system.

 

References:

 

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.

Williamson, Ben (2009). Computer games, schools and young people: a report for educators on using games for learning. Futurelab, UK. http://archive.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/project_reports/becta/Games_and_Learning_educators_report.pdf

Wiliamson, Ben (2009). Games and learning. Benefits and challenges of using computer games in the classroom.  Futurelab UK (podcast 14 mins) http://media.futurelab.org.uk/podcasts/becta_talks/games/

Substantial Blog Post 1 Kyra

The last half of the semester for CLN647 has introduced me to various topics that relate to popular text and culture of present day. Some of the topics that were covered were screen culture which was about television and the internet, computer games and ‘game-based learning,’ but one topic that I believe was significant was mobile media and the classroom. This was week 8’s topic and it covered the possible applications of mobile devices in the classroom. In the following blog post I will discuss the essential and recommended readings on mobile media and reflect on my own new understanding of the area.

Before I completed the week 8 work, I was convinced that mobile media devices had some place in education but I did not truly see how they could be used in the best possible manner. I had a shallow understanding of mobile use as I had thought that they could be an “add-on” to current curriculum units. I was also concerned about the possible issues that could result with having mobile devices in classrooms such as inappropriate use of the mobile camera or students using the device to bully a fellow student. With all these thoughts in mind I read the readings and came across the following points.

Crook (2011) suggested that mobile media needs to be assimilated into the institution of education through means of cultural convergence. The devices themselves are not to be used as a new technological equipment, an extension of the computer but as a means for students to use in their day to day learning and socializing. The students would use such devices both as a tool for formal learning and also informal learning. I found this to be a highly interesting point as I had always thought that mobiles could be used to replace digital cameras or for students to be able to access the internet. Crook (2011) highlights that this is not using the devices in the best possible way. After reading this I was able to start thinking of the possibilities of using mobiles as cultural resources in the classroom. Students could use the mobile devices to discover new ways of completing work and also discuss with other students their group assignment. This variation on learning may assist students of today by allowing them to use a familiar technology to learn and explore the world around them. This point led to what content can be generated by the students or users.

One example of user generated content was the mobile tour which was completed by student teachers in London. The students used Mscape and GPS shell to complete a tour of a street. The tour was provided through their mobile devices and detailed the past and present history of the street. The students were required to keep an audio blog during the tour to document their learning and experience with the mobile tour. As Crook (2011) had stated the students during the tour were kept engaged as they were always referring to the mobile device for further instructions, information and to keep their audio blog. One student had said that the device had made the tour fun and exciting. Crook (2011) further detailed the positives of the tour by reminding the reader of what a traditional tour was like which is where students are expected to stand and listen to a tour guide. This often results in students becoming disinterested and disengaged, which leads to misbehavior and a lost learning opportunity. The mobile tour is really allowing the students to guide themselves, learn at their own pace and through audio blogging, to document their learning experiences.

Another example of user generated content was the German school which had students using their mobiles to make a video of photos (they took at home) of angles. This example showed a good possibility for mobile devices in that students create their own content and understanding of a topic by discovering it for themselves. This though was not a full success as the students only took videos but these videos were not viewed at the school and no reflection activity was included with the task. Reflection is a higher order thinking activity which would benefit students in becoming 21st century learners as suggested by Bloom’s taxonomy.

Overall Week 8 has removed the blindfold of uncertainty off my eyes and has shown the various possibilities of mobile devices in education. As stated by Shuler (2009) again adults are behind how children learn in present day but mobile devices are the new way of thinking in a now mobile world.

 

References:

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.

 

Department of Education, Western Australia (2012). Taxonomy of Cognitive Domain: Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognitive Process. Retrieved from the WA Department of Education website: http://www.det.wa.edu.au/curriculumsupport/giftedandtalented/detcms/navigation/for-teachers/provision/teaching—learning-models/taxonomy-of-cognitive-domain/?page=1&tab=Main

 

Shuler, C. (2009). Pockets of potential: Using mobile technologies to promote children’s learning. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop

My thoughts on the Eragon movie

“The Kingdom of Alagaesia is ruled by the evil King Galbatorix, a former dragon rider that betrayed his mates and his people in his quest for power. When the orphan farm boy Eragon finds a blue stone sent by Princess Arya, he sooner realizes that it is a dragon egg. When the dragon Saphira is born, Eragon meets his mentor Brom, and becomes the dragon rider foreseen in an ancient prophecy that would set his people free from the tyrant Galbatorix. Eragon meets the rebels Varden and together they fight against the evil sorcerer Durza and the army of Galbatorix in a journey for freedom. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil”

I know that at the current time Eragon is an older popular youth text. It was popular a few years ago but as there has been no new movie released the series has been forgotten at the present time. I have never read the series myself but I have recently watched the Eragon movie.

The overall theme of the movie met with my own love of fantasy and adventure, but it didn’t flow as well as I had imagined. At times Eragon doesn’t listen to Saphira or Brom and this of course results in problems. This annoyed me but I thought that  it did match Eragon’s character. The story moved too fast as I was often confused by the sudden change in scene and the shortness of Eragon’s training with Brom.

When Eragon saves Princess Arya it reminded me of Star Wars where Luke saved Princess Leia. Princess Leia is all attitude and really could save herself while Luke was often trying to keep up. This scene then finally resulted in the battle between Eragon, the rebels and Galbatorix who is momentarily defeated (again so similar to Star Wars).

Overall the movie was good but at times it sped through scenes that needed more attention to ensure that the viewer fully understood. This is the curse for all books to movies but I do believe that the book holds merit. The plot itself was not totally unique in that the male protagonist discovers he has magical ability and must fight an evil oppressor but it was unique in it’s use of dragons. I enjoyed the fact that the dragon and dragon rider had such a close bond and that they were a set – can’t have one without the other so to speak.

Hopefully soon I will actually read the series and find out what all the fuss was about.

Current spaces for young people

While completing my professional experience at the libraries one of Brisbane North’s primary and secondary school, I was astounded at the variety of spaces available for students.

The senior library opens to the reception desk on the right-hand side and to the left a conference room which can be used by both teachers and students alike. There is strict rules involved with the use of the conference room such as students must have a pass given by the teacher and the use is for assignments or school council related activities (meetings). This area I believe is a good idea but I do believe that the rules could be relaxed to allow more students to access the area for their group assignments and presentations.

Another area is the magazine space which provides the senior students with a wide range of magazines and newspapers to read. The area provides tables and chairs for students to sit at and students have been observed having quiet discussions in this area. This area is a good idea in theory but during all of my visits to the library I had not seen any students reading the magazines or newspapers. During lunch time there is students sitting at the tables completing study and during class time the students are often in the computers labs or borrowing books than reading the magazines. To encourage students to use the space there could be a media club who discuss the current magazines, the articles, how they are displayed in the magazines and their opinion of the magazine/article. This group would need to be advertised in the school but I think it could get more students using the space for it’s intended purpose.

One other area I would like to highlight is the study area. In this space there is multitude of desks and chairs set up for the students and classes to use for both lessons and study. The students were often seen using this area during class time and lunch time to complete study and school work. The space was also used for clubs like the chess club which would then close the area off to other students at lunch time. This area was productive but if they want it to be a set study area the library may need to find another area for its club activities to ensure that all have equal use of the space.

Overall there is a variety of spaces for students to interact with one another and the world around them in this library which also had multiple computer banks for students to use. This change shows how libraries are changing to meet new technology and cultural needs.

My obsession with the Harry Potter Phenomenon

Harry Potter entered my life when I was 9 years old. My older sister had read the first novel and was on to the second in the series when she decided to start badgering me to read the books too. I was at first against reading the books as it was about a boy but I eventually gave in. This simple decision began an obsession that is still present thirteen years, 7 books and 8 movies later. My obsession is not an isolated occurrence as this phenomenon has swept the world and the series has become an international bestseller. But what is it about the series that has related to so many people of different ages, gender, culture and generations?

For myself I believe it was of course the magic and the uniqueness of the series that drew me back time and time again, but deep down I know it was the friendship and love told in the books. Even though I enjoyed immensely the different spells, potions, classes and the Harry Potter world itself but it is how J.K. Rowling portrayed her characters and the relationships they had between one another. Without this strong character formation and development I do not believe the series would have been as successful, as it was key to “hooking” the reader who would feel that they were actually involved in the series world. You were able to first meet Harry, get to know him, see him develop as both a person and a wizard. You always knew what Harry was thinking and what he was feeling. All of this made myself feel like I was Harry’s confidant.

One other area I believed added to the series was the intelligent and exciting plot that was planned perfectly from book 1 to book 7. J.K. Rowling had really dotted her ‘i’s’ and crossed her “t’s” when it came to creating the master plot which flowed through to each novel until the last book were it all the pieces of the Harry Potter puzzle came together. Put simply J.K. Rowling is a fantastic writer.

I hope Harry Potter will continue to be a favourite in childrens literature as it was and still is for me.

Interview 14 yr old male of texts he engages in. by Gina McPherson

I do not have ready access to youth and how they engage in text.  So this was an eye-opening discussion for me in that I was not aware how much youth engage in digital media and on a 24/7 basis.  My youth discussed his current phone plan as having had an ‘old nokia’ last year but at christmas he convinced his parents to buy him an iphone 4 on ebay, second hand, which was relatively cheap as he didn’t ask for the iphone  4s (which is apparently better and more expensive).  He mostly uses his phone to play a number of shooter games online with friends.  He doesn’t text much, make phone calls or send photos/videos to anyone as he  doesn’t have a job yet so his parents only give him a limited phone allowance.

The games used on his iphone are puzzle games or 1st person shooters (type of games). He has an x box & wii but x box is better,  and on the x box he has over 15 1st person shooters games which is a type of game. “Halo” and “Call of Duty “are the biggest franchises of these games and they are the most popular games amongst his friends.  On the computer he plays strategy games and creativity games.  He doesn’t watch tv live, if he is interested he records things to watch later on the x box. He has a computer set up via the tv to watch through a program called Windows Media Centre. His dad heard of it through a friend and set it up.  His mum has her own x box set up through the computer in her room.  On the internet he does not follow any blogs or look up wiki’s, he does his homework thru a blackboard set up at school, he has been doing this since yr 5 as his school has 1:1 laptop program.  Computers go to class with them, they type notes and work on them a lot.  At home he uses the web to search for game sites he is interested in, as often the ‘how to’ that comes with the games are not thorough enough so he looks for game tips, hints and unlockables to improve his gaming strategy.  I guess he really loves gaming!

My youth doesn’t like twitter, but has Facebook account which he uses rarely to talk to others.  His favourite  form of social networking is Skype where he uses voice calling with his friends, multi-tasking this whilst playing a game to play together.  At school, as a class, they created a site about html coding which he knew about already but had fun doing it.  At school they have been joined up to an app called Luminosity, which he enjoys as it is a brain training tool.  You can find it at: itunes.apple.com/us/app/lumosity-brain…/id338945375? or it has been added as a link.

He hated  Harry Potter & Twighlight, he watched The Hunger Games movie because had to read the book at school but said it has a weird reputation.  He likes fantasy books but with touch of reality, so not too crazy.  He likes Matthew Reilly as an author because his books have conspiracies and adventure in them.

I asked him what he was doing in the half hour waiting for me to interview him.  He said “using the computer for homework and looking up gaming sites”, so once again, back to the games!  And this young man is very bright and does well academically.  Which makes me see that even though he has school responsibilities he can fit his personal time in wherever he is. He does this by using his phone or laptop when out and at home he uses the desktop.  A very busy young man!  Thanks for the education!

Educational apps for the Ipad (Kyra)

With my purchase of an ipad this year I have been interested in what education apps are on offer for the primary teacher and teacher-librarian.

One app that I found was the National Geographic Atlas app for the ipad. This is no ordinary picture of a map, in fact the app provides 3 different map types that users to select from, the ability to zoom in on a town in a country, and provides detailed information about the Country and it’s flag. The 3 different map types are classic (which has a blue ocean), executive and satellite. I believe this app would be very useful for a primary school ipad collection as it does provide a professional, easy to use and inexpensive (99 cents in the apple appstore) atlas.

Another app that I thought would be a good app for a prep or kindergarten classroom would be the Wheels on the Bus by Kids Games Club. This app provides a full sing-a-long version of Wheels on a bus. The sing-a-long includes 11 different verses to use and is accompanied by corresponding interactive pictures. This app also contains nine games relating to the song. The games allow students to learn basic spelling, maths, the ability to create and record music, and to develop fine motor skills. Based on all the reviews given to this app, it is a comprehensive and great value app for the early years classroom. I believe young students would enjoy listening to the song, interacting with the various games and activities, and learning basic skills in an enjoyable way. The app is free but to be able to get more song pages and other activities the user will need to purchase them individually.

These two apps are really the tip of the iceberg when it comes to educational apps available for mobile media and demonstrate the quality that is out there for educators to use.

Popular Culture successfully used in a school environment by Gina McPherson

I have just recently attend a school fete, where during the planning process, students were asked to come up with ideas for entertainment that could be viewed during the fete day.  Students enthused how much they would like to perform for the school community singing and dancing to popular songs.  It was then realised that not all students could sing very well but still wanted to participate.  It was decided that the students would hold auditions for miming groups for “School Idol”.  Clearly, taken from the very popular shows of “Idol” around the world.  It was a huge success as all got to audition if they were interested and those that did well displayed their talents on stage on fete day.  In fact, what spun off from this was another version called “Prep Idol”.  Which clearly took care of the very enthusiastic but not very well coordinated prep classes.  This was worked on and choreographed by both teachers and children with wardrobe, hair and make-up taken care of by parents.  The Prep children felt so disappointed at not being successful in the ‘School Idol’ that this spin off took on monster proportions.  As work drew to a close, parents were given invitations and attended this event.  All prep children who wanted to perform did, whilst those that didn’t were able to introduce acts, sell ‘pretend’ tickets or help as part of the stage crew.

This use of  ‘Idol’ in the school context was very successful as many of these children had the desire to fulfil a dream but not the opportunity.  Many of these children would have seen some of this show and dreamt of ‘being on stage’ but the reality is that it seemed just as fun to perform for a school community audience to fulfil that dream.  Also, all songs and many dance moves were all self directed and driven by the students own motivation to get it right, look the part and perform well.  Which could only enhance the students’ self esteem and confidence.  The links to the ‘real’ “Idol” are weak to us adults but to the students, they were as real as ever.

TV shows I loved growing up by Gina McPherson

Growing up in the 70’s would be my most intense TV viewing time.  Even though we lived in the country and only had 2 channels to choose from, we were still glued to the television if a show took our interest (I am middle of 5 children).  There wasn’t much down time on a vineyard but TV was our favourite past time.  I had an eclectic taste in shows, probably because there wasn’t much choice.  A show needed very few prerequisites to entice us and that was probably due to the fact that we were getting freedom to watch more television than our parents had.  The elements we preferred were entertaining, humorous, good story, some personal connection, adventure and not much else.

The show I loved when I was small had to be “The Muppets”  essentially, the fact that they were funny puppets that were alive and had personalities of their own was a great source of amusement.  And that there were so many personalities to relate to made it easy to like them and not much story line.  Just good old fashioned clean fun.  A big plus was when a celebrity came on the show because it was easy to feel, as a child, that they were personally there to see you!  It was a time of innocence and imagination as here were tiny mice up to huge monster puppets and everything you could imagine in between.  I did have a few nightmares after viewing this show as reality would merge with fantasy and I didn’t like the big monsters so much!

Once I grew a little older I wanted to be more adventurous and Monkey magic was a cure for that.  It was always on the look out for trouble as the  royal ‘Tripitaka’ was constantly being kidnapped.  I never did figure out if it was a boy or girl but that counted for little as I loved the adventure of the 3 guards and their mishaps along the way.  I also never knew where they were going but going with them seemed like a good idea.   It was a funny show, slightly subtle but  the cultural differences were interesting enough to hold my attention.  I liked the tricks and jumps within the trio and the magic crown that monkey wore to be connected to the royalty.

As I matured into puberty I enjoyed the ‘women power’ show such as ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Charlie’s Angels’ as both shows were adventurous and challenged the notion that women had to stay at home.  It interested me to see women taking charge and doing the things that previously only men could do.  The women were smart, fit, strong and life-saving which did not fit the mould I had grown up to believe.  Finally there was a challenge to the usual fit for a woman.  I liked what I saw and it made me feel a little invincible and empowered.  I enjoyed the adventures and missions they journeyed on and found myself willing them to be strong and to beat the men,  which is what the shows are designed to do.  Now I look back and see how silly some of the plots and antics were and how far-fetched the story lines appeared but back in the 70s, anything was possible and if it was on

television, we believed it.  In regard to both of these shows, I was too naive or young or both to see the sexuality running throughout the shows, I was too interested in seeing the girls win!  It is easy to see how the lean towards sexualisation made the characters attractive to both sexes as most boys and men wanted them and girls and women wanted to be them!  So long live 70s television, it saved me from boredom, gave me something to aspire to and was the popular culture of our time.  I have to admit that I did own a wonder woman suit and wore it lots, mum was good at sewing!