Blog post 1
Learning Through Exploration and Play
The first colloquium in this subject was hosted by Annabel Astbury, a past History teacher, educational leader for the History Teachers’ Association of Victoria, and currently working to deliver the curriculum through ABC Splash. The manner in which this session was delivered was slick and personable, with the chat comments being consistently monitored. Responses to comments were addressed to the individual attendant who posted the comment or question. This is a skill that so many online presenters have not developed.
The Splash motto: “explore, play, learn” succinctly encapsulates the website’s offerings to education. Opportunities for classes and individuals to engage with the material are provided in the formats of film, games and text. All resources address Australian Curriculum standards, and many of the activities are aimed at students from Years 5 to 8.
Annabel outlined the various decisions that had been made in the design of the product, which was predicated on the premise that “the world did not need another product for lesson creation” (Astbury, 2015). The significance of this statement is felt in classrooms all over the world, where there are no systems in place for sorting through the increasing wealth of educational materials (Calhoun, 2015).
Teachers everywhere are overworked, and increasingly overwhelmed by a “dazzling forest of finely-tuned” products, and there is little time to assess their value, master and adopt them within teaching programs to achieve meaningful outcomes (Calhoun, 2015). A repository of products designed by and for Australians (with an online educational base of only 3.2 million users) is critically important to learning in the digital age (Astbury, 2015).
ABC Splash offers a curated and appropriate collection, and furthermore, links to Scootle, an online, Australian Curriculum specific store of material accessible to all practicing teachers, including casual relief teachers. This would seem to be an enticing proposition enabling easy integration into classrooms across the nation while leading to the potential for a “flow experience” for students (Lemke, 2010, p. 247).
Appropriate innovative practise through the infusion of technology, and the resources this allows, should contribute to classrooms full of fully engaged students who are intrinsically motivated and “110% invested” in learning (Lemke, 2010, pp. 246 – 247). Incorporating technological solutions and permitting students to work differently on mastering learning relies on the critical adoption of skills for the current century. This requires deep thinking in relation to the implications of the new teaching and learning resources, in order to develop a more empowering model of authentic learning (November, 2010, p. 278).
Lemke believes that vesting students with power will increase efficacy in their learning skills, and, if the task is complex, result in more creativity and innovation, and lead to improved adaptive proficiency (Lemke, 2010, p. 247). Such outcomes will only occur if educators can move beyond seeing multimodal incorporation as more than something predominantly technical that simply requires the alignment of minds with machines (Selwyn, 2010, p. 67).
ABC Splash offers educators in Australia the ability to offer a range of learning materials that relate to the context in which Australian students live (Astbury, 2015). In an era where individuals have devices in their hands in most classrooms, the incorporation of such material can be woven seamlessly into lesson design, particularly in settings where students own the culture of learning, and collaborate with each other in creative and multimodal ways (November, 2010, p. 282).
The use of digital technology is pitted against long-standing traditions, and entrenched concerns, often at a micro level, of the everyday educational experiences, pre and post the digital age (Selwyn, 2014, p. 164). This is the dichotomy of the times in which we educate.
Providing teachers access to resources is of little value of they do not utilise them in some way. Constant reminders of what access has been provided, and what it will allow in classrooms is becoming a crucial aspect of the teacher-librarian’s work. “But, the way we are approaching the integration of technology into our school systems is raising red flags. If we don’t figure out exactly what these early warning signals mean and incorporate their lessons into our design and our educational philosophy, we risk generating backlash and squandering valuable momentum. We also risk producing a generation of graduates who are unprepared for the future ahead of us” (Calhoun, 2015). This is the critical aspect of the work that we do in our school library roles.
Astbury, A. [Host). (2015, July 21). ABC Splash Online Colloquium. Retrieved July 21, 2015
Calhoun, N. (2015, July 21). How Technology Is Crash Landing in Our Public Schools. Retrieved from Singularity Hub: http://singularityhub.com/2015/07/21/how-technology-is-crash-landing-in-our-public-schools/
Kay, K. (2015, July 21). Do You Have 21/21 Vision? Retrieved from Edutopia Blog: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/do-you-have-2121-vision-ken-kay
Lemke, C. (2010). Innovation Through Technology. In C21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn (pp. 243-274). Bloomington: Solution Tree.
November, A. (2010). Technology Rich, Information Poor. In 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn (pp. 275-283). Bloomington: Solution Tree.
Selwyn, N. (2010). Looking beyond learning: notes towards the critical study of educational technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning(26 (1)), 65 – 73. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2009.00338.x.
Selwyn, N. (2014). Education and ‘the digital’. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 35:1, 155-164. doi:10.1080/01425692.2013.856668