Page 1

ISSN 2053-5104

ICT in Practice Transforming education through sharing knowledge and practice Created by educators from around the world ISSUE 5

P4 / SECOND LIFE A Beacon In The Storm A New Perspective of Technology Use in Education

P21 / COMPUTER GAME DESIGN A stage for Learning through Conversational Thinking


P24 / BITSTRIPS Literacy, Community and Bitstrips

P32 / MOODLE Using the educational Platform Moodle for elearning

Design by Simon Peter, 11. Created using Minecraft by Mojang.


In this issue Welcome to the October 2013, Autumn issue of ICT in Practice

I would also like to thank to the wonderful educators who have

Digital Leaders. It is so interesting to get the childrenʼs perspective of

Magazine. It has been a year since

shared their articles with us or read

the tools that we use for teaching.

we started our journey of sharing knowledge and experience, using

our magazine. Without your valuable contributions we wouldnʼt

Their expectation of technology is quite sophisticated and their

technology in teaching and learning. We are growing each day

have been able to come so far. Please continue to support us either

analysis is definetly spot on! It is also very exciting to allow

and connecting with wonderful

by submitting an article or just

childrenʼs voices to be heard

people, who are doing amazing jobs all over the world! We now

spreading the word.

directly through our magazine rather than us telling what we think

have Christopher Carter from Concordia International School in

And now in this issue, again we have wonderful articles, case

they would say.. So, pick up your pen and get writing!

Shanghai who has joined our

studies and research papers from

editorial board. I am so excited to have such a talented and

primary school teachers to academics from higher education

Yasemin Allsop Editor

experienced colleague and friend to be part of ICT in Practice.

institutes. Aditionally we have a review of iPad

programming apps by the Wilbury

Contents ‘A Beacon In The Storm—A New Perspective of Technology Use in Education’ Dr. Maryanne Maisano & Dr. Deborah Anne Banker page 4-12

‘Bridging the Gap?’ by Tom Jeffers page 13

‘Enhancing your lessons with Mozilla Popcorn maker’ by Matthew F. Norsworthy page 14-15

‘Training Innovative Students through ©International ICT Seagulls Project’ by Hayal Köksal page 16-20

‘Computer Game Design: A stage for Learning through Conversational Thinking’ by Yasemin Allsop page 21-23

‘Literacy, Community and Bitstrips’ by Lesley Wilton page 24-26

‘Just one more block...’ by Stephen Reid page 27-29

‘Games Based Learning Theory and Practice’ by Paul Ladley page 30-31

‘Listen up children! Using the educational Platform Moodle for e-learning’ by Boris Vidovic and Sandra Vetma page 32-36

‘Considering the Benefits of Digital Grammar in a Music Educational Program’ by Stepanov Sergey Mikhailovich page 36-39


A Beacon In The Storm—A New Perspective of Technology Use in Education Dr. Maryanne Maisano & Dr. Deborah Anne Banker Introduction

ABSTRACT This paper focuses on the specific use of Second Life within the instructional design of a teacher education course in the aftermath of a hurricane super storm, which devastated this US metropolitan area. Second Life, an immersive learning software program of a Virtual World that allows selfdirected learners to actively communicate not only with professors and peers within the course room but with people from different places and different cultures, with the assistance of simultaneous translation services. Teachers, with their students, can create scenarios in endless venues, focusing on concepts of culturally responsive teaching, while “meeting” educators, colleagues, and students from other cultures and countries for discussions, ideas, developing thinking skills, and participating in simulated field experiences thus providing a venue for continuous professional development under many circumstance. Keywords: technological simulation, global perspectives, continuous professional development

Traditionally, lectured instruction has taken place in many a college course room, with the professor as the expositor of information toward students within the hallowed halls of academia. The twenty-first century learner has rapidly become testimony to multiple teaching and learning approaches with the use of technology in a constantly changing technologically immersed global society. One specific approach noteworthy of documentation will be extensively discussed in this paper as the alternative virtual learning environment introduced to students of St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY, USA by one professor as a means to meet the technology standards of course instruction. This professor chose a virtual classroom environment to meet synchronously within the realm of Second Life as part of a hybrid methods course of the college in the immersive world environment created by a former colleague already established in Second Life (SL). “Second Life” poised not to replace the current physical classroom but to enrich an already strong teacher education program beginning with a Virtual World called Second Life (SL), available via the Internet.

Methodology The specific design of this paper will illustrate a qualitative study using the methodology of focus group and narrative questionnaire analysis of student generated discussion and written documentation of continuous course of study during the aftermath of the storm. The findings and results will herald the voice of 4

students in the education program at this specific institution of higher learning-based simulated environment. Players create and take the form of avatars which are visible, that can interact with each other and use and create objects. Communication between players include text, graphical icons, visual gestures, and sounds. Some communication may also include using touch, voice command, and balance senses, depending on the version and technology being used by the players. Because of the interplay of senses being provided, players experience the sensations of telepresence or the feeling of actually being present within the imaginary, fantasy world. A TECHNOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS IN A TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAM With SL, already a virtual reality designed specifically by one of the authors of this paper for the use of teaching and learning in an immersive world technology, the authors of this paper will present the current possibilities and advantages of connecting traditional classroom instruction for students in a teacher education program with the expansive opportunities for classroom instruction provided by this technology format, which is part of the system known as immersive learning. What began as simply an alternative method of instruction based on the technology standards for the course ultimately found this method of instruction to be a beacon in the storm in the

aftermath of the super storm Hurricane Sandy that unleashed its wrath of destruction in the NY metropolitan area on October 29, 2012. To date, there is still much devastation in the process of rebuilding and although much of the teaching and learning has returned to normalcy in many courses of study, the use of the tool of technology for synchronous meeting continues to maintain excellence in the world of teaching and learning in higher education.

developed, many significant principles of learning (Vygotsky, 1978, Gardner, 1983, Marzano, Pickering, Pollock, 2001, Strong, Silver, Perini, 2001) became available to all the participants, principles that were previously introduced by the professor in face-to-face instruction and the participants were now able to receive the same body of knowledge in a virtual classroom synchronous meeting. The following extensions available through SL represent only the first steps in the merging of this SL technology with teacher preparation:

Currently, the Second Life Viewer refers to itself as a free client program that enables its users, called Residents, to interact with each other through Avatars. Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another, or travel throughout the world, which Residents refer to as the “grid”. SL is designed for users aged over eighteen. Built into the software is a three dimensional modelling tool based around simple geometric shapes that allows a resident to build virtual objects. This tool can be used in combination with a scripting language called Linden Scripting Language for adding movement and function to objects and can be combined with three-dimensional sculpted forms for adding textures for clothing or other objects, animations, and gestures. (Taken February 16, 2009, Second Life, Wikipedia, And The Free Encyclopedia). Once again, it is important to mention that at no cost to students in this immersive world of SL, students were graciously invited to the virtual world created by the co-author and professor from another US University, for synchronous instruction for educators. This virtual environment is shared by educators world wide for continuous professional development available to anyone interested in not only exploring the immersive world technology in education but to build on content area learning in multiple disciplines.

First. Virtual Classroom Development which can be modified continuously, as required, for specific subject area learning and attention to individualized needs. Second. Subject-Area Availability and Integration through access to the Internet and human resources. Third. Practice Teaching Simulations and Role-Playing allowing every pre-service student to participate and interact with colleagues. Fourth. Distance Learning Opportunities for Developing Culturally Responsive Teaching with “distance” being global and communication made possible through immediate translations (ex. Italian to English and English to Italian, etc.) Fifth. Simulated “Field” Experiences that take students to “courthouses, hospitals, environmental sites, geographic regions” or wherever else one can actually and, therefore virtually, reach. We will explore how each of the above aspects of this pre-service course was expanded through SL. Combined with these aspects of learning is the research that attests to their value for both classroom teachers and students and can be provided more effectively and efficiently by access to SL. This preparation is essential for developing quality teachers imparting a high-level curriculum who can particularly address the needs of students of diversity who may have previously been “under served” (Rothstein, M. and E. Rothstein, 2009). Further, it is important to reiterate the knowledge we impart in a traditional setting of course instruction is mirrored in the virtual environment both synchronously and asynchronously—a clearly defined asset set in place for specific use in spite of the aftermath of a devastating storm which left many students unable to travel to campus for regular instruction.

Second Life in Higher Education While teaching methods courses at St. Francis College in Brooklyn NY, one of the authors of this paper in collaboration with her co-author initiated a Second Life component to the Education Department’s course of study for pre-service teachers in the undergraduate program in teacher education. While adhering to the in-place curriculum and conceptual framework for this course, she explored the possibilities of using SL with her students. As this component was 5

Virtual Classroom Development SL allows the teacher, as well as the students, to continuously “modify the classroom.” The Second Life scenario, students can set up vir tual environments of cities, countrysides, museums, wildlife settings or whatever is related to the curriculum just as the co-author of this paper has done for the purpose of coming together synchronously in a virtual presence. By creating these simulated settings, teachers and students are involved in active research from the Internet and other media, which they can then present, to colleagues or classmates for true sharing and discussion. Through this simulation, the teacher guides the students in a true cross-cultural model for individualization of instruction (Maisano, 2004).

Subject Area Learning and Attention to Individualized Needs Through Virtual Instruction Time “Planet earth is inhabited by all kinds of people who have all kinds of minds. The brain of each human is unique. Some minds are wired to create symphonies and sonnets, while others are fitted out to build bridges, highways, and computers… (Levine, 2002. 1) This opening statement in ‘A Mind at a Time’, rarely serves as the basis for subject area instruction in a traditional setting. Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock (2001) express a complementary viewpoint on instruction by challenging the concept of what “all students” need (rather than what the individual student needs) by asking if there are instructional strategies that are 1) more effective in certain subject areas 2) more effective at certain levels of instruction 3) more effective with students from different backgrounds, and 4) more effective with students of different aptitudes (9). In response to these questions, the authors state three strategies that have been shown to have positive effects, known as student-centred instruction, teaching of critical thinking skills, and the use of hands-on activities. Preservice teachers are taught to model these strategies in their course of study. This is implemented on several levels in the hybrid class, which embodies both face-to-face instruction and immersive world instruction in the virtual environment of Second Life. While administrators and teachers may agree with the concepts of Levine and Marzano, they may ask,


justifiably, how they could possibly create instructional formats that are “individualized” and “student-centred” when all the students know the same information, which they must all learn at the same rate. A modestly stated answer to this question might lie in the inclusion of Second Life in the classroom which can be introduced and maintained by the current population of pre-service and inservice teachers who enter the classroom with SL knowledge and skills which this paper addresses.

Subject-Area Availability and Integration As pre-service teachers prepare, practice and model quality instruction they keep in mind the following iterated by E.D. Hirsch’s second chapter in The Schools We Need is titled “Intellectual Capital: A Civil Right”. Hirsch opens with the statement that “The need in a democracy is to teach children a shared body of knowledge”(17), which he calls intellectual capital. “operates in almost every sphere of modern society to determine social class, success or failure in school, and even psychological or physical health” (19). Hirsch continues to explain the concept of Intellectual Capital as a necessity for economic and psychological well being, focusing on those children denied access to this “capital.” He empathetically writes, [these children] “fall further and further behind. He then compares this lack of intellectual capitalism with money stating that a “child’s accumulation of wide-ranging foundational knowledge is the key to educational achievement” (20). The inclusion of SL in the teaching/learning spectrum and in the preparation of pre-service teachers can be a powerful adjunct in the development of intellectual capitalism because not only does it have the advantage of being a virtual modifiable classroom, but because it offers access to specific subject-area topics that, again following through on Hirsch, “can be broadly shared with others” for effective communication and learning (20). Through SL, preservice teachers and students of all ages can “go to” sites on beginning reading, mathematics, chemistry, or whatever curriculum area is needed. A further advantage of this access is the opportunity to truly integrate subjects. At an SL site, students at their desktop through their “Avatars” with different aspects of knowledge can meet to present and discuss, for example, “the relationship of mathematics to chemistry, “ or “the history of the English language and its affect on English spelling.”

Visitors to the site can bring their high-level intellectual Future (2007) and Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind questions and find other visitors and materials with (2005). Gardner’s “five minds” represent what he answers. The learning is not linear and based on a terms “five dramatis personae” that allow a person pacing guide, but circular and expansive, and to be “well-equipped to deal with what is expected, dependent on shared knowledge. This specific goal is as well as what cannot be anticipated” (2). The five maintained through the networking of educators minds, according to Gardner, are the disciplined worldwide. Pre-service teachers at St. Francis mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the College, Department of Education had the unique respectful mind, and the ethical mind. Gardner’s opportunity to specific use of the present and terms dramatis participate in personae tie-in not an international coincidentally with o n l i n e the need for “role conference playing” in m e e t i n g t e a c h e r t e a c h e r s preparation. around the Daniel Pink (2005) world to also focuses on d i s c u s s the mind, referring pedagogy to to artists, practice. This i n v e n t o r s , practice alone designers, Dr. Mʼs Student Presentations prepared for class in Second Life is one aspect storytellers, of using this s p e c i fi c technology tool to enrich the learning experience for all students on multiple levels of cognition.

caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers—those with minds needed for the forthcoming decades. Needed for a successful future will be those people who exhibit the qualities of inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness, and meaning. If we can imagine future teachers having minds that merge the qualities of Gardner and Pink, we can imagine teaching and learning environments well beyond the current classrooms we now have. To begin this process, teachers of the future need to begin their training by simulating and role-playing of what is likely to be.

Practice Teaching Simulations and Role-Playing SL gives every participant student multiple opportunities to participate and interact with colleagues. In the History of Education in America, published in 1994, the authors Pulliam and Van Patten w ro t e o f t h e “ C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f F u t u r i s t i c Education” (270-281), much of which they have said is not only relevant, but still needs to occur. They begin with the axiom that “Education is more than training”. Training refers to providing students with existing information. The true purpose of education, they state, “requires an environment in which students are not asked questions for which the answers are known”, but which develop the “ability to solve problems and communicate in a meaningful way” (272). The classroom, as we know it, is a limited setting for pre-service teachers to practice teaching simulations and to role-play not only the teacher, but also the learners. The teacher who lectures can only hope that the “wisdom and knowledge” emanating from the lecture reaches and interacts with the brain of the learner. Two publications extend the earlier work of Pulliam and Van Patten: Howard Gardner’s Five Minds for the

The addition of SL to pre-service teacher preparation is designed by its structure to foster and promote continuous interactions and role-playing, based on solving problems that confront learners and learning, s t re t c h i n g t h e i r m i n d s t o b e d i s c i p l i n e d , synthesizing, creating, respectful, and ethical. Every participant in a SL setting must interact cooperatively, (not competitively) a behavior, which the authors emphasize, is predictive of not only success in school, but also success on the job and in life (Pulliam and Van Patten 274). Also, interacting cooperatively encompasses the qualities cited by Pink. In an SL setting, pre-service teachers can be involved in all or most of these simulations and roleplaying activities (Maisano, 2010). 7

Distance Learning Opportunities for Building Imagine a group of pre-service teachers from St. Culturally Responsive Teaching & Continuous Francis College exchanging methods, concepts, and Professional Development ideas with teachers from Yarrawonga, Australia, using During the aftermath of the storm, lives were shaken, the technology of Second Life to exchange materials saddened by the destruction and devastated by the and artifacts, share problems and solutions, and paralysis of life perhaps once taken for granted. maintain ongoing dialogues. Transportation of any kind was nonexistent as railways and roads were riddled with debris and flooded tunnels. It is during this time that this alternative method of instruction had an impact on students to help them stay connected with one another, their classmates and professor as well as staying connected with their learning community. This model of culturally responsive teaching and learning was poignantly clear and appropriate to distance learning opportunities for building culturally responsive teaching. Aspects of St. Francis College Pre-Service Teachers holding discussion during the teaching and learning are visibly storm on Teaching in Second Life simulated in SL, with “distance” being global and communication Simulated “Field” Experiences made possible through immediate translations. With Second Life (SL) can take students wherever one can the immersive world-learning tool of Second Life (SL), virtually reach. In A Whole New Mind (2005), Pink pre-service and in-service teachers communicate outlines six “high-concept, high-touch senses that can directly with a variety of educators from other countries develop the whole new mind” that students will need. and cultures with opportunities to become culturally He names these “senses” design, story, symphony, responsive teachers. empathy, and play (5,6). While all of these senses can be elevated or raised through participation in SL, Gay (2000) defines culturally responsive teaching as “play” can have a special place and a special value in using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and the SL experience. Pink cites the definition of play by performance styles of diverse students to make Brian Sutton-Smith as “to act out and be willful, exultant learning more appropriate and effective for them; it and committed as if one is assured of one’s teaches to and through the strengths of these students. prospect’ (187). Similarly, Ladson-Billings (1994) studied actual instruction in elementary classrooms and observed these values being demonstrated. She saw that when students were part of a more collective effort designed to encourage academic and cultural excellence, expectations were clearly expressed, skills taught, and interpersonal relations were exhibited.  Students behaved like members of an extended family assisting, supporting, and encouraging each other.  Students were held accountable, as part of a larger group, and it was everyone's task to make certain that each individual member of the group was successful.  As the potential of SL develops, pre-service and in-service teachers have direct experiences in communicating with peers from different cultures and backgrounds.

One of the pleasant school activities for most students at any age is a field trip. A field trip is not only seeing and being part of a place outside the classroom, but means freedom to walk around, possibly touch plants or animals or unique objects, talking to classmates without disapproval, and learning “outside the box” (Maisano, 2010). Yet field trips are generally infrequent for many reasons. Adding the SL “field trips” to a one’s course of study, can be a high-level substitute that expands horizons and offers visualizations beyond those that can be provided in textbooks and other written materials.


Pre–Service teachers at St. Francis College (SFC) in this particular genre of learning had the opportunity to meet and greet educators from many international locations while presenting at a Social Studies International Conference with Virtual Pioneers ( Enhanced by a scenario of role-playing set in an historic period in new geographic locations populated by “characters” of a different era and maybe speaking a different language that is now simultaneously translated on the computer screen. Findings & Results of Focus Group Student Led Discussion and Narrative Anonymous Exit Questionnaire Taken of Pre-Service Teachers at SFC and Their Use of Second Life in the Aftermath of the Storm The focus group discussion and questionnaire comments were in response to the following discussion points. Did the course meet your expectations? What were the highlights/strong points of the course experience? Do you feel the course prepared you for your future teaching experience? Given the circumstances surrounding the aftermath of the storm during this semester, did you think the alternative method of instruction and use of technology helped to maintain the standards and requirements of the course? Is there anything you would have changed or done differently in this course or requirements? The findings will be documented as positive and negative responses to the aforementioned questions, which resulted in 85% positive responses and 15% negative responses. For the purposes of this paper, we have presented the questions and a sampling of the responses to each question divided in positive statements and negative statements.



I feel that the use of technology during the hurricane was a brilliant idea. It was a wonderful accommodation for the students. The use of SL during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy not only made learning convenient but also broadened our understanding of methods of teaching Science. A highlight of this course would have to be using Second Life. I strongly believe that although Hurricane Sandy was a tragedy, it was a great example to show us that these things happen, and we must continue with life as we are given. I was able to find a location with WIFI and didnʼt have to worry about attending class on campus. There was no way of getting to SFC because of transportation issues. I feel that given the aftermath of the storm our professor was prepared to continue class on second life. I thought that was great because everyone would still be together, we could hear each other and there was a certain comfort in being together and helping each other in the middle of so much confusion and destruction. I would have felt lost coming back to class 3 weeks later if it were not for our meeting in SL.

I felt uncomfortable with my inexperience with Second Life. I was afraid to use it. I donʼt think Second Life has helped me. I donʼt know what I am supposed to do and I had trouble following along in class. I had a hard time with the program. Even though the professor helped me I still felt like it wasnʼt the same as being face to face. The storm was too much for me and I didnʼt want to worry about school when so much was going on at home. I preferred class on campus and only some classes in SL. I did struggle with Second Life but I eventually got the hang of it. It might have been better if we had more learning technology time. I would rather have both on campus and SL experience in the course. Sometimes I felt overwhelmed.


POSITIVE We canʼt help natural disasters so I think the use of technology (Second Life) really helped all of us to stay in touch and be on target with our studies and connected to our classmates. I find it interesting how you can put up lessons and see the same things we would see in our face-to-face class even in a virtual learning classroom. Second Life was a bit challenging at first however, seeing how convenient it became in the aftermath of the storm I was drawn to it because it brought us all together when we couldnʼt be together in real life! I wish all my courses had the option of using SL. Because of Hurricane Sandy, we were not able to attend our class on campus at SFC. Second Life acted as a meeting place online. This was not the same as using ANGEL (Blackboard) because it was not like other online courses Iʼve heard about. We actually met and learned together virtually. This helped our class stay on track and up to date with assignments and lessons. SL was a great experience. I learned not only how to teach science and social studies, but how to incorporate technology in our teaching. I was amazed at how much I could use SL. I learned quickly actually and was lucky enough to present at the Virtual Pioneers Conference in SL and got to meet teachers from many different places around the world. The technology allowed me to experiment, experience and gain knowledge on what I can push myself to do and ways to better serve my future students. This technology alternative allowed me to study social studies education in ways I didnʼt know were possible. I felt that the strong points for me in this course were being able to express my creativity in a variety of projects instead of only writing papers and taking tests. I learned so much in this class. Many activities and techniques that I could incorporate in my future teaching were the highlight of this class. It was amazing how many projects we could do in SL. I think the use of technology helped me maintain the standard for this course because we were doing the same thing we would usually do on campus in the virtual classroom. I think Second Life was a great asset to this course in particular. It was convenient and it made presentations easier than bringing everything to campus. I enjoyed learning in a different atmosphere. The use of technology we used in this course made my life as a learner easier and more enjoyable. I love learning new things. SL was not so new to me this semester and by having the prior knowledge, I was able to help my peers to adjust. The technology helped maintain the standard and requirements. We presented our projects in SL, which, I donʼt think many students at SFC are able to do. I wish all our methods classes were hybrid. This would give us all a chance to learn new technology while still covering our entire subject learning too. I enjoyed the online virtual aspect of this course. I believe that the online experience was a unique way of collaborating with classmates and getting to know everyone by presenting projects in SL. Everything we did with the use of technology was exactly as we would have done on campus. I enjoyed this different experience. The highlight of this course was using Second Life to learn how to teach social studies. I think technology in this course was very effective because of how much technology is present in the world around us every day. I had an awesome time teaching and learning in Second Life. I really enjoyed the Second Life experience. It was an introduction to teaching with technology for me. I enjoyed working in groups and collaborating and sharing ideas to put all our projects together.


POSITIVE It was really important to me to be able to keep in touch with my classmates after the storm. I was stuck and couldnʼt get to campus and I missed the learning. I didnʼt want to think about all the terrible things the storm had done. Actually, the bad storm brought us closer together as a group because we were able to still have class online in Second Life. Using technology to interact with each other was very eye opening. I learned there are other ways of learning than just meeting on campus. Found a key aspect of this course was the effective use of Second Life and textbooks assigned. The online program enabled us to meet synchronously at any day and time and allowed the integration of more technology in the world of education. I absolutely feel the integration of technology into this course is vital to our career development. It broadens our teaching strategies and prepares us for the ever-changing classroom that is becoming more geared toward Smart Boards, tablets, and I phone apps. Though some professors may not agree with the use of Second Life, I find it very beneficial to meet the needs of students while still meeting the standards for the course.

CONCLUSION In an analysis completed by the co-authors of this paper, we have come to the conclusion that for the most part, students were happy to have the opportunity to experience a new genre of technology to enrich the course of study. Most students agreed that meeting virtually did not change the content of instruction that students would experience in a face-to-face class. Given the nature of the circumstances surrounding the aftermath of the super storm Sandy, students felt a sense of comfort and normalcy in meeting virtually, which, would not have been able to happen in a class on campus because travel to SFC was impossible given the transportation issues after the storm. Students that struggled with the technology were given assistance by the professor and from peers, however they were overwhelmed with the technology added to the complications of the storm. Our experience as professors using technology in our teaching experiences and with using the immersive learning experience of Second Life is the potential for expanding the global perspectives of both teachers and their students. While many may struggle with the technology of new software and new ways of interacting both with “avatars” and the demands of the college and university programs, they had Dr. Deborah Anne Banker & Dr. Maryanne Maisano the unique experience of “meeting” a global …aka Professor Chatterbox and DrM Magic after class in Second Life world and have the advantage of meeting other educators worldwide and broadening the network of teachers dedicated to the profession. Thomas Friedman (2005) stated the world is flat, a new way of looking at the globe and its potential for direct communication. Second Life, as one way of immersive learning, can be a starting point for global interaction, continuous professional development and a way of moving us closer to the long sought after goal of a world of teaching and learning in a global society. Having the opportunity to gather thoughts and feelings of helping to maintain the continuity of teaching and learning in higher education during a devastating time after the storm was also a way to express the thoughts of our students and allowing them to find the beacon in the storm and exploring a new way of using technology in education. 11

REFERENCES Alvermann, D. (ed.) 2007. Adolescents and literacies in a digital world. New York: Peter Lang. Christensen, C.M., M.B. Horn, & C.W. Johnson. 2008. Disrupting Class. New York: McGraw Hill. Costa, A. And B. Kallick. eds. 2000. Discovering and exploring habits of mind. Alexandria, Va. ASCD. Friedman, T. 2005. The world is flat. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Gardner, H. 2007. Five minds for the future. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Gardner, H. 1983. Frames of Mind. New York: Basic Books Gardner, H. 1982. Art,mind, and brain. New York: Basic Books. Hirsch, E.D. Jr. 1996. The schools we need. New York: Random House. Ladson-Billings, B. (1992). Reading between the lines and beyond the pages: A culturally relevant approach to literacy teaching. Theory Into Practice, 31(4), 312-320. Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers for African-American Children.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995a). But that's just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy.  Theory Into Practice, 34(3), 159-165. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995b).  Multicultural teacher education: Research, practice, and policy.  In J.A. Banks & C.A.M. Banks (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Multicultural Education (pp. 747-759). New York: Macmillan. Levine, M. 2002. A mind at a time. New York: Simon & Schuster. Maisano, M. 2004. A work of A.R.T., accountability, responsibility, and teamwork: A cross-cultural model for individualizing instruction. A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy, Capella University. Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D.J., Pollock, J.E. 2001. Alexandria, Va. ASCD. Miller, D. 2008. Teaching with intention. Portland, ME. Stenhouse Publishers. Pulliam, J.D. and Van Patten, J. 1994. History of education in America, sixth edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Pink, D. 2006. A whole new mind. New York: Riverhead Books. Rothstein, E. & Rothstein, M., 2009. Mathematics and under-served populations in an age of technology. In preparation for CUFA-Council of University Faculty Assembly/NCSS. Rothstein, A. & Rothstein E. 2006. Writing as learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Strong, R.W., Silver, H.F., Perinie, M.J. 2002. Teaching what matters most. Alexandria, VA. ASCD. Vygotskty, L.S. 1978. Mind in society. Boston: Harvard University Press. Second Life, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Taken February 16, 2009, Virtual Pioneers Webpage for Social Studies Educators:

AUTHORS Dr. Maryanne Maisano

Dr. Deborah Anne Banker

A published author of teaching educational best practices, is serving as an Adjunct Professor at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, NY. Dr. M strives to make a positive impact, focusing on implementing and sustaining educational change in the lives of her students. She brings a history of educational involvement in both public and private education, from being a classroom teacher to creating her own private school dedicated to the principles of diversity, social justice, and community participation. Dr. Mʼs research involves using Immersive World Technology and Virtual Learning in both online and face-to-face classes to facilitate instruction as well as continuous professional development opportunities and teacher training seminars and workshops.


Dr. Banker is serving as an Assistant Professor and Program Leader for Special Education at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. She also serves as the lead administrator/builder for the universityʼs immersive world presence and in addition serves as the only nationally certified online course design trainer for the university.   Having taught in both private and public institutions after a career in industry, Dr. B brings a myriad of life experience to her preservice teachers.   In order to advance their life long learning continuum, she facilitates common sense along with technology in online and faceto-face instruction.

Bridging the Gap? by Tom Jeffers

Technology has changed the way we view the world,

Are school districts bridging the technology gap by

the way the globe approaches problems (global

technology integration curriculum writer?

perspectives), the way we interact with people, spend

School districts have curriculum writers. School

and save money, shop, listen to music, watch movies,

districts have technology personal. Not all school

and a host of other activities. To date, adults and

districts have a school level technology specialist. No

children carry a mini computer masked as a

school district has a dedicated person whose sole

smartphone with them. I call it a mini computer for it

responsibility is to pull apart a grade level curriculum

can perform many tasks a laptop computer can. It can

seeking opportunities to use the appropriate

even send information to a printer and surf the

technology. Just placing a smart board in the


classroom will not provide this, however it will

simply providing technology without providing a

generate ideas for the teacher on how best to use this Having access to technology brings the question “Is

technology to instruct the students. School districts

technology being used to integrate teaching methods

are missing technology integration writers who are

and taking advantage of daily access by those who

responsible for analyzing the curriculum, collecting

have such technology [which is most of the globe], the

abilities, and work with curriculum writers to a create

portability of electronic textbooks that are available

technology curriculum that eliminates specific

often at a cheaper price and the ability to email class

technology tool names and focuses on technology use

assignments and notes?” Sure it will change the

concepts. These concepts will also be developed by

practice of teaching but only in the sense of “taking

the technology curriculum integration specialist.

some getting use to.” There are teachers who currently provide parents with personalized reports of

As an educator with vast experience in technology

their childʼs progress through email and some are

use, I constantly wonder if how we are teaching our

starting to use the internet to add assignments.

students at the district pace is beneficial to students

Give the teachers technology and they will integrate it

whose mind is moving at light speed. One question

into instruction. Determining the best way to use

comes to mind, “If modern instruction has the power

technology for the student is a teacher task however

behind it to lead the 20th century child to continue the

central offices have created pacing guides and other

pursuit of what world has to offer?” The student has

materials that eliminate the freedom of exploration by

the responsibility to seek their full positive potential.

the teacher. School administrators take into account

The educator has the responsibility of leading

the full plate a teacher has and adding the

students to discover the path of responsibility for

responsibility of learning and teaching the use of


technology at a mastery level is a difficult task. It is even more difficult for those teachers who technology is foreign to them.


ENHANCING YOUR LESSONS WITH MOZILLA POPCORN MAKER by Matthew F. Norsworthy, Professional Consultant for The Sloan Consortium Adjunct English and Humanities Professor, Humanities/Technology Advocate

Engaging students in the learning process is

to simply rely on the old tried-and-true videos or

every teacherʼs goal. Simply relying on students

sound recordings that may have come with their

reading text on paper and listening to a teacher

textbook. Mozilla Popcorn Maker allows you to

lecture is not going to do the trick in the modern,

use a website, YouTube video, Vimeo, or

technologically advanced world we live in today.

Soundcloud file while adding text, maps, and web

Embracing the technology that is available can

address links that support what “you” want to add

really help increase student engagement in any

to the lesson. You can simply use the URL to the

lesson and at any level of education.


chosen file that you want to present. Then, you

Popcorn Maker is a creative tool that can be used

can add pop-up messages, text, sub-titles, maps,

to help deliver key points and learning objectives

Wikipedia links, and images at precisely the right

through existing Internet-based audio and/or

moment and in the chosen place you want it in

video tools. Once I had a good idea of what I

the original audio/video file.

wanted, I started looking for people to help me bring it to life.

So, you found an interesting video on YouTube on the Civil War for your history class, but you

Incorporating audio or video in your lessons can help engage students and support your learning

want to add more to this video file that would help support your learning objectives and the material

objectives. However, many teachers do not want

that you have been covering in the textbook.


Mozilla Popcorn Maker allows you to add

personally to your lesson in order to really

“layers” to that YouTube video, which will help

help teach from experience.

you do just that. You can incorporate popup


messages in text with key dates, interesting

teach any subject, at any level, in an online

facts, page numbers from the textbook, or

course or in a traditional classroom. Mozilla

even important quotes. You can add a Google

Popcorn Maker can enhance a YouTube video

Map that shows where a battle or event took

for a History lesson, as described earlier.

place, along with a link to a Wikipedia page for

However, teachers can also use this in

additional information. You can choose where

presenting a Vimeo found on a relevant topic

these messages start and finish in the audio/

to your geography, literature, or science class.

video file, and there is almost no limit to how

Music teachers can add pop-upʼs with links

many Pop-upʼs you can add. #

Mozilla Popcorn Maker can be used to

and text, maps, and images to a Soundcloud

Are you worried about not having

recording in order to give students more of a

enough time to incorporate everything that you

music theory or history lesson while listening

want to into the audio/video file? That is not a

to a the piece of music.

problem because you can create pauses to

certainly add a bit of art history and theory

help give “you” more time to teach what “you”

with Mozilla Popcorn Maker when presenting

want to with that audio/video file. Do you have

works of art from a particular style, historic

a great YouTube video, but it is a bit long and

period, or country.

really contains some parts that are irrelevant to what “you” want to teach?


This is not a

Audio and visual presentations can

support your teaching by engaging students

problem either. You can easily add “skips” to

and helping them achieve the learning

the video in order to roll right over those

objectives. Using Mozilla Popcorn Maker can

sections that do not suit your teaching needs. #

Art teachers can

help you enhance those videos or sound

Many of us like to use our own

recordings, which can help connect the

experiences in our teaching to help add a bit

information in the recordings with the material

more of a personal touch on the lesson and to

that you are teaching in your lesson.

help give the students a more practical

students are probably already watching their

application or perspective of the material. So,

favourite YouTube videos and listening to their

have you been to a famous Civil War

favorite bands through smartphones and


computers already.

Have you seen Shakespeareʼs


Therefore, you will

Globe Theatre in London? Did you go to the

certainly capture their attention and enhance

top of the Empire State building, or stand on

their learning with your Mozilla Popcorn Maker

the edge of a volcano in Hawaii? If you did, Iʼll


bet you took pictures. So, put those in your Mozilla Popcorn Maker Presentation and add those moments that you experienced


Training Innovative Students through “©International ICT Seagulls Project” by Hayal Koksal (Ph.D) Visiting Fellow, Kingston University, London, UK Part-time Instructor, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey General Director, Eurasian & Turkish Center for Schools of Quality Director General (Turkey), World Council for Total Quality & Excellence in Education

BIOGRAPHY Dr. Hayal Köksal is a teacher-trainer, researcher and author. She had her MA in English Language Teaching at Gaziantep University in 1992 and her Ph.D. in “Educational Sciences” in 1997. Dr. Köksal has been dealing with Total Quality in Education (TQE) since 1990s. She co-founded the Turkish Centre for Schools of Quality with John Jay Bonstingl in 1999. Dr. Köksal has also been the Director General of Turkey within the “World Council for Total Quality and Excellence in Education (WCTQEE) of India” since 2003. She has written fourteen books. She localized and coordinated the “Innovative Teachers” program of Microsoft Turkey and trained innovative coaches within the Ministry of Education. She has been trying to publicise the Students' Quality Circles philosophy, namely İmece Circles in Turkish, at Turkish schools. She was awarded by the World Bank 2005 Turkey Innovative Marketplace Competition because of her hard work on “İmece Circles Project” in May 2005. The same year, she was awarded as the “World Quality Leader” by the WCTQEE. She has conducted nearly 3000 İmece circles / projects by now. Since 2008, her collaborative work with disabled Students brought her the “Helen Keller Excellence Award” in Mauritius in 2008. She still goes on leading projects with and for the disabled. Her efforts on training dignified young leaders started with her hosting the 10th Annual Conference of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies on 28-30 April 2010. Dr. Köksal is giving some elective and compulsory pedagogic formation courses at the Educational faculty of Boğaziçi University including; “Introduction to the Teaching Profession”, “Innovative Teaching”, “Non-violence in Education” and “Conflict resolution”.


We live in an era of information, technology and communication. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays an important role on the training of new generations. The significant role of it lies in the spread of the knowledge produced and/or gained, creative thinking, sharing and collaborating with others.

Students actively participating in SQC activities develop a number of leadership traits, skills and habits, such as; self-confidence, self-discipline, interpersonal and public relations, empathy, social responsibility, time management skills, scientific and analytical skills, communication skills, creativity, working habits in a team and broader vision.

The author, as the Director of the Eurasia & Turkish Centre for Schools of Quality, has aimed at building bridges among the future leaders of the world through an ICT Project called; “ICT Seagulls in 2003. The goal of the project was determined as to teach collaboration through technology use and thus, to serve humanity in the way of training qualified future citizens (Ennals & Köksal, 2011). It is open to all countries to include all the colours of the humanity into it. With the project students are expected to internalize the scientific approach in conducting a project and also understanding the differences between the cultures and the importance of being environmentally literate and emphatic. In other words At every stage of the project, students are motivated to realise the importance of being creative and original, dealing with time effectively, keeping well-designed portfolios and obeying the ethical rules which are considered to be the characteristics of every effective study. In this paper;- the proud year, the tenth year of the ICT Seagulls Project will be shared with the readers.

In addition to this, the use of ICT affects young children positively, for children are surrounded by ICT in their immediate environments and they are being exposed to very developed technologies from a young age. The essence of the Project focuses on Total Quality Person (TQP) training and aims at “catching kids young”. It is known that early intervention programs and projects help to make children ready for school by supporting their cognitive development and team spirit. It is thought that this readiness for school will have a positive effect on a childʼs attendance by facilitating the childʼs adaptation to school. History of the Project: In 1999, the Ministry of National education started the Total Quality Management in Education (TQE) campaign in 70,000 Turkish schools. The Turkish Centre for Schools of Quality, which aims at spreading that philosophy and its practices in educational environments, was founded by John Jay Bonstingl and the author on 22nd January, 2000 in Istanbul. The author, as the Director of the Centre decided to design an ICT project to teach the total quality (TQ) philosophy, its tools and methodology to school children and teachers in Turkey in 2002. The Project would last an academic year, and the outcomes would be shared through the Internet to reach every school in each town and city within the country. As one significant symbol of Istanbul and Bosphorus is “ the seagull”, the Project was named as “ICT Seagulls Project”. Teamwork would be the main ingredient, focusing on collaboration, sharing and caring rather than developing hostel feelings and rivalry. Since the Project is aimed at teaching the practical side of TQE, it also followed the philosophy of it, i.e. continuous improvement has become the way of improving it. Each year, participants share their reflections to improve the project and necessary modifications are done based upon them.

Main Characteristics of the Project The Project is called; “© International ICT Seagulls Project” and it has just completed its tenth year which has been accepted as the Proud Year by Dr. Köksal, since it has been a really challenging project for her during those ten years. It is designed for all volunteer teams, which are called İmece / Studentsʼ Quality Circles (SQCs), from Pre-schools to universities within every country of the world. In other words, it includes all age groups from kindergarten to colleges including the gifted and the disabled. SQC is a team of students who work to solve their problems through a participatory approach. This helps to develop the leadership quality attributes of the members working in the team. Teachers and parents might take part in the supporting bodies.


A good example of those modifications is about the guidance given to the school teams: During the first years of the Project, a “face-to-face” model was used and the seminars for teaching “Methodology of the Project management” and “Web page design” were conducted at the conference halls of the schools. However, for the last five years, everything has been shared in the cyber world. Training Folders are sent through e-mails or the training CD is sent through the postal service to each team. If any need appears, schools are visited to give guidance. Another change was about the inclusion of various groups. For instance, Nongovernmental teams were included in 2005, kindergarten teams in 2006, international teams in 2007 and the disabled ones in 2008. The other change was about the portion of assessment grades. The role of peerassessing has increased in years. It was 30% during the first years but now it is 60%. Within nine years, nearly three hundred projects were finalised successfully. In 2003 six, in 2004 five, in 2005 twenty-four, in 2006 thirty one, in 2007 ninety three, in 2008 thirty two, in 2009 nineteen, in 2010 twenty, in 2011 thirteen and in 2012 twenty projects were conducted. In each team, there are 8 students and 2 teachers, in other ways almost 3000 people were trained and affected by the project. They learned how to apply analytical skills whilst managing a project. If it is assumed that their parents and people have also been influenced; it is clearly understood how influential the project it is.

(themes), internalizing the team spirit, using q u a l i t y t o o l s a f f e c t i v e l y, i m p r o v i n g technological and environmental literacy, managing time and managing conflict, focusing on ethics especially respecting the copyrights of others, improving communication and problem-solving skills are supposed to be other benefits. Through the Project, students and the leading teachers understand the necessity of feeding the “Mind-Body and Spirit” in a positive way. Young generations are motivated to be more creative, productive and investigative whatever they study. Participants develop a positive attitude towards the importance of sharing the results of their projects in a very extraordinary style, by using their imagination to fly towards the beyond of limits just like; “The Seagull Jonathan Livingstone”; not only at national but also at international platforms. Methodology: The Project circles study is based upon the PDCA Mindset (Plan-Do-Check-Act) by using quality tools and following the “SQC” logic. They use ICT at an optimal level. It was proved after nine years experience that the Project adds a large amount of knowledge and skills to students through its contribution to character development of the young. They gain and improve the philosophy of life-long learning. It is worth noting that, those outcomes are approved not only at national level but also at the international platforms. For instance; the Project has been supported by the World Country for Total Quality and Excellence in Education which was founded by 25 countries in India. It is heartening to have SQCs from all over the world.

Project Topics: Through the Project; awareness will be created within the student-teacher circles (teams) concerning “human dignity”, “cultural sensitivity” and “tolerance”. Gaining a historical perspective about the studied problem areas


Main Steps: After completion of the registration procedures between the coordinator and the administration of the volunteer school, the needful training seminar is given to the Project Circle (Team) through Power Point sharing and also tele-conferencing sessions in the cyber world with Skype. All the team members and the leading teachers start their project journey after getting the detailed information about the steps of the Project. Projects must be prepared based upon the PDCA Mindset (Plan, Do, Check, and Act) as mentioned above. Teams take the following steps after getting the necessary training: They identify the project topic concerning the problem area with the participation of all members of the circle including volunteer parents and students. They conduct a detailed research (Literature review) about the problem area. They draw the “Road Map” of the project by using quality tools, such as; “Brainstorming”, “Ishikawa Diagram”, “Matrix”, “Pareto”, etc. They find out and determine some strategies, tactics to solve the problem after the determination of the main and root causes of the problem. They prepare data collection tools. Then the implementation step starts. They collect and analyze the data related to the problem. In order to do that, they prepare surveys, interviews or observation tools. They implement those strategies to bring about a solution to their problem. Meanwhile they try to involve the whole community into those planned activities. Thus, they create awareness about the problem. Finally they measure the success rate of the change that they have created as a result of their implementation phase, and

They share all the outcomes with the community through various technological ways such as; web page design, Blog or PPT. As it was pointed above, that methodology is called a PDCA Mindset, in other words; they plan in advance, they apply the problem solving tools, they check the result and after the necessary modifications they recommend the solutions to the public through ICT. Age Groups of the Project: As it was stated before, the Project is open to all age groups. However, for the assessment step, the grouping is done as follows: •Pre-school education / Kindergarten Circles / Teams, •Elementary School Circles (1-8 graders), •High School Circles (9-12 graders), •University Circles (Undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate), •Circles supported by NGOs (All age groups), •Circles supported by the Business World (All age groups), •Disabled circles (All age groups), •Gifted studentsʼ circles (All age groups). School types do not make any difference in the evaluation phase, i.e., there is no difference between the circles that belong to State or Private Schools. They are assessed within the same group. However; different criteria are used for the young and adult ones. This is also valid for the disabled circles.

Awards: Every project circle completing the whole process successfully is a “Winner”. However, after the assessment period, they are also awarded by various titles, such as: “The Most Creative Circle” or “The Best High School Project Leader”, etc.


There is no financial award of this Project. The ones who complete the project successfully learn how to conduct a scientific project, how to manage time and conflict, how to apply quality tools, the PDCA Mindset, and how to use technology in a collaborative way. The reward is internalizing the methodology and gaining both national and international reputations through press releases, social media and web page announcements from the Project.

Istanbul, Boğaziçi University/SQC Mindhunters Those teams (SQCs) have just completed the peer-assessment phase and the jury members have been waiting for the assessment forms. The process will be completed at the end of July 2013 and the results will be announced in August. The team leaders will get their awards and certificates on 30th November 2013 at the City Montessori school, Lucknow, India where the WCTQEE was founded.

Final Words

The Projects for the Year 2013 This year 10 school teams registered for the project, however, only five of them could finalize their projects: Four teams from Turkey and one team from Nepal. The project teams (SQCs) and their Blog/Web addresses are as follows: Burdur, Bahçelievler Primary School/SQC YoungLeaders Istanbul, Okçumusa Primary School/SQC Pet Lover Hands Nevşehir İncekera Science High School/SQC Crumbs

According to the findings gained through a six-month collaboration with kids and also from the observation during the final presentations, it was understood that “Childhood Education Projects” have an effect not only on cognitive but also affective and psycho-motor development of the children who participated in the project. These findings revealed the importance of involving kids into projects at very early ages. This point must be taken into account, because environmental conditions affect childrenʼs development especially in their early years. Such kinds of support causes children to start to school more ready, to adapt more easily and be more successful in school as has been stated in many research. Furthermore, the use of ICT might add more enthusiasm and interest among the kids. By means of providing such kind of diversity to the educational institutions will create an early state of readiness towards cultural differences. This is the essence of a peaceful and collaborative future world.

Nepal, LittleAngels High School/SQC Elevate


Computer Game Design: A stage for Learning through Conversational Thinking by Yasemin Allsop, ICT Coordinator, Wilbury Primary School

Thinking back about my father who

thinking, collaborative working and creativity as learning is extensively derived on how well students can transfer and apply these skills to different learning contexts. Bransford et al. (2000, p.55) states that the transfer of the skills and knowledge is possible when learning involves more than simple memorization or applying a fixed set of procedures. Foremost, the student needs to understand the concepts and become expert in the skills, then know how and when to apply the skills to new situations. Although these steps look very straight forward, it is only viable when one develops the ability to understand and reflect their own thoughts, in other words metacognitive skills (Flawell, 1979; Fisher, 2005). Textual coding, if not taught in a context can turn into practice of memorization or applying a fixed set of procedures, which is not going to be a very meaningful experience for young children.

had never been to school, couldn’t read and write. Still, he could design and make Turkish stoves and later on street carts on wheels using a few tools to exact measurements. I remember him cutting and connecting metal tubes, wheels and other parts for hours sometimes for days using just basic tools outside our flat. How he understood the mechanics of his designs and decided what he needed to make it work is still a mystery for me. We didn’t have books, or TV, definitely no Google to search for instructions. Sadly he passed away when I was young, so I will have to try to answer this question myself…

I personally would like to focus on ʻcomputer game designʼ You may ask why? Resnickʼs explanation of the ideas behind creating Scratch probably summarise the whole concept behind my thinking. Resnick (Resnick et al., 2009) asserted that, although his team was inspired by programming environments such as Alice and Squeak Etoys, they wanted to create a programming environment that was “more tinkerable, more meaningful and more social than other programming environments”. By “more tinkerable” he means being able to snap and build the programming blocks like building with lego bricks so that children can start tinkering with blocks to just try out their ideas straight away. Kafaiʼs description of learning through design also explains the relationship between the ʻdesignʼ element of game design and childrenʼs learning. In her book Minds in Play: Computer Game Design as a Context for Childrenʼs Learningʼ she noted (Kafai, 1995 p.xvii), “Learning through design considers programming not only valuable for its computational and technological knowledge, but also supportive of other learning. It proposes an environment in which the computer becomes a tool that allows children to express their personal thoughts and ideas, in the form of a product”

Recently, especially in England, where ICT has been replaced by the Computing curriculum, writing and talking about teaching children programming and coding is more popular than ever. Every day I read a new planning scheme shared by someone or watch a video of how to teach Python, Java, Raspberry pi and so on… Suddenly, everybody became an expert in teaching programming to children; raving about all kinds of programs or tools. What is missing is, understanding how children learn and how to best teach it. I am not sure that teaching children just textual coding will be enough to equip them with very valuable transferrable life skills such as problem solving, critical


This again emphasises the importance of how design makes programming more meaningful for the learners

What this tells us is, when children are designing their own computer games, they are constantly thinking. This

by enabling them to reflect their individuality moulded

thinking is more like having a conversation with their

into their design. In game design, children tell the story in their mind where the words canʼt... It is like mental

ʻselfʼ and ʻothersʼ. At this point it is very appropriate to mention Vygotskyʼs (1934/1962; 1934/1987) “private”

sentences written in the form of shape, objects, narrative, codes and actions. Their feelings, worries,

speech theory. Vygotsky described “private” speech as the critical transitional process—the pivotal stage—

enjoyments, dreams, curiosity, interests, excitement all

between speaking with others and thinking for oneself.

find a voice in their own game design which reflects their world in their mind. When students can relate to a

What is fascinating is how the children turn their private speech into lengthy conversations, which they then use

learning context, learning becomes meaningful which activates the engagement trigger throughout the

for designing solutions for problems by themself. By having conversations with their ʻselfʼ instead of only

learning process.

ʼothersʼ, the child takes on both speaking and listening

The question is how does game design enables

roles, where thinking becomes verbalized in solutions or the design created. As mentioned before learning takes

children to learn? In order to answer this question we need to explore their mental activities. in other words

place when one develops the ability to understand and reflect their own thoughts, in other words metacognitive

their ʻthinkingʼ when designing their own games. The

skills (Flawell, 1979; Fisher, 2005). In a game design

following section will explore this.

context; conversation with ʻselfʼ enables children to go inwards and recognize/design/evaluate/develop their

From ʻPrivateʼ Speech to Conversational

thoughts and then reflect them through conversation with ʻothersʼ which helps them to develop their ideas

Thinking: Learning Through Game Design

further. You may say is it only when designing games

Watching children designing their own computer games over the years, one of the most common repeated

children learn through conversational thinking. The answer is of course not, however there are some

behaviours I noticed was, they kept touching on the codes, characters on the computer screen and

characteristics of the learning context that game design offers, which children can relate to easier than other

speaking sometimes aloud to themselves, sometimes to

learning environments. I havenʼt got space to discuss

their friends. There were situations where a few children closed their eyes whilst speaking aloud to themselves.

them all here but still I would like to list a few of them:

Some of them looked at the screen for a very long time, without saying a word, in their words they were ʻthinkingʼ.


all know that children love playing computer games, therefore having an opportunity to design a

When they were asked what they were

game that they can play alone or with their friends

thinking when designing their answers included;

means a lot to them. During game design, children donʼt always have to

“I think about the motion in real life. When I think about swimming, I think about like I move my arms up and

listen or follow the instructions of an adult (they shouldnʼt anyway), they can just get on with their work,


exactly how they would when making creations with Lego. No time for boredom! Computer game design gives children time ad

“I imagine the game before I make it. If I make a game

where it is a car game, in a city, first I make the sceneimagine the city, then the car and I think about what to

flexibility to make up a world or a narrative that reflects their own world in their mind. They are not confined to a

do with it”

space or limited by time. It is like freedom to learn...

•Designing a computer game helps them to turn their

“I test it out in my mind. If it is not realistic, then I wonʼt

abstract thinking into a concrete design which is quite

try on my design, because I know it wonʼt work”

an advanced learning experience. “I try to design the movements in my mind but I try them out on the program, because the codes are on the program, not all in my mind” 22

Final words....Please stop teaching me, Let me Learn!

stood out, they looked so much better and I am not saying this because he was my father. I believe that he didnʼt just design them just to earn his living, he put extra time and effort into each one of them because he not only had pride in his work, but also it was a language for him to express his thinking where he couldnʼt do it in words…

I think one of the main reasons why children learn better when designing their own games is, because they not only have an opportunity to design and manage their own learning experience actively but also internalize and externalize their own thinking through constant dialogues. Put simply they have time to


understand and reflect on their own thinking. Today in schools most of the teaching done by teachers is where

Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (2000). Learning and transfer (Chapter 3). In How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school (pp. 51-78). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

children are forced to sit and listen for the most of the lessons. No time to think, no time to discuss (both with their ʻselfʼ and ʻothersʼ) and certainly no time to reflect. Most importantly, no opportunity for the students to develop and manage their own learning experience or

Fisher R. (1998), Thinking about Thinking: developing metacognition in children. Early Child Development and Care, Vol 141 (1998) pp1-15. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from %20resources/robert_fisher_thinkingaboutthinking.htm

at least take part in the process of it. No flexibility for wondering around either in their mind or in the physical learning space. Surely in this model, students will only use and develop listening and sitting skills rather than thinking…

Flavell, J. H. (1979). Metacognition and cognitive monitoring: A new area of cognitive-developmental inquiry. American Psychologist, 34, 906-911.

Well, we need to stop complaining about children. We ask children what they are interested in, then ignore their answers when designing lessons, we tell them to be an active participant in the classroom, then make them sit and listen for a very long period of time, we ask them if they understood, then give them no time to think of an answer. Basically we keep talking and teaching (we think we are) but we donʼt allow them to learn. There is nothing wrong with todaysʼ children. We just donʼt understand how they learn and how best to teach it.

Kafai, Y. (1995) Minds in Play: Computer Game Design as a Context for Children's Learning. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Resnick, M., Maloney, J., Monroy-Hernández, A., Rusk, N., Eastmond, E., Brennan, K., ...Kafai, Y. (2009). Scratch programming for All. Communications of the ACM, 52(11), 60-67. Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Thought and language. (E. Hanfmann & G. Vakar, Eds. and Trans.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Going back to my father, how he learned to design those amazing stoves and street carts? I think he had time to listen to himself and have many long conversations with his ʻselfʼ, which helped him to verbalise his thinking into a design.. He was also free to make mistakes, try out many ideas before deciding which was the best one. He didnʼt have someone telling him what to do all the time or giving him the instructions directly. He had to think for himself and developed a sequence of thinking which helped him to get more efficient when making a stove or a cart the next time. He enjoyed designing and making… When you compare his ideas with others, they


Literacy, Community and Bitstrips by Lesley Wilton and writing foundation skills to include “the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that enable complex ways

Lesley Wilton, OCT, is an elementary teacher in t h e To r o n t o a r e a o f Ontario, Canada. A published author and presenter, she is currently a PhD student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University of Toronto. Her research interests include digital literacy, online reading, online collaborative learning, elearning and integrating technology into teaching and learning. One of her ongoing projects is investigating professional learning in a school board where BYOD has recently been implemented. She can be followed on twitter: @LesleyWilton

of getting and making meaning from multiple textual and symbolic sources” (Warschauer & Ware, 2008, p. 215). Literacy pervades Silver__Heartʼs Bitstrips experiences. In school, Silver__Heartʼs Bitstripsʼ use was guided by the teacher who directed the content and preapproved published materials. These early experiences were designed to meet the curriculum and learning expectations of the appropriate grade. Motivated by creating and publishing in an authentic community of students, Silver__Heart created her own personal account with permission from her parents, and began participating in an online community of creators.

It is a typical after-school day when Silver__Heart (with two underlines between Silver and Heart) checks her account for comments, the Theme of the Day or status updates. She is an artist and a

Bitstrips was launched at South by Southwest in 2008 by Jacob Blackstock, an animator tired of repeatedly drawing the same things, and a group of his computer-talented friends (TIFF, 2012). Blackstock claims that within two years, over

c r e a t o r. A n e x p e r i e n c e d © B i t s t r i p s I n c . ( member since 2009, she was

600,000 registered users had made 3 million comics and the site had registered 100 million page

first introduced to Bitstrips for Schools in computer

views with 400,000 unique visitors a month (TIFF, 2012; crossmediaevents, 2012). He describes his

class. Building on her school experience outside of her classroom, she is engaging in literacy in this

early school experience as a motivator for creating

21st century through an online community.

such a tool. Blackstock observes that the comics he drew by hand making fun of his teachers would

The meaning of the term literacy long ago

often get him into trouble, but the projects that he completed using hand-drawn comics usually

expanded from the pre-1970s focus on the fundamental skills of reading, though many experts

received high grades (TIFF, 2012). His program

and reading specialists continue to focus on reading and writing skills, particularly those related

features the ability to design characters (self, friends and others) and easily build comics using a

to print texts (Lankshear & Knovel, 2006). Scholars

drag-and-drop interface combined with a whole host of templates, props and artifacts. The

have attempted to clarify the definition of literacy as social (involving social practices) and situated

character design process allows for extensive

(Barton & Hamilton, Gee). New literacy theorists are attempting to define and examine concepts

positioning and expression options. Text bubbles are available for dialogue. Commenting on

around new literacies. Central to this examination is

published comics is frequent, with corresponding facial expressions of the avatar to support the tone

the observation that “literacy practices pervade daily life” (Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear & Leu, 2008, p. 9). This digital age view looks beyond the reading


of the post.

Such a tool opens the world of comic creation to those who are unable to draw and animate by hand. A

Silver__Heart creates in many genres. Her artwork is extensive. Most recently featured as one of Buddyʼs

published comic can be shared with anyone online.

(Jacob Blackstockʼs character) favourites, The Most

Once became available for teachers to use in practice, comics were created and

Beautiful Creature.. (Figure 1) has appeared as a suggested comic to view (

published in all subjects (TIFF, 2012). It was licensed by the Ontario Ministry of Education for all schools in

Self-taught, she spent about two hours creating this. When Silver__Heart needs help, she turns to

Ontario (TIFF, 2012). According to Blackstock, some She cannot draw free-hand

87% of Ontario schools had taken up this tool (crossmediaevents, 2012). Blackstock points out that

with a mouse in this program. Rather, she must create using a finite set of props and must shade using

this product allows students to express themselves through a fun and familiar medium as an active

shapes which she sizes and turns. Silver__Heart has mastered the colour codes and keeps track of her

participant while exploring their own identity in a


plethora of situations (TIFF, 2012). To date, Silver__Heart has published over 650 comics and almost 80 series. Her unpublished repertoire contains more than 1000 other creations. Her account lists almost 60,000 views, with around 1500 kudos and laughs and more than 1000 users have favourited a comic of hers. She encounters similar creators from countries all over the world including the U.K., Australia and the U.S. Primarily, her connections are from Ontario where the program originated. Her impression is that most of these friends range from middle school to high school age, though she has also met a retired grandmother and entire families (parents

Figure 2. For Syd.

and children) online. Together, many are lobbying for a

In the Experimental Genre, Silver__Heart has been featured as a top author. Last month she began a

BitCon – a conference similar to a Comic Con or VidCon. Bitstrips has also recently launched a

Chez Silver Makeup © series where she chooses a random friend that is online, and creates a custom

Facebook application, which has opened the world of avatar creation to millions of users (Kurwa, 2013).

background for their avatar, dressing them in an

Those in the 18-24 year range are adopting it quickly,

interesting outfit and applying complementary makeup. Silver__Heart has created more than 30 of these

attracted by its flexibility (LeFavor, 2013).

and they are well received. She spends anywhere from 30 minutes to hours designing these. Her backgrounds have been copied and used in other comics. For Syd has received over 700 views http:// (Figure 2). Of her series, MistClan is her favourite (http:// Many seriesʼ authors create remixes of the popular Warrior series written by Erin Hunter. Silver__Heart has a number of series in the works and will only publish them after creating at least 6 comics. Many are well followed. Daisy, a remix of popular story or perhaps an urban legend, is her most recent (

Figure 1. Silver__Heart’s The Most Beautiful Creature


What Silver__Heart likes best is producing (and the creative process involved) and the camaraderie of the

Handbook of research on new literacies, (pp. 1-22). New York, NY: Erlbaum. crossmediaevents (2012, Nov 5). CMTO10 - Demo #2 - BitStrips - Jacob Blackstock. Retrieved from Davies, J., & Merchant, G. (2009). Web 2.0 for schools: Learning and social participation. New York, NY: Peter Lang. Gee, J. P. (2004). Situated language and learning: a critique of traditional schooling. New York, NY: Routledge. Kurwa, N. (2013, May 11). Make your own comics: Storytelling with friends, in all tech considered: Tech, culture and connection. npr. Retrieved from alltechconsidered/2013/05/11/182925867/ make-your-own-comics-storytelling-withfriends Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2006). New literacies: everyday practices & classroom learning (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Open University. LeFavor, L. (2013, April 29). Bitstrips comics explode onto Facebook: The new app has more than 7 million users. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved from 2013-04-29/entertainment/bs-aebitstrips-20130426_1_app-comics-facebook Silver__Heart. (n/d). Daisy. Retrieved from http:// Silver__Heart. (n/d). For Syd. Retrieved from http:// Silver__Heart. (n/d). Mist Clan. Retrieved from http:// Silver__Heart. (n/d). The Most Beautiful Creature.. Retrieved from TIFF (2012, July 4). Jacob Blackstock: TIFF Nexus: New Media Literacies. Retrieved from http:// Warschauer, M., & Ware, P. (2008). Learning, change and power: Competing frames of technology and literacy. In J. Coiro, M. Knobel, C. Lankshear and D.J. Leu (Eds), Handbook of research on new literacies, (pp. 215-240). New York, NY: Erlbaum. wikiHow (n/d). wikiHow: the how to manual that you can edit. Retrieved from draw.

community. There is chat bar for posting updates. In September, for example, there were many excited and supportive comments about the first days of school. This comic community supports good causes and each other as they dress in pink for Cerebral Palsy or green for Lyme disease. Not all middle schools carry on the tradition of the school she attended. In fact, in Silver__Heartʻs school board, access to programs like Bitstrips is entirely up to the teacher. Last year, she created a how-to video about Literacy and Bitstrips related to the Ontario grade 7 Language Arts curriculum For more information on how teachers are using Bitstrips in their classrooms, see http:// Silver__Heart is thankful that she was introduced to this Bitstrips in school. For her, it has become more than just a learning tool. While she continues to learn through her online experiences, she has also developed a community of similar-minded inventors, designers and producers. Through this supportive community, her identity is evolving and her artistic skills are expanding. Silver__Heart epitomizes a 21st century learner engaged in literacy in everyday life both outside of school and, as tools such as these become available to students, in school.

References 2x Sky (2013, March 29). Elearning: Teaching with Bitstrips: Grade 7 Language Arts - a How To. Retrieved from Barton, D., & Hamilton, M. (2000). Literacy practices. In D. Barton, M. Hamilton & R. Ivaniĉ (Eds.), Situated literacies: reading and writing in context, (pp. 7-15). New York, NY: Routledge. © Bitstrips Inc. (n/d). Bitstrips. Retrieved from Bitstrips Blog. (2013) Bitstrips for Schools: Comics in the Classroom. Retrieved from http:// Coiro, J., Knobel, M., Lankshear, C., & Leu, D. J. (2008a). Central issues in new literacies and new literacies research. In J. Coiro, M. Knobel, C. Lankshear & D. J. Leu (Eds.),


Just one more block... by Stephen Reid, director of 'A Higher Place', working in education around the world to develop the use of ICT in curriculum learning and soft skills development.

“Just one more block…”, “If I just flatten this area and put this here Iʼll…”, “I can build that in a few

I note from some comments on Twitter recently that some people just donʼt see the educational merit of

minutes…”. These are just some of the comments

Minecraft. I have carried out CPD on games-based

youʼll hear from someone lost in the vast worlds of Minecraft. Building colossal structures theyʼve never

learning in which a geography teacher has left desperate to install Minecraft while his/her history

seen before, landscaping whole valleys, mountains and forests, rerouting rivers and exploring deep

colleague sees no use for it. Education can never be a uniform system…on account of many elements,

caverns underground. Itʼs this level of freedom to

not least of all the pupils. So the more tools

create that makes Minecraft such an engaging platform for play. And itʼs this engagement that

educators have, the better. Let Minecraft be just one of those. Not everyone will want to use it…just like

makes Minecraft such a valuable learning tool. Iʼm a huge fan of using Minecraft as a learning tool.

podcasting, animation, cameras, some web 2.0 tools, e-journaling, blogging tools and

To date itʼs one of the most powerful games-based


learning platforms Iʼve found. It neatly fuses the engagement of gaming for pleasure with the elusive art of subliminal learning, a strategy sought after in so many ICT and games-based learning initiatives. Iʻve use Minecraft in many areas of education from primary to secondary; In after school clubs, with notfor-profit organisations such as libraries and museums, with businesses and Iʻm about to start work on a sizeable historical project reconstructing a famous Scottish town as part of the 2014 year of culture. I have taught elements of literacy, numeracy, science, art, design and technology, RME, computer science, primary topic work and much more using Minecraft and I work with

Worldwide Minecraft CPD

educators around the world using Minecraft across a

I recently built a learning environment using

wide variety of curricula.

Minecraft specifically for teacher. From the basic functions of mining, crafting and building to applying

However, like all good tools for learning, Minecraft

the gameʼs mechanics to their own subject.

must only be used in the right situation and under the right circumstances. With forethought, planning

Educators are offered free, in-game CPD with me using Skype. Itʼs been an interesting project with

and a clear, valid purpose. While Itʼs easy (and

teachers from all over the world visiting; from the UK to South America, Europe, Scandinavia and as far

tempting) to use technology for the sake of using technology, itʼs important to make the results of

as New Zealand (though lets face it…in an online

using Minecraft measurable. Aligning the virtual tasks we undertake directly to

context, thatʼs just a few milliseconds away).

our curriculum outcomes and experiences.


Many have commented that Minecraft became infinitely more applicable after such a session

challenges and problems. We used flooding and minefields in a recent project we undertook for a

(usually just one hour). Perhaps there is some

geography department exploring the displacement

weight here in the importance of training in the use of these kinds of tools? Time, space and funding

of population after a natural disaster or war. It was used to great effect to keep the pupils from

for pioneering new ideas, technologies and pedagogies in the yearly allocation of training for

growing bored of the freedom to go anywhere, do anything. Focusing their minds on the task in

staff? Larger risk, but Iʼm willing to bet there will be

hand, the fear of that mine or the importance of

much larger rewards too. This in turn raises the question of why education is generally always way

the construction of flood defences before the imminent flood.

behind industry, commerce and home life in the application of technology? But thatʼs a whole other article. It has been said that pupils will be put off by the regimentation of Minecraft in a learning environment, far from the freedoms they have outside of school. While Minecraft simulates the real world, the truth is, it isnʼt real. Initially this strikes me as an accurate argument. After all, one of the main attractions of Minecraft is the sandbox

Dam from above before the flood.

environment and freedom within it to create anything you can imagine but within a set world to set rules. But if we look at this historically, in the realm of human development, this is how we flourish. Without some sense of order, law, rules, regulation, civility and such, there is only chaos. This is no different in Minecraft. Where I have left my own worlds open to this freedom we have experienced malicious destruction of our school constructions, the burning of our ʻGruffalo Forestʼ, our in-game QR codes changed and so on. However, over time (and in some cases a very

Dam open

short time indeed) children begin to develop a

Of course, giving them that freedom as a

sense of order, form rules, tasks, levels of acceptable behaviour. They police themselves,

reward for completing challenges and maintaining the rules is a matter of ʻgamificationʼ. Pupils were

they plan and organise, allocate land, remove shoddy work and promote good work elsewhere.

able to build a hugely elaborate settlement once

They make teams and work collaboratively or in

they safely reached their chosen resettlement area.

healthy competition. It doesnʼt take us as administrators or educators to do this!

One final point; if we strip away the subject specifics of curriculum learning. Assume we donʼt need to meet outcomes or objectives or

If planned, managed and structured for learning and so, to some degree limited, Minecraft can

experiences in any given subject. The sheer wealth and quality of soft skills developed through

prolong a pupilʼs interest in the game and overall

the collaborative work encouraged by a tool such as Minecraft is astonishing.

learning purpose. The beauty of Minecraft is the freedom we have to actually set rules, borders,


Communication skills (in multiple languages where necessary), leadership, sharing, teamwork, organisation, time management, task management, decision-making, self and peer assessment and more. All willingly…or rather unwittingly given, as part of the experience. Music to any educatorʼs ears! I am sure the Minecraft phenomenon will fade eventually as new games with ever more attractive mechanics are released (notice I didnʼt say

Farming and Food Sources

graphics). The games industry is changing rapidly towards a more interactive, ʻhackʼ, ʻmodʼ and ʻbuild-your-ownʼ model. Lets just try to keep an open mind about all of the tools available to our educators. For now…Iʼm a fan of Minecraft as a tool for learning. Provided itʼs the right tool for the job in hand! Here are some of the projects weʼve been running in schools across the UK and wider world:


Ancient Rome-Aqueducts

Places of Worship

Working Lighthouse (Redstone ʻElectricityʼ and ʻCircuitryʼ Challenge)


Games Based Learning Theory and Practice by Paul Ladley

Much has been discussed about computer games and their impact on young people. A lot of the media has focused how games are turning our young people into violent hooligans. But more recently, there has been shift in opinions. While there isnʼt a universal cry of “games are good”, there is a general acceptance that games might have a place in education. Michael Gove seems to have taken notice, “Games and interactive software can help pupils acquire complicated skills and rigorous knowledge in an engaging and enjoyable way … Britain has an incredibly strong games industry, with vast potential to engage with education both in this country and all over the world. We're already seeing these technologies being used in imaginative ways.” Beyond the buzz, what are the merits to the gamification of education? GBL can achieve some learning outcomes not easily achievable with traditional teaching approaches. Simulations, in particular, can support Learn by Doing and Learn by Being. Learn by Doing is focused on skills, actions, activity, engagement, team working and so on. Learn by Being is focused on knowledge such as understanding the environment, values, attitudes, society, diversity, culture and so on.

About the Author Paul is an innovative learning professional, games based learning & gamification expert, project manager and instructional designer with over 20 yearsʼ commercial experience acquired on corporate, public sector and education projects. He is MD of pixelfountain which designs, develops and delivers workshop-based learning simulations (serious games). pixelfountainʼs games-ED (http:// brand provides games based learning for schools, colleges and universities. He also blogs at

Design and Development Approach If Games Based Learning (GBL) is to succeed, it needs to be more than a bit of fun that motivates students. It should be underpinned with learning theory. Measuring outcomes such as fun, engagement, and motivation generates buy-in, but it provides no guiding principles for designers and educators (teachers/ lecturers). Situated Learning provides such a theoretical underpinning (see box). So how do can we ensure that GBL products are fit for purpose? It is essential that a robust design and development approach is used: •Analysis & Initial Design: Scoping with expert / teachers. •Detailed Design: design look & feel; user interface; algorithm; and incidents. •Build: Develop Media and interface; Incorporate algorithm. •Testing & Tuning. •Piloting: User group plays the sim. The simulation is tweaked on the basis of feedback.


Situated Learning Theory and Multimedia Requirements • Provide authentic context. • Provide authentic activities. • Embed expert performances and model processes. • Provide multiple roles and perspectives. • Support collaborative construction of knowledge. • Provide coaching and scaffolding. • Promote reflection to enable abstractions to be formed. • Promote articulation to enable tacit knowledge to be made explicit. • Provide for integrated assessment. Adapted from: Herrington & Oliver

Pupils at Mellor Primary School take pride in turning around a virtual community and getting a high score.

!Case Study: Sustainaville Sustainaville is a simulation of a virtual community. It tackles issues around sustainable development and can be used in Geography, PSHEE, Enterprise, Business Studies, Environmental Studies and enrichment. The game requires the class to work together in teams to deal with social concerns such as crime, environmental matters such as climate change and economic problems such as unemployment. The teams play the roles of utilities, enterprise, housing & regeneration, local council, health sector, community & voluntary, education & skills and transport. Just like in the real world the pupils have to work with limited budgets. They also have to deal with incidents such as floods and cuts to rural transport. Can students transform the virtual community – they have three years in charge! Sustainaville was piloted in a primary school in Stockport and also to year 8 tutor group in an all girls school in Tower Hamlets. The game ran over three rounds which created natural breakpoints in the game play to enable reflection to take place. The approach supports multiple learning conversation and learners talked in their teams, between teams and at a class level. The game anchored these conversations through questions such as: What should we prioritise? Will you buy that, if we buy this? What could we have done better? Learning outcomes in the two schools were significant: • • • •

77.5% improvement in subject knowledge. 57% improvement in decision-making skills. 67% improvement in understanding of cause and effect. 51% improvement in group working.

Mrs Hulme, Class Teacher / Deputy Head at Mellor Primary, stated: •

The children were fully engaged for all the session and the ʻbuzzʼ in the room was one of real active learning. • The money aspect involved really captured the childrenʼs interest and they were genuinely interested to see the impact their purchases had made on the town. They were disappointed to see the results/consequences of their purchases in Year 2 and were keen to rectify them in Year 3! • The workshop pulled together many elements – working together, impact of managing and dealing with other people who have differing opinions, dealing with consequences of actions, environmental issues, dealing with money, managing a budget plus many more.  Mrs Foulkes who is a Teaching Assistant at Mellor Primary School stated, “I thoroughly enjoyed the session, as did the children. This group of children love anything involving money so it really captured their attention whilst dealing with lots of important and complex issues.” “The students were engaged in the activity and enjoyed seeing the results of their decisions”, said Mrs Chapman (Assistant Head at Central Foundation Girls School). A demonstration of Sustainaville can be found at Conclusion Games based learning offers powerful benefits, but if teachers are to take a leap of faith, then games need to work in classroom environments and support standard teaching practices. Developers cannot expect decades of good teaching practice to be thrown away. To this end, games based learning needs to support the evolution of teaching and not require a revolution. 31

Listen up children! Using the educational Platform Moodle for e-learning by Boris Vidovic and Sandra Vetma Listen up, children! I will ask you a question now: Is it more enjoyable, easier, and better to learn with or

pupil becomes the most important active link in the chain of learning and comprehension. The frontal

without the help of a computer? Yes, with the help

style teaching is no longer the only method of

of the computer. Do all of you like working with the computers? Yeah. Yeah.

school work, but rather a collaborative construction of knowledge by all members of the group or team on an assigned project prevails. Through this style of teaching, learning is not limited to classroom

The students in the lower grades of Pujanke Elementary School in Split are in high spirits, full of

instruction, but also outdoors: in real life.

energy and natural interest in the unknown which surrounds them. They like school breaks and playing very much in the same way as their peers

The introduction of e-learning for the young students is the goal of the Croatian National

do in other Croatian schools. The pupils of the third grade group A, guided by their teacher and

Education Standard par excellence.

mentor Sandra Vetma, appear more mature and more motivated for learning than their peers in other groups. They are fond of discussing many issues with their peers, teachers and adults. It is obvious that they are more informed than their peers, and occasionally more than some of the adults. What make this group of pupils so special in comparison with the peers? We asked the school principal Mr. Boris Vidovic. These kids have been using the educational Platform Moodle for e-learning for more than a year. Upon the introduction of the Croatian National Educational Standards (CNES) in all Croatian schools in the school academic year

We use Moodle in order to work in an efficient way, to get quality assurance, and to realise some

2006/07, the teachers were given great freedom for

principals of the CNES which are being discussed

introducing modern theories of learning and teaching. The goal of the CNES is to transform the

widely both in education circles and in public. Currently, the kids learn how to cooperate by

old, traditional way of teaching which was characterized by the dominant role of an

working collaboratively on a project. They think it is fun to play and work at home in this way. In reality,

omniscient teacher, and passive students

they learn a lot through work. They do not take it as

accustomed to listen to the teacher into a new modern way of teaching. In the old methodology

an obligatory assignment. They work with joy, even at weekends. They have online action plans

the students were asked to memorise lots of facts f o r a g o o d g r a d e . I n t h e n e w, m o d e r n ,

knowing in advance what subjects and contents they are supposed to do data research. They have

decentralized school the teacher is a mentor and

really surprised me because they often bring a lot

coordinator of many types of instruction, and the

of material to class which we discuss before we start a new lesson. 32

It should be noted that the CNES originated from the European strategy and vision of education on how to create a knowledge based society: the engine of the economic growth of Europe, in which every individual has to master core and creative competencies which

doing many things simultaneously. When they do their homework on their computers, they simultaneously listen to music with an iPod, watch video clips and chat via Skype. I practice maths with the help of the computer at home. I find interesting interactive games searching on Google. I give a ring to my friends with my mobile phone and we start playing games online. There is a website where we can practice addition, division and multiplication over and over again until we master them. The modern student learns intuitively, jumping backwards and forwards, in a nonlinear way. He likes collaborative learning and takes an active lead in the group or team in solving problem based projects or doing research. He finds the Old School boring because he receives information only from the teacher or from a textbook. He attends school as he is forced to. He cannot imagine the New School without the use of a computer which motivates him and empowers him. The computer allows for a high dynamic and interactive multiple communication, different ways of searching for information and constructing knowledge in a collaborative way by a group or team. The help of a teacher mentor is, of course, at the tip of his finger.

are decisive for a successful life in the New Europe. They signify more than knowledge and skills. They are characterized by flexibility, entrepreneurship and taking one`s own responsibility. Not only is flexibility expected by individuals, but innovation, creativity, selfregulation and internal motivation. Social maturity is also expected: it helps in preventing social pressure, taking different attitudes, making independent judgments and taking responsibility for one`s own behaviour. However, it is of the utmost importance to know how to develop reflection, using meta-cognitive skills, creative skills, and taking a critical stand. It is also important for an individual to know how he or she formulates their experiences, including thinking, feelings and social relationships.

I exchange emails with my friends and the teacher. I`ve chatted with all my friends. The new epistemology of e-learning in the New School is more versatile and of superior quality, than that of the Old School in which uniformed behaviorist patterns prevailed and creativity was prevented.

I enjoy making PowerPoint presentations on the computer.

For these reasons we have introduced e-learning in our school for the youngest students. This type of learning suits the character traits of the young who, without prejudice, accept new digital technologies, in contrast with the mature people who are afraid according to their words – of these perishable novelties. E-learning contributes in a concrete way by creating a new culture of learning in schools.

The life of an eight year old student nowadays is in striking contrast with that of an eight year old that lived twenty years ago due to the great influence of digital technology in everyday life, including education. In the past students learned alone absorbing one bit of information after another, clearly distinguishing a boundary between learning and play. The students of modern times have developed their abilities tremendously to receive more information by 33

These schools become community centres of learning, not only for pupils, but also for teachers, parents and other citizens interested in lifelong learning. E-learning enhances quality assurance through obtaining learning outputs by sharpening various core competences described as quality indicators which

Old School action plans were known only to the teachers who kept them in some drawers outside of the scope of public attention, today the actions plans are being prepared every month, collaboratively by all of the teachers. They trace correlation and integration connectedness in all contents and activities with the

have recently been systematically measured by external and internal evaluation to assess the overall performance of schools.

purpose that the students can better understand the different subjects from all angles and points of view in order to improve thinking, analyzing, synthesizing and making conclusions. The integrated days and outdoor instruction are also planned in this way too. Plans are also expected to be done by drawing mind maps. This kind of planning is easily done electronically in Moodle so that the students and parents can see them and give comments and recommendations. This aids in the refinement of learning by opinion exchanging in the `Forum for the parents`. Moreover, Moodle has a resource called the Calendar where all important upcoming events and activities are announced on a monthly basis.

The very act of introducing e-learning was creative and enterprising. The school principal Boris Vidovic and teacher mentor Sandra Vetma procured 10,000 Euros from Croatian Telecom for buying the schools professional equipment. They also designed the strategy and vision for the development of e-learning in our school, provided support to pupils, teachers and parents, and started creating objects of learning. The technical information science assistance was provided from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture and the University of Split. The only problem they face is the lack of the new methodologies for using certain resources and activities which Moodle offers for effective e-learning.

Even the daily preparation for the classroom becomes more simple and easy. The teacher is able to do the work on a computer and then show daily tasks to the students using an LCD projector, thus reducing the use of chalk and paper.

E-learning makes the instruction preparation for teachers, pupils and parents markedly easy. Whilst the


To develop the lateral thinking the students can easily draw mind maps on the computer.

PowerPoint and inserted the story and images, bound them together and then printed it.

The students have computers in their classroom which

The kids are fond of doing their homework using the

they use every day for e-learning their various school subjects. They do not have a special subject called

PowerPoint format. Some of them insert dynamic images which they have downloaded from certain web

Information Science or ICT. They do not need to go to the computer lab, either. They practice ICT skills

sites to embellish their tasks. I downloaded many animations. It took us at least 4

intuitively in their everyday work at school and at home.

hours. I downloaded them. I navigated to other

The immediate feedback which the pupils obtain, strongly motivates them since they know if they have


answered the questions correctly or they are in need of additional practice.

A wish for aesthetic embellishment of their e-works, shows that the brains of the young digital Homo Sapiens function using both hemispheres

The parents can monitor their child`s work and

simultaneously: from the one in charge for abstract-

progress either from home or from work if they are online. They can see how long their child has spent in

scientific to the other in charge for language-artistic processes. This is the way that opens creativity:

learning and how many times they have tried to solve certain tasks.

combining science and arts into one creative whole which has been recently named cross-pollination or

The students especially like communicating via the

cross-fertilization on which creative cultural industries

Chat room. They can, not only talk amongst themselves, but are also able to talk with their teacher

are based. This shows that the kids are all heading in a good direction which leads them to science and the arts

and principal on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 to 8 pm. The teacher or principal can take this opportunity to

applied in the new environment. E-learning greatly involves the parents as the crucial

ask the pupils what was good and bad in the previous

educational factors in the process of education. While

week as far as the learning is concerned. They usually give them an assignment. For instance: who is Ivan

the parents used to come to the Old School only a few times a year, nowadays they can monitor daily what

Mestrovic? The kids should search for information about his life and work using the Internet. Their teacher

their kids do because they are given privileges by the Moodle administrator to watch all their activities,

Sandra Vetma also sets tasks within the resource

including grades of their respective children. The

Tasks, which should be completed within a set time limit. The finished work are then graded.

parents frequently discuss among themselves using the Forum, and with the teacher and the principal.

I chatted with the teacher, my friend Filip, Marko and with the principal.

This is my room where I learn using the computer, doing maths, write stories and search various other

When the kids do mini research projects using the


search engines and children`s data bases, they in fact get to know the first elements of research work which

Last year he started using this electronic platform. I`ve noticed he has tremendously improved himself. Before,

seems to them as if it is play. They spend hours online searching for some information which they use to lead

his only contact with the computer was playing the games, but now he can do serious tasks. He is

a discussion amongst them by using the Forum feature.

interested in many things, he learns via the Chat which

They discuss who has found certain facts and whose information is more accurate. Reflecting about the

allows communication with the teacher, and with his friends from his class. They exchange various

findings stimulates their mental processes.

addresses as to where they may find different data which is needed for in and out of school activities.

I始m Tina. I始ve written a story on the computer. I found images on the Internet. I opened the


Here`s the mom. What will she say? Is the use of the computer a complete waste of time? What do you say?

For me it is better to learn with the computer than only with the book because it is more fun.

Definitely not! When the kids are online and connected to the electronic platform Moodle, the kids and the parents can see the classroom action plan for the upcoming month, for all the subjects and activities which are announced so the kids can be prepared in advance. We know when the integrated days are planned, learning, field instruction. This means that every one can be informed: the kids and their parents. A communication is also possible between the teacher and the parents. You do not need to wait for the regular consultation time once a week. If a parent has an urgent question, he can easily ask the teacher for advice, and be informed about school and instruction or about his own child.

I`m Ela. It is more easier to learn with computer than from the book. From the computer we find more than in the book. It is enjoyable: It is nice to learn with the computer. If todayʼs students enter the labour market in 15 years without developed ICT competencies and remain unused to e-learning, they will be lost individuals, deprived of the tremendous educational potential which e-learning offers. The people who want to stop the wave of technological progress solely based on the grounds of their own complacency, will mutilate the kids not to be full-fledged and respected citizen of the New Europe and the New World with the high degree of education and required competencies. They must be aware that all their attempts of retaining the petrified vertical structures of the Old World will be swept away with the unstoppable horizontal digital processes such as: open-sourcing, out-sourcing, in-sourcing, offshoring, supply-chaining, in-forming mobile and work flow software which gains the power of a typhoon on account of converging and collaborating of these processes. This force crushes all traditional organizations – including schools and universities, firms, consortiums and the national boundaries enabling users to have a great efficiency and high quality.

We still remember when everyone was watching TV; the computers started to be widely used not a long time ago; nowadays mobile phones are in use. This is all inevitable. It will be used more and more, but I think that there is no going back. The sooner the children start using it, then their communication over the Internet will help them to learn faster and better, and this is the goal, isn`t it? This is a different kind of communication. We see that the kids accept it much faster than us, the older people, and they need less time to master it. The partnership of the school with the parents and the local community creates a positive atmosphere for cooperative work. It promotes lifelong learning and galvanizes creative forces in the students. It establishes the school as a community of learners. In the broader global context it is the place of free flow of information, where different forms of collaboration exist, and where the sharing of knowledge and work – in real time – without regard to geography, distance and language take place. This is in addition to the asynchronous learning and professional development.

Schools should be thoroughly designed and a new organization conceived based on e-learning. It is beyond any doubt that in tomorrow`s digital world, every work, learning, amusement and play will be conducted with the aid of a computer, especially with the advent of quantum computers. We believe that our project of e-learning will not remain a dry twig and dry flower on the Croatian education tree, but rather that our labor will bear a thousand flowers on the tree of Croatian e-learning, which symbolize New Schools.

E-learning is only a project in Croatia for the time being. There is no doubt that it will become part of learning at school and at home very soon.

I`m Ivan, I`ve done a PowerPoint presentation with the story named: The Brook.

If someone took these computers, it would be very difficult and ugly for all of us. We will be working without any sense. It would be much harder to learn without the computers. It would be much harder to work without the computer. I always visit the children`s site Pujanke and spend a lot of in chatting with my friends.

We must glue some images. I downloaded the images from the Internet at home. The advantages of using Moodle are for both the students and parents because every month the parents and the students can see the action plan for the current month. They can see all the subjects which will be taught, the integration days, and out-field instruction.

I`m Irena. I think that the computer helps me a lot in learning. 36

Considering the Benefits of Digital Grammar in a Music Educational Program by Stepanov Sergey Mikhailovich


About the Author

Throughout many centuries, the musical structure has had numerous modifications. We can observe the constant use of digits for the convenience of the notation of music sounds, for example : digital organ bass, lute tablatures, guitar jazz  ciphers. Nowadays the digital system of  music teaching is absent in the curriculum  and  is not applied in practice because of the  teacher's  insufficient professional knowledge in the sphere of child's neurophysiology .  Statistics and practice show that the period of  learning by standard music grammar is delayed for several years. Already at the early stage of learning at a Childrenʼs Music School, within of   two – three months, up to thirty per cent of children lose their interest in music as a subject and leave the study. This phenomenon is explained by the study overload arising at the first contact of the child to a difficult format of adopted note coding and decoding of music information. The findings of our scientific investigations have permitted  us to understand  the most delicate mechanisms of a childʼs mental activity  and  to detect  new creative abilities. Application of  Information technologies  will  help schoolmasters   to improve the quality, speed   and efficiency of  music teaching  for beginners.

Stepanov Sergey Mikhailovich , was born on 1960  in the Karelia Autonomous Republic (This is between Finland and Russia). I was educated at a Grammar School and Music School at the same time. In 1975  I entered and in 1979  finished the complete course of the Krivoy Rog State Musical College, my specialism being the accordion. After graduation I began to work as a music teacher in both an accordion class and a piano class as well as being a conductor of the orchestra. On the basis of my acquired experience, together with paediatrician   Kolesnik  V. D.  the childrens Project " Reflection " was  elaborated  -  http:// . Joint  Inventive   Activity  was proved  with  the Authors License  in  the Ukraine. At present   I am working on the creation of digital schoolbooks for music teaching of children both in the pre-school period (5-7 years old ) and early school period (7-9 years old ). We consider the children would  benefit with further study.

Physiological Base 

The physiological substantiation on the application of  the digital system  for coding and decoding of a melody is the following: children begin their contact with digits already in preschool age, when they are taught to count and this system is learnt by children  quite firmly, since it is often used in their daily life, but the generally accepted music grammar is new for them and, naturally, requires some additional period of time to be acquired by children. It is for this reason that during the initial period of musical teaching, children inevitably spend a lot of time and effort learning to read a melody written down in music signs. Naturally, it slows down the rate of  training, causes psycho-emotional discomfort, lowers the childʼs interest towards music. Therefore, in the initial stage of teaching, besides working with  the  generally accepted music grammar, it would be useful to replace it with a digital system for a certain period. This does not mean that we want to do without standard music grammar, but at  the initial stages of a musical education, the system of digital coding and decoding of  musical sounds  is  undoubtedly useful, as it speeds up the teaching of children.   


Neurophysiological Aspect  

axis and on y - the vertical axis. By reading the music information, the direction of the eyeballsʼ movements is spasmodic, and it has a multistep combination both on y axis, from the G - key up to the F - key, and on x axis, often with a return of eyesight to the starting point of support. For an integration, synthesis and the modification of the complex pattern of the received information, the structures of  the central nervous system  require an additional period of  time. It is a neurophysiological process proceeding in an interval of time between the moment of perception of the music information from the sheet and the moment of the handsʼ response on the keyboard of an instrument. A great number of irregular nervous impulses are transferred to the central nervous system per unit of time and, as a consequence of  this, the fatigue of hand muscles is considerably  increased (Berosov, Korovkin1990). An amplitude of muscle tension is directly dependent on the frequency of innervation, where each subsequent nervous impulse coincides with the phase of increased excitability of the muscle (Green, Stout, Taylor 1990). At the level of the synaptic terminal  we can see untimely synthesis of the neurotransmitter, deep and stable depolarisation of   the postsynaptic membrane and, as a result, the convulsive reflexes are thus formed. An important neurophysiological moment has been marked: within a short time interval the contracture, that is, constantly high muscular tension is formed, which in turn, is harmfully reflected on the content and character of  the melody.        In  practice , using  the method of the digital key, the child connects the definition of digital melody  to the system of  dimension  which is  written down  in the form of an integral construction both on the x axis  and on y axis. Reading the digital information  the  trajectory of the eyeballsʼ movements on the y axis is projected  to the exact determinant (digit, sign, symbol ), the  trajectory of the  eyeballsʼ movements on the x axis is projected in one direction, forward. In the given system of dimension the  integration of the digital information proceeds instantly, its realisation on an instrument proceeds in reflexive time - ratio. The paradoxical phenomenon is revealed: the time interval   between the moment of perception of  the digital information  and the moment of the handsʼ response on the keyboard of an instrument, is contracted to the minimum.

It is well known that the difficulties in the perception of any information, including musical ones, cause a strain on the main functional systems of a child. The developed digital technology of musical training perspective, has a practical result, but it requires the physiologic and psychology researches devoted to the studying  of an influence of a recommended  method to psycho-emotional status and to a condition of  the main functional systems of  the child: i.e. the central nervous system, the muscular system and others. For this purpose, the experimental researches are to be performed, namely: ENG, EMG, EEG – tests to study the degree of mental load that the child has received as a perception of the information recorded in the note signs compared to the load  that a child has received as a perception of the music information written down in number signs. An Electronystagmography test allows us to investigate eyeshot, positional nystagmus and also to determine the quantity of  fluctuations of  the eyeballs during the perception of melody written in the music marks and digital symbols. An Electromyography test, allows us to investigate  the threshold of  muscular irritability (min – max) and the amplitude of muscle tension, depending on the effort and the accuracy of the pressing of a key on the keyboard of the instrument. The method of  ENG and EMG joins the visual analyser with the neuro-motor function of the hands and explains, from the scientific point of view, the ratio between the load on the eye muscles and that of the hand muscles, and also it proves the possibility of the development of muscular fatigue  in hands depending on  the quantity of eyeballsʼ fluctuations. The EEG test allows us to make up the comparative diagrams of the dynamics of  the proceeding neurophysiological processes, and also it offers an opportunity to investigate the functional activity of neurons during  the synthesis both of musical and digital patterns.   The realisation of the described scientific researches in this direction will allow us to approach closer to understanding some of the more subtle mechanisms of a childʼs mental activity and to detect  their new creative abilities.

Parallel Description  In practice, using the generally accepted music grammar, the child connects the definition of the location of the melody to the pitch  i.e. to the system of dimension, which is written down in the form of an expanded construction, both on x –  the horizontal 


We achieve a reduction of load on hand muscles at the expense of decreasing of an amplitude between muscle tension and the resulting movement and, consequently, the time intervals between effort and accuracy of  pressing of a key are considerably shortened. At the level of the synaptic terminal we can see an allocation of neurotransmitter  directly  proportional to the frequency of generated impulses by neurons and, as a result, the coordinated reflexes are thus formed. An  important  neurophysiological  moment  has been marked: the reciprocal  muscular  innervation is formed, that is, the rational distribution of  the manual  technique on  the keyboard of  an instrument, which in turn, is considerably reflected on the content and character of the melody. A grain of  truth lies in the fact that at the expense of  perception of melody by means of digits, its realisation becomes  faster and easier, which in turn, is positively reflected on the psycho-emotional status of the child and  enables him to dynamically realise the potential music abilities in psychosomatic action as a result . 

Coding/Programming apps on iPad Reviewed by Wilbury Digital Leaders Hopscotch: It is a great program that children in Year 4 should try. It would get a child ready for Scratch and Alice. It is great fun and easy to use. You just have to drag the right command if you want to move your cute monster.

Kodable: This game is great fun for children that want to test their logic. It is easily accesable and it makes you think about the right path and moves. You just have to put your finger on a control like ʻupʼ and then drag it to the space provided for the moves.

Entire description on related research You can read on the webpages : considering-the-benefits-of-digital-music-grammar-ina-music- educational-program/  review by Joe Gentile   

Cargo-Bot: Cargo-Bot maybe a bit of a boyish game but in fact girls like it too! Preferred to be a builder and move boxes with the right actions.

References Beresov T.T. & Korovkin B.F.,(1990). The role of mediators   in transmission of   nervous impulses. Biological chemistry. p.498-500. Moscow .

Catoʼs Hike Lite: Cato is a little virtual boy that needs commands to move from the underground to the ground. It is quite interesting because it is trickier than kodable and Cargo-Bot.

Green A.P.Q. & Stout G.W.& Taylor D.J., (1990).Contracting reaction. Synapse. Biological science. vol.3.p.19-20,23,26.vol.2.p.253-258.Moscow.

Daisy the Dino: This game is as easy as Hopscotch but this game has more commands and a lot of imagination. You can make the Dino become a small dino or a giant dino.


“In game design, we tell the story in our mind where the words can’t...It is like mental sentences written in the form of shape, objects, narrative, codes and actions...” (Y Allsop, 2012)




Yasemin Allsop

All materials are strictly copyrighted and all rights are reserved. Reproduction of any materials from this magazine without permission is strictly forbidden. We

accept no liability in respect of any material submitted by users and published by us and we are not

Christopher Carter

responsible for its content and accuracy. Des Hegarty Published by London, UK


ICT in Practice Issue 5  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you