Interested in VR? This might be up your alley

If you do want to learn about using immersive VR in classrooms then you might be pleased to learn that there are free downloads (until March 27th) available of my article ‘Embedding immersive virtual reality in classrooms: Ethical, organisational and educational lessons in bridging research and practiceVR pic boy

Abstract: Increasing numbers of children and young people are experiencing immersive virtual reality as part of leisure and schooling. Immersive virtual reality mediated through head-mounted displays presents significant challenges as well as tantalising opportunities for learning within schools. The purpose of this paper is to report on key issues that arose when embedding immersive virtual reality for learning into ICT and science classes in low-income high schools by providing a fine-grained account of how the research team negotiated scholarly and practical problems. The mixed method research used a participatory approach with teachers as co-researchers. Three areas are explored: (i) the ethical and safety issues of using IVR in classrooms;(ii) negotiating the organisational context of a school system and problem-solving within the context of institutional restrictions on internet access; and (iii) educational reflections on collaborative learning and gendered dynamics. We conclude that classrooms, as socially active and sometimes unpredictable places, yield unique and credible insights into the deployment of highly immersive virtual reality for learning.

‘The internet is all around us’ what children think of the internet

Recently, Tiana Murray (an early career primary school teacher) and I had an article published in the journal, Digital Culture and Education, which examines what 10-12 year old children think of the internet. We published it in an online open access journal which I think is a fantastic venue for this research as it allowed us to publish a sample of the children’s artwork about the internet. These beautifully demonstrate the children’s ambivalence; the internet is depicted as both being a joyous place and a place of danger. The article can be accessed here and the abstract and selected children’s artworks appear below.

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Educational policy and the Gonski brand

For the past four months I’ve been teaching a course on policy and politics to masters students. It’s a course I love teaching as it always links to contemporary events and it’s easy to point students to media stories and policy announcements. Things are always happening in the policy space (and we wonder why teachers get change fatigue). Over the time that I’ve run this latest iteration of the course, the policy that has been in the media the most, I believe, would be Gonski. Gonski in terms of the new 80-20 funding model and Gonski, the education review called ‘Growth through Achievement‘.

My analysis is that ‘Gonski’ has become a brand. And the Liberal party have been working hard to transfer ownership of the Gonski brand, to themselves. Continue reading

Links of interest on the Gonski report 2.0

This post is the second in my ongoing exploration of the second Gonski Report. The first post is Through Growth to Achievement #Gonski Review 2.0

The ever insightful Dean Ashenden presents his analysis in Inside Story: An end to the industrial model of schooling? Ashenden writes that while the latest Gonski report points a way to the future of school reform, it has not broken with its disastrous past.

The panel was constrained by four realities. It was asked to “focus on practical measures that work,” an approach that, it turns out, it didn’t really agree with. Second, what no doubt looks to the minister to be a perfectly reasonable effort to ensure value for money may look to others like a velvet glove around Canberra’s financial fist. A third difficulty is that the report had to come up with an approach that could and would be implemented faithfully by each of Australia’s twenty-plus very different school jurisdictions. And, finally, the review was required to focus on school and classroom practice when most of the problems, including problems in practice, have their origins elsewhere.

In sum, the panel was asked to resolve two deep and ancient schisms in Australian schooling — the conflict between “conservative” and “progressive” educational approaches, and the conflict between the federal government and the states — while pinning down the notoriously elusive relationship between school funding, educational practice and academic outcomes — and to do it all with one hand tied behind its back, in eight or nine months.

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