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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Continue reading

Teacher reflections on policy

This post is a part of a series being written for my EDUC6352 online masters students.

Educational policy always sits at the intersection of the past, present and future, with the latter often expressed in policy texts as an imagined desired future” (Rizvi & Lingard, 2010, p. xi).

settings

Much of teachers work is shaped by policy – yet do we know how teachers feel about this aspect of their work? Currently in Australia there is a push to professionalise teaching – and yet much of the current policy  has removed agency from teachers (the last ten years have seen the removal of curriculum control, increased standarised testing, and the introduction of a prescriptive model of teacher professional standards). At the same time there is a growing criticism of how many children are missing out on the benefits of education. (See the video below, for an example). Some of this criticism comes with a sense that teachers are to blame and that managing the teachers, via policy settings, will create a better future and a better education system.

Continue reading

Teachers decry the marketisation of education

This post is a part of a series being written for my EDUC6352 online masters students.

pexels-photo-70292

12 months ago I blogged about the Australian education policy context by providing an overview of the Melbourne Declaration. Today, The Age has published an anonymous piece by three teachers from Victoria who provide a scathing critique of the same context, and the education policies proposed by the opposition party in Victoria. In reference to the latter, they note that the:

draconian plans – which include installing police in our 10 most “high-risk” schools, abolishing the Safe Schools program, pumping up parochial Australian nationalism and stamping out celebration of diversity in the curriculum – are bound to have a devastating impact on the educational opportunities of our most disadvantaged and marginalised students.

For these teachers however, the half baked idea of putting police in disadvantaged schools does not represent the real problem. What they are really concerned about is the marketisation of education that’s been orchestrated by both the Labor and Liberal parties over the past ten years. Continue reading