Melodie Nelson

Hello Everyone,

It is a pleasure to be working alongside you all.

Just a little bit about me…

I have been a Teacher of English for the last seven years. Two of which was spent teaching in inner city London (dangerous minds type stuff) and five of which have been spent teaching in an Independent P-12 College in Brisbane's Bayside (polar opposite to my London experience). In my current position I teach years 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 English, coach year 8/9 debating, coordinate year 7-12 touch football and am a teacher leader in our College's Learning Innovation Leadership Committee. Naturally there is very little time for me to have a life once Uni is also thrown into the works, so I enjoy the occasional glass of Shiraz and blue-vein cheese to keep my sanity.

As an aspiring leader, I am extremely passionate about re-imagining and re-designing the face of education in the 21st Century. We are still teaching an education system that was created by the Committee of Ten (American middle-class white men) over a hundred years ago and in the digital age we need to be preparing learners for a different world than we were in 1892. We need to encourage learner agency, provide authentic learning experiences and enable students to create, collaborate and task risks. I admire leaders like Claire Amos and Larry Rosenstock who have begun the education revolution.

Anyway, I best step off my soapbox. Talk to you all soon.

Melodie

Assignment 1

At 21st century learning becomes more prominent in re-imagining and re-designing the educational landscape subjects such as STEM thrive, whilst English as a traditional subject struggles to justify its existence to students who are expecting project-based, authentic, relevant, problem-solving learning experiences. It is therefore not surprising that male students, who are traditionally drawn towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, struggle to acknowledge English, and therefore, literacy as a priority subject. This lack of engagement in literacy has resulted in significant decline in literacy outcomes among boys around the world. The teaching of literacy in its traditional form engaging to digital natives and teachers of English need to modify their teaching practice and integrate technology such as gaming into the English classroom.

Research demonstrates that gaming has positive effects in intrinsically motivating students. The nature of gaming attracts boys as it designed to be challenging, requires a mastery of skills, gives the ability to refine and re-do levels, is competitive in nature, can be collaborative and provides instant gratification through rewards. Gaming is also integral in developing critical thinking skills in boys as it requires them to read, reflect, analyse and think critically. Whilst all these elements obviously assist in developing 21st century learning skills, the explicit teaching of traditional literacy remains relatively obscure.

Therefore, this assignment explores three gaming platforms which have been developed to engage students in literacy and therefore improve their overall literacy outcomes. The games which will be trialed will be:

Assignment 2

My professional resource for Assignment 2 is a blog which chronicles The Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs of a 21st century English teacher. Needless to say, trying to engage students in English and therefore literacy is not an easy feat these days. Students expect their learning to be interactive, authentic and stimulating – traditional literacy fails to meet this expectation.

Male students in particular are harder to engage in reading and writing than female students and consequently, boys are tuning out of literacy learning at record rates, far out-pacing girls. As a Middle and Senior school teacher of English, the ‘failing’ literacy achievement of boys is a personal concern. Therefore, my blog aims to journey my attempt to situate literacy as a ‘real’, ‘authentic’ and ‘stimulating’ experience through using gaming as an engagement tool in English.

While my blog is an attempt for me to reflect on my learning and progress, it is also an opportunity to share my knowledge, receive feedback and be a critical friend to other English teachers interested in using gaming in English. My blog is structured in a way that provides background to the problem, poses research based solutions to the issue and journals my initial observations of student attitudes and perceptions, the failure of an initial gaming idea, student responses before, during and after the trialing of a literacy gaming program and my ideas for the future.

It is evident in its title that my blog is targeted towards English teachers, it is not limited to teachers of this subject area. The research and findings can be applied across all disciplines and any educator should find it an interesting read.