What is a digital world?

We are now living in the digital era of the 21st Century, a changed world, immersed in information and communication technology (ICT) which is shaping and empowering the children that are born into it, described as ‘digital natives’ originally by Marc Prensky (2001). We as educators have a responsibility to change and adapt to the needs of this new generation, and quickly.

This clip by http://thecenterofthenet.com (2011) helps explain this.

Daily tasks and activities that we learned and lived, have been replaced with technology solutions, such as digital tv, mobile phones and social media, and continue to evolve at an unprecedented rate. “Many studies have tracked the advances of many different measures of information technology . . . the future continues to come faster than we traditionally expect.”  Taylor G. (2014). The speed of change is also highlighted by the prediction in the above clip that technology will experience 20,000 years of growth this century.


“collaboration_tools_social_media_message.jpg” (Infoworld.com, 2014)

Educators are faced with increasing demand from students, parents, employers and the wider community who are digitally expectant. Howell, J (2012, p.  6,7) This means we have a responsibility, as well as an exciting opportunity, to continue to embrace a wide range of technology tools within the education system, in order to prepare children for the future and provide lifelong learning.

Prensky, M (2008) speaks of the need to engage in creative solutions, in particular sharing and collaborating with students. “Today’s students are no longer the people our education system was designed to teach.” Prensky, M. (2013) spoken from clip below published by Lunch Box School

Prensky, M (2013) discusses how today’s students are different to us because they were brought up with access to large amounts of ICT and consider it the foundation of everything they do.

“collaboration-300×300.jpg” (Salesbox.com, n.d.)

The digital world provides the ability to connect globally, offering a collaborative environment where students can engage in projects that are relevant to the world around them, creating solutions to current issues together, all over the world. An example of this, is the 21st Century Schools initiative directed by Anne Shaw http://www.21stcenturyschools.com/about.htm


Digital identities and digital security


“homepage-png-420×378-illustration-revised” (safety.gov.au, n. d.).

Those who choose to engage in online activity are creating a digital identity in the process. The information builds from digital inputs and outputs across various areas of our lives. Howell, J. (2014) describes these exchanges of information as messages which we push out online (outputs) such as an email sent or a post online, and inputs coming from individuals leaving a comment on our blog or twitter feed, or posting a picture of us on Facebook.

These simple daily activities that we may otherwise mindlessly participate in, build our digital identity, creating a place for others to resource a perception of our character, lifestyle and achievements. This can create a false perception of who we really are, but even more critically has the ability to expose us to many security risks from the outside world.

An insight into areas of digital security is explained in the clip below from Phd students at Kings College London (Algorithm Design Group – Information Security).

This highlights the importance of harnessing and educating both ourselves and our 21st century learners, on the importance of digital fluency, becoming familiar with different technologies and how we can be safer when using it, as well as increasing our digital literacy by being mindful of the products that we are using, and how they impact our identity and security. (Howell, J. 2014).


‘Intro.png” (Busit.com, 2014).

Unlike previous generations, children today are more connected to the online world than ever before, exchanging information on many platforms such as web browsing, gaming sites and social media 24 hours a day (Trendmicro.com.au, 2014). These activities raise the risk of exposure to inappropriate and malicious content, cyberbullying, harmful people, and identity theft as highlighted in the following infographic, created by University of Texas, Centre for Identity (2014).


By teaching children to value privacy and how to protect specific information such as photos, addresses and phone numbers, and explaining the dangers and impacts of their actions, we can work towards a digital world where children can confidently protect their digital identities for the rest of their lives.

The video below by Common sense media (2010) is narrated by children, offering tips to other children on how to be smart online, protecting privacy and respecting others.

Other helpful resources




Digital convergence

Digital convergence is the merging of various digital technology elements from a range of electronic systems into one simplified digital system, enabling users to experience and learn in new ways. (Asonye, 2003.)


“transmedia-storytelling.jpg” (bang2write.com, 2013).

It is the view of Serrano-Santoyo, A. & Cabrera-Flores, M.R. (2014, p. 29-30) that the emergence and adoption of digital convergence in the education system, expands the range and availability of tools for accessing the Internet in a dynamic and interactive way. This increases the opportunity for interaction, collaboration and cooperation between people, across multiple literacies.


“transmedia.png” (eurotransmedia.eu, n.d.).

Alper, M & Herr-Stephenson, R. (2013) explain the use of transmedia, a form of digital convergence, as the collaboration of various multimedia and traditional platforms such as games, books, events, social media, cinema and television to produce content on a given narrative or story. This enables the reader to explore and experience the story from many perspectives. Transmedia promotes discovery, engagement and interaction of content rich media accessed at any access point, allowing the reader to navigate and discover more, along a personal journey.

Video uploaded to YouTube by Gordon, U. (2010).

HerrStephenson, R. and Alper M. (2013), report on the development of critical media literacy in children, who are engaging in transmedia play, through five key characteristics which include:

  1. Resourcefulness – creative thinking to solve challenges
  2. Sociability – the communications exchanged amongst social media tools
  3. Mobility – use of mobile devices
  4. Accessibility – access from various entry points
  5. Replayability – to actively revisit a space already explored and find further content

Transmedia storytelling has become a critical foundation for innovative, media rich pedagogies and learning in the 21st century. “This new model of learning goes beyond the confines of a classroom, and instead creates a transmedia learning world that allows content to flow fluidly across the curriculum and from one media to the next . . .” Fleming, L. (2013 p 370)

I conclude that the benefits associated with media literacy gained from transmedia play offer key ingredients for successful learning. “Media literacy can empower youth to be positive contributors to society, to challenge cynicism and apathy, and to serve as agents for social change.” Considine, D. (2002).

Teaching Resource – Pinterest

Pinterest header
View teaching resource – Strawberry Garden Project on Pinterest
Evaluation Matrix
Name of teaching resource


Weblink (if web based)


Who should this digital teaching resource be used with? (ie year/grade)-

Stage 2 – Year 3 class, children 8-9 years old

How should it be used? (e.g. individual, whole class)

This resource is to assist the teacher with preparing a lesson plan and to develop the project, providing easy access to various sources of useful information. Specific pins can also be shared with the students on a projector screen to enable the class to collaborate and plan the project together.

Included is a video of a school project which can introduce the class to the task ahead, along with some inspirational ideas, such as creating a garden sign and placing useful facts on display.

Which subject or learning area would it be most appropriate to use in?

Science – Living World curriculum, Stage 2 content. Retrieved from BOSTES http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/science/science-k10/content/967/

Identify the strengths of this teaching resource

Pinterest offers many ways to gather, store and share large amounts of interesting, inspirational content with the classroom and with other teachers, without copy write issues. (BBC Active. 2010) Particular strengths for teachers are the ability to assist with lesson planning, project based learning and sharing ideas. (Osbourne, C. 2012)

Identify any weaknesses of this teaching resource

Interestingly in my research I continued to discover endless advocates of Pinterest, across the academic community with no distinctive negativity. However, PDF files are not able to be added and there were instances when I was unable to pin a specific part of a website. Enabling this functionality would improve the usefulness of this tool.

Explain any ideas you may have for further use of this teaching resource

See infographic below created by OnlineUniversities.com (n. d.). with some interesting ways educators are using Pinterest.


Teaching Resource – Storify

View teaching resource – Australian Animals on Storify
Evaluation Matrix
Name of teaching resource


Weblink (if web based)


Who should this digital teaching resource be used with? (ie year/grade)-

Stage 1 – Year 2 students, aged 7-8 years old.

How should it be used? (e.g. individual, whole class)

This resource is for individual use by a teacher to build a science lesson plan for the topic.

The teacher could introduce the topic by sharing the short You Tube videos to engage students and focus their attention, including some fun clips on unusual animal behaviour.

Additionally the information is categorised for easy access to present facts on the animals, access worksheets and activity sheets, and plan excursions for interactive experiences. Also included are a collection of social media news stories which could be used to encourage young students to think about how social media tools can be used to learn about current events, within a topic.

Which subject or learning area would it be most appropriate to use in?

Science – Living World curriculum, to provide a basis of information to prepare students for the Stage 1 English curriculum activity. Retrieved from BOSTES http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/english/english-k10/information-report-2/

Identify the strengths of this teaching resource

Teachers and students can efficiently collate specific information on a chosen topic to bring rich content to classroom discussions and assignments, with the ability to add narrative such as reflections or interpreted content and also to categorise the information.

Identify any weaknesses of this teaching resource

Content can appear cluttered if not categorised, narrated and organised effectively.

Explain any ideas you may have for further use of this teaching resource

This could be used to introduce children to using Storify, and task them with creating their own.


Teaching in a digital world

Taylor, G. (2014, April 7) The Future is Coming Much Faster than we Think, Here’s Why. [blog post] Retrieved from http://www.thatsreallypossible.com/exponential-growth/

Howell, J. (2012, p 6-7). Teaching with ICT: Digital Pedagogies for Collaboration and Creativity. Victoria, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Prensky, M. (2008, May 22). The 21st Century Digital Learner: How tech-obsessed iKids would improve our schools. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/ikid-digital-learner-technology-2008

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon. Vol. 9. No. 5: NCB University Press. [Online]. Retrieved from http://marcprensky.com/writing/

Infoworld.com (2015). collaboration_tools_social_media_message.jpg [image]. Retrieved from http://www.infoworld.com/article/2942146/collaboration-software/3-collaboration-tools-vying-to-knock-microsoft-out-of-the-enterprise.html

Salesbox.com (n.d.). collaboration-300×300.jpg [image]. Retrieved from http://salesbox.com/social-crm-also-includes-collaboration-and-workload-management-2/

Thecentreofthenet.com (2011, January 18). 21 Century Education [YouTube video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/O35n_tvOK74

Lunch Box School (2013, August 10). Marc Prensky – Digital Natives [YouTube video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/jRR76Mz9NII

Digital identities and digital security

Howell, J. (2014, April 14). Curtin University [Lecture video]

Howell, J. (2014, February 27). Curtin University [Lecture video]

Trend Micro (2014, May 29) How Safe are Today’s Kids Online [online article]. Retrieved from http://www.trendmicro.com.au/vinfo/au/security/news/online-privacy/how-safe-are-today-s-kids-online

Phd students at Kings College London – Algorithm Design Group – Information Security (2013, December 5). Digital Identity In Social Media #Tieit2013. [YouTube video] Retrieved from https://youtu.be/HnHnc5Fm1TE

Common Sense Media (2010, March 16). Facebook, YouTube, Texting: Rules of the Road for Kids. [YouTube video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Gd520wZZGDE

Safety.gov.au (n. d.). homepage-png-420×378-illustration-revised.png [image]. Retrieved from https://esafety.gov.au/

Busit.com (2014, September 20). Intro.png [image]. Retrieved from https://www.busit.com/blog/4

University of Texas, Centre for Identity (2014, October 1). Center-for-ID-Infogrpahic_Children-ID-theft1.jpg [infographic]. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blogs/education/2014/10/four-ways-to-help-students-avoid-online-identity-theft/

Digital Convergence

Asonye, I. (2003, March) Definition, Current and Futuristic Explanation of ‘Digital Convergence’ Leading Into a New Era [online article]. Retrieved from http://www.globrocks.com/globrockssitearticles/digitalconvergence.html

Serrano-Santoyo, A., & Cabrera-Flores, M.R. (2014). Channeling Digital Convergence in Education for Societal Benefit. IEEE Technology and Society magazine, p 29-30. Retrieved from http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.dbgw.lis.curtin.edu.au/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=6969190

Alper, M & Herr-Stephenson, R. (2013). Transmedia Play: Literacy Across Media. The National Association for Media Literacy Education’s Journal of Media Literacy Education, p 366-369. Retrieved from https://lms.curtin.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-3462525-dt-content-rid-20099123_1/courses/EDUC1015-DVCEducatio-1895344942/EDUC1015-DVCEducatio-1895344942_ImportedContent_20150506083708/EDUC1015-DVCEducatio-1132960346_ImportedContent_20150209105434/Transmedia%20Play_%20Literacy%20Across%20Media.pdf

Fleming, L. (2013). Expanding Learning Opportunities with Transmedia Practices. The National Association for Media Literacy Education’s Journal of Media Literacy Education, p 370-377. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1124&context=jmle

Gordon, U. (2010, October 10). What is TransMedia? [YouTube video]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/o9uX_65IFpY

Considine, D. (October, 2002). Putting the ME in MEdia literacy. Middle Ground: The Magazine of Middle Level Education, 6, 15-21. Retrieved from http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/critical-media-literacy-programs-96.html

Bang2write.com (2013, April 9) transmedia-storytelling.jpg [image]. Retrieved from http://www.bang2write.com/2013/04/5-reasons-writers-should-consider-a-transmedia-project-by-dylan-spicer.html

Eurotransmedia.eu (n.d.). transmedia.png [image]. Retrieved from http://www.eurotransmedia.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/transmedia.png

Pinterest – Matrix 1

Syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au (n. d.). Science – Living World curriculum, Stage 2 content. Retrieved from http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/science/science-k10/content/967/

BBC Active. (2010). Using Pinterest for Education. Retrieved from http://www.bbcactive.com/BBCActiveIdeasandResources/UsingPinterestforEducation.aspx

Osbourne, C. (2012, April 24). Pinterest as a learning tool: Do the two compute? Retrieved from http://www.zdnet.com/article/pinterest-as-a-learning-tool-do-the-two-compute/

OnlineUniversities.com (n. d.). How-Educators-Use-Pinterest-800.png [infographic]. Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/guides/the-teachers-guide-to-pinterest/

Storify – Matrix 2

Syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au (n. d.). English – curriculum, Stage 1 Activity content. Retrieved from http://syllabus.bos.nsw.edu.au/english/english-k10/information-report-2/