Volume 3 [Issue 2], 2011


Editorial: The future of Digital Culture & Education

Christopher S. Walsh & Thomas Apperley


When we began editing Digital Culture & Education (DCE) 3 years ago, we embarked on what for us, and for many of our readers, was a new journey. The journey was about making scholarly work around digital culture and education available via open access (OA) to challenge the hegemony of publishers by providing all articles in digital and downloadable print formats. This makes the scholarship in DCE widely accessible and our intention is to remain OA in the future.

“When I make a film, itʼs out of my head”: Expressing emotions and healing through digital filmmaking in the classroom

Brian Bailey


This article examines how adolescents are using digital video production in school to express emotions, deal with personal and community problems and even draw on their multimedia compositions as a form of healing. In this sense, youth are using literacy to help them to make sense of their lives while attempting to make changes within themselves and their communities. The data for this paper comes from a two-year ethnographic study in two high schools. Field observations, interviews, video data, pre-production texts (storyboards, scripts, screen plays etc.) and student films were analyzed to understand what language and literacy look like when students use digital video production and distribution in school to tell stories. Drawing on a New Literacy Studies theoretical framework, I argue that the literacy practices in this study allow students to make sense of issues and emotions in their lives and cope with their life circumstances by showing their stories to real audiences both within and beyond their schools.

Learning as becoming through performance, play, and dialogue: A model of game-based learning with the game Legends of Alkhimia

Yam San Chee


Thomas and Brown (2007) suggest that games and virtual worlds allow play and learning to merge, enabling “learning to be” rather than “learning about”. In this context, I address the challenge of designing game-based learning to enact a pedagogy of ‘learning as becoming’ in classroom contexts. I argue that the theory of human information processing fails to provide a tenable account of human learning. I propose a pragmatist notion of education that foregrounds experience and inquiry to provide an alternative foundation for envisioning education today. I then draw on social theory to provide a theoretical framing for game-based learning design. I instantiate this framing via the Performance–Play– Dialog (PPD) Model and argue in favour of a shift to performance as a key construct for framing human learning. I illustrate the PPD Model using the game Legends of Alkhimia, a multiplayer game addressing the chemistry curriculum in lower secondary school.


Active gaming: A new paradigm in childhood physical activity

Lisa Witherspoon Hansen and Stephen W. Sanders


Childhood obesity is on the rise and children’s participation in physical activity is struggling to maintain the same velocity. Technology often blamed for creating this increase in sedentary lifestyles, however it may also provide the cure. Active gaming is a contemporary approach to exercise that can provide children much needed daily physical activity. The use of active gaming equipment and creation of new facilities for active gaming is increasing throughout the United States. More research is certainly welcome in defining this new movement. However, active gaming appears to be aligned with adolescent culture and makes available a fun alternative to traditional exercise by allowing children to play the digital games they enjoy and also receive the benefits of physical exercise. Benefits as well as concerns and considerations of this movement are discussed in order to clearly appreciate the impact active gaming is currently asserting on daily physical activity patterns of children and adolescents.


Interview with Nathaniel Tkacz on behalf of the Critical Point of View collective

Capturing literacy learners: Evaluating a reading programme using popular novels and films with subtitles

Faye Parkhill, Jiliane Johnson, and Jane Bates


The multimedia AVAILLL programme is currently being widely implemented into New Zealand classrooms. The Audio Visual Achievement in Literacy Language and Learning (AVAILLL) programme is an inexpensive, innovative, multimedia, six-week intensive reading programme to supplement classroom practice. Popular, subtitled movies and accompanying novels are used with targeted literacy-based activities to engage students in reading. AVAILLL has been implemented effectively in Christchurch, wider New Zealand and US schools. The programme is particularly focussed at senior elementary students (10-13 year olds) and is appropriate for variable ability classes. This paper reports on a large experimental research study examining the effectiveness of the AVAILLL programme. Findings from six New Zealand schools indicated gains in comprehension and vocabulary, with sustainability of improvement over a six-month period. Qualitative data revealed a noteworthy increase in fluency and engagement in reading. This research provides classroom practice with experimental research support.


Review of Key Competencies in the Knowledge Society Conference 2010: E-learning and computer competency research in the age of social media

Michael Nycyk


In September 2010, I attended the Key Competencies in the Knowledge Society (KCKS) conference, held as part of the International Federation for Information Processing World Computer Congress (WCC) in Brisbane, Australia. The WCC is held every two years in a host nation and was organised by the Australian Computer Society. The uniqueness of this conference is the mix of commercial and corporate sectors, nonprofit organisations, government departments, schools and academic researchers from many countries who present academic and commercial research.