Week 13: Get to know whats Popular

As teachers we need to get to know our students what their likes and dislikes are and what they view to be popular amongst their peers.  By knowing this we can then implement it in the class and engage with the students and meet them where they are at.  Pop culture is a useful tool as the students are more willing to learn when it is fun and engaging.  Meeting students where their interests lie allows educators to better communicate with their pupils. Students who aren’t interested in discussing historical details are likely to open up quickly when you mention a popular YouTube video or sports team.(Staff Writiters, 2013).

This video shows how to incorporate popular movies, and TV shows into the classroom.

In English classes you could also use popular songs and bands to teach various things about the English language


Paul and Andrew (2012, July 11 ). Literary Devices in Pop Culture. http://youtu.be/U_pxfifB6Co

Olsen, C. (2012, November 27th). Literary Devices in Songs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHugBZ9QJ0w


Week12: Game On!! To game or not to game, that is the question?

 Week 9: Learning Pack E: Texts, Literacy’s and New Media:

( Welcome to the Librarians guide to gaming by Gallaway, 2013) (Standard YouTube Licence)

Game on!!!

Today Literacy is more than just reading and writing. 21 Century literacy is digital information communication technology as well as media, programming and visual.”(Gallaway, 2013)

After watching Youtube clip Beth Gallaway (2012) “Welcome to a Librarians guide to gaming”. I was inspired to see how I might include and provide gaming in my lessons.

Games can be both educational and recreational. Studies show that 97% of kids play video games (Mick, 2008). As evidenced from this, gaming is a popular trend with children these days. Schools and libraries have banned gaming given the view that it wastes time and students do not learn anything.

Today, Literacy is more than just reading and writing. 21 Century literacy is digital information, communication technology as well as media, programming and visual (Gallaway, 2013). As teachers we should promote and help develop skills that children will take into future jobs. “21st Century Literacy is the ability to use a range of tools and skills (technological, interpersonal, communication) to effectively participate in the workforce. It includes print, visual, media, multimodal, scientific and many other types and modes of literacy” (ALA, 2013). Therefore, literacy and gaming are interlinked. “If you can’t read, you can’t play as games come with instructions, menus, and more. Learning the language and mechanics of any game, from chess to Little Big Planet, involves acquiring a new vocabulary” (ALA, 2013). After listening to Gallaway and reading the blog “Libraries, Literacy and Gaming”, I have decided to look into the benefits of utilising games within schools and education.

Play is an essential part of children’s growth and children need to play and to explore new and exciting things (Ginsburg, 2007). While gaming is an attractive element of playing, children learn a lot of skills through playing. For example, preschool children love playing traditional board games like Candy Land and Snakes and Ladders. These games teach children  to take turns and cooperate while developing early literacy skills. Memory, matching boards and computer games help preschoolers move from spoken language to print (Lipschultz, 2013).

Reasons to use gaming in schools:

McCalrty (2012) provides the following reasons for gaming to be included within the school context:

a)     games are built on sound learning principles

b)     provides engagement for the learner

c)      provides personalised learning opportunities

d)     teaches 21st century learning skills

e)     provides an environment for authentic and relevant assessment

Squire (as cited in Gros, 2005) states that videogames create experiences whereby learners are immersed in situations in which with tools and resources they solve complex problems. Levy and Murnane; (2004, p.131) also believes that by using games in education children will excel in communication and will have extensive problem solving skills.

Education should be about personalizing each learning experience and catering for the needs all of our students. This can be challenging and difficult in the classroom however. What gaming provides is personalised learning opportunities for children.  Strengths and weaknesses of students can be inferred based on players’ actions during the game (McClarty, 2012). Games can also be adapted to meet the needs of students. Appropriate scaffolding can be provided in games through the use of levels (McClarty, 2012) for example lowering the navigational maps can lower a players cognitive load while playing the game (O’Neil, 2005, p. 19)

Gros (2005) also provides a number of reasons for using gaming in education:

a)     increases ability to read  images, pictures and diagrams

b)     enhances spatial skills

c)      provides opportunities for pariciaptns to keep track of many simultaneous things at the same time

d)     encourages collaboration

e)       opporunities for problem solving

f)     provides higher order thinking

g)     paricipant acquires knowledge

h)       demands the participant to draw conclusions

Gros (2005) states that in recent years there have been a number of studies about the use of computers in schools intended to explore whether games can have a role in supporting educational goals. In fact the benefits as stated above support the use of videogames in learning.  The below table by McFarlane as cited in (Gros, 2005, p.10) shows areas in school where video games can contribute.


(Contribution of videogames in learning: Gros, 2005, p.10)

Teachers Role in Gaming:

The responsibility lies with us the teachers to promote and use gaming in our classrooms for educational and recreational use.  However, most of us are too reluctant to use it because of uncertainty around how to use it.  We may feel insecure and require support during the process (Gros, 2005). Therefore there needs to be support within the school itself to help with implementing games into the curriculum. Gros (2005) mentions that most teachers believe that gaming would support a wide range of strategies that can be very important for learning. On Gallaway’s website, she suggests ways of advocating gaming implementation in classrooms:


(Libraries, Literacy and Gaming by ALA, 2013)

ALA  (2013), website “Libraries literacy and gaming” is a very valuable tool for us to implement gaming in our classrooms. Not only this it also show us how to advocate, checklists about gaming readiness, how gaming relates to different subjects and assessing games. Let us try and use these resources in our classrooms to help develop critical skills in our students that they will need in the future. It might be challenging for those of us who don’t play video games, but I am personally  up for a challenge, how about you?

I am game if you are. Game On!


ALA, (2013). Library, Litearcy and Gaming. http://www.librarygamingtoolkit.org/literacy.html

Gallaway, B. (2013). Welcome to the librarian’s guide to gaming!. [image online] Retreived from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1NHI-Z9j4g [Accessed: 20Oct 2013].

Gee, J. P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 85(2), 33–37

Ginsburg, K. R. (2007). The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds. Pediatrics, 119, 182–191

Gros, B (2007). Digital Games In Education: The Design of games- based learning environments. Journal of Reserach on Technology in eduation 40(1), 23-38 http://www.mrgibbs.com/tu/research/articles/gros_Game_design.pdf

Levy, F & Murnanae, Rj (2004). The new division of labor: How computers are create the next job market. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Universtiy Press.

Lipshultz, Dale. (2013). Librarys, Literacy and Gaming. ALA

McClarty, K; Orr, A.; Frey, P.; Dolan, R.; Vasseileva, V.; and McVay, A. (2012, June) Gameing in education. http://www.pearsonassessments.com/hai/Images/tmrs/Lit_Review_of_Gaming_in_Education.pdf

Mick, Jason. (2008), Software. http://www.dailytech.com/Study+Shows+97+Percent+of+Kids+Play+Video+Games/article12985.htm

O’Neil, HF. Wainess, R. &  Baker, E.L. (2005). Classification of Learning outcomes: evidence form the computer games literature. The Curriculum journal, 16(4), 455-474.

Week 11: What do young people believe to be popular? Pinterest


(123Vector, 2013)

I decided to go and do week 11 very early instead of week 8 as I am still discovering lots of interesting topics. I had asked a variety of young people from age 8 – 20 what kinds of things they believe to be most popular amongst their peers and age group. I then created a pinterest poster with all of the suggestions on it. It was very insightful to see what indeed the young people did think was popular amongst their peers. I found it amazing that the smurfs and avengers were still popular these days and i had put them on my own pinterst poster when i was young they were very popular as well. I was also amazed to find that the gangster rap was poplar and didn’t think that i is quite suitable for those ages group as it talks about killing, acts of violence and other things impressionable teens should not be opened to. It just makes me wonder if their parents actually listen to the words of those songs to see if it is appropriate or not for their children.  Well here is the link to my pinterst 🙂 The overriding theme that most teens think is popular I found is social media hence why I chose that image to for this bloc.




123Free Vectors (2013). Rubber Social Media Icon Vector. http://www.123freevectors.com/rubber-social-media-icons-vector/

Week 10: Interviewing a Youngen

This week we have been asked to interview a young person about what they think is Popular among their peers. However, after doing this I noticed that what one person might think is popular there might be 10 others who think that it is not popular. So it seems to me it comes down to what people like and their interests of what they think is popular. A question that was asked by one of these youngsters was Who says that it is popular? This is a very good question.

Here are the questions I asked from a vareity of young people from ages 15 – 20 both females and males:

  1. Age and Gender
  2. Who are your favourite movie stars?
  3. What are your favourite movies? And what do you believe are your favourite movies amongst your peers?
  4. Amongst your peers what TV shows are popular?
  5. What are your top 4 favourite movies and tv shows?
  6. Who is your favourite tv character?
  7. Do you decide what to read, watch, wear and listen to because its popular? Why or why not?
  8. What kinds of books do you like reading?
  9. What’s your favourite book?
  10. Who is your favourite author?
  11. What are your favourite book characters?
  12. What types of clothes do you think are popular?
  13. What kind of gadgets do you think are popular?
  14. Amongst your age group what kind of singers, bands do you think are popular?
  15. What kinds of video games are popular amongst your friends?

Here are the results from interviewing two teenage girls and two teenage boys: Response to Questionnaire




From a Teacher Librarian persepctive it is great to see that all of the young teengagers that were given the qurestionnaire all enjoyed reading books of some description. It was interesting to see the big variety of genres that were liked from crimes, to biographies, Sci/fi and fantasy, even text books and theology. Most of them answered that they read for enjoyement which is joy to a TLs ears. From the results of the quesitionarie none of the answers that were given were similar at all.

TV Shows:

The teenagers gave a diverse range of answers to tv shows and personalities. From relity TV shows such as Australias Got breaking-bad-all-characterstalent, The X Factor to comedy shows such as THe Big Bang Theory, The Middle, and How I met your mother, to Dramas such as Greys Anatomy, Sherlock, and Castle as well as Q&A. All the tv shows, tv actors,mostly all completely different to one another however, there were some Televeision shows that were common throughout which were: Sherlock, Community, Friends and Breaking Bad. It surprised me that Friends is still popular with young people today. It was popular when I was a teenager as well.


iron man

Again I was surprised by the diverse answers that were given regarding Movies, movies starrs. There again were a diverse range of genres that were mentioned and moves such as: How to train a dragon, Fiddler on the roof, Gladiator, Twligight, Fight club, The Green Mile, Forrest Gump. The movies that got mentioned a couple of times were Pirates of the Caribbean and Shawshank Redemption and anything that had super heroes in it. None of the movie stars were similar in anyway.


From the answers it appears that they are all very diverse. It can be seen from the responses that all teenagers have different opinions about what is popular and what is not. There was a range of different genres when it came to movies, television shows and books from fantasy, romance, crimes, sci/fi, comedy, adventure, action. It brought up questions for me such as if a bigger group was surveyed would there be any more commonality betweeen their answers? What do they really mean by the term popular?

All the teenagers agreed that Pop Culture allows them to share interests with others, share their thoughts, views and reviews and provides entertainment. They also agreed that it allows them to connect with other people who share the same interests as they do through various social networks. All of the teenagers that were interviewed are all part of online communities such as twitter, facebook, pinterest where they can share and give input, collaborate, communicate with like minded teenagers. After doing this Interview, I now have a better understanding of what is popular with teenagers and will be able to incorporate this into teaching.

Week 9: We read to know that we are not alone- Social Reading

addding books

After reading Darcy Moores blog post on Social reading I because I have never really gotten into using any online sharing tools with books I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to have a go myself and what  I could find out. Because Shelfari appealed to my aesthetically I decided  to  play around as I loved how it set all of the virtual books on a bookcase.

I logged onto Shelfari which I found  a bit difficult as I didn’t have an Amazon account so that took a while to set one up. After I logged on I set up a profile. This is where I can add friends, share books with friends and share my shelf on my blog. In this part of the website I can choose books that I want to read later, that I am reading now, or that I have read and add them to my shelf. I decided to add some of these to the bookshelf.

I found that when I click add to my bookshelf a window comes up and gives you a whole heap of options to share what you have read. You can then write a review about the book and give it a rating as well as share it with other friends on Facebook, twitter, blogger.  You can also add a character description, tag the book and have a discussion with the author.

have you

Shelfari shows you what books are popular, subjects, series and lists and tags and authors.

home page

After using this app I decided to reflect on how this might be useful. It allows me to create a book shelf and keep track of all the books that I have read, that I would like to read and books that have similar themes to what I am interested in. Not only this it allows you to see what books your friends are interested in, and allows you to comment and review books and chat with authors of the books that you have read. It allows teacher librarians to see what is popular and to include these in their school library collection and see what is not popular. What this does is allow teacher librarians to cater for the needs of their students. There could be an account that students are able to log in at school and add books that they have read or are interested in reading and add them to the school library online bookshelf. This is a way that teacher librarians can see what is popular and not and what books have been read in their school library.


Moore, D. (2013). Social reading. Retrieved from: http://www.darcymoore.net/2012/04/01/social-reading/

Shelfari. (2013). http://www.shelfari.com/

Week 8: Scholarly article – Resistant readers is all about knowing what their inerests are

Week 8: Popular culture: promoting reading and resistant readers is all about

Connecting with your students.

Use pop culture to connect with students. It’s not ‘dumbing down’ — it’s reaching out (Morgan, 2011).

As a result of reading various articles such as”The Next Page: Putting some Pop in Education“, by Morgan (2011); “Resistance, Loss, and Love in Learning to Read“, by Boldt, (2006) and “Book and Blogs: Promoting Reading Achievement in Digital Contexts“, by O’Sullivan (2012) I believe Popular Culture does have an important place in the classroom. It encourages children who are resistant readers. It promotes reading and helps teachers relate to and bridge the gap between them and their students.

As an example, Boldts (2006) explains how her son Nick hated reading so much that he was put into reading recovery and his “reading development was at risk” (2006, p.1). He was put in the lowest reading group possible and as a consequence her son lost self esteem as he compared himself with friends in higher groups. This resulted in Nick hating school as well as reading.

There are many children out there like Nick. The purpose of teachers is to think of ways to encourage children like Nick to engage in reading and to help them understand that “learning to read is a demand and not a choice”(Boldt, 2006). Like Nick when I was younger, I absolutely hated reading. I believe that if there were teachers out there or programs out which may have encouraged me to read, maybe I would enjoy reading more now view reading as a pleasure.

Focussing on the child’s interests and what is popular socially, is a way to encourage the resistant reader to read.  Boldt (2006) states that a child’s interest and feelings of success, the purposive nature of their work, and the reception of their work by the social audience are key aspects of literacy development and engagement (Artwell, 1998, Avery, 2002; Calkins, 1994; Clkins & Harwayne, 1990; Gravves, 1983; Short, Harste, & Burke, 1995). Likewise Beach and O’brien (2008) believes “based on research on space and learning (Ellsworth, 2004; Leander & Sheehy, 2004), that popular-culture texts and the media cultural space in which they reside, are powerful forms of pedagogy that goes beyond what students acquire from the official school curriculum.”

Brooks (as cited in O’Sullivan, 2012), argues that the ‘interface’ of traditional pedagogical practice, contemporary popular culture and digital technology can enhance the meaning of learning and provide direct links to a students’ world. Pop culture allows teachers to meet the students where they are at given students spend their day immersed in pop culture. The Kasher family foundation report (2010), found that 8 -18 year olds spend more time with media such as TV shows, video games, songs, books and websites than any other activity—an average of more than 7½ hours a day, seven days a week!

Therefore, teachers need to know what is popular amongst teenagers, what their interests are and meet them where they are at in order to engage effectively with their students. For example, students may not be interested in reading MacBeth, however if a popular movie such as Romeo and Juliet is mentioned, there may be opportunity for discussion which may result in willingness to read MacBeth. When brought into the classroom, pop culture allows teachers to connect with students and capture their attention.

Effective teaching hinges upon communication. You can not communicate without entering into the world of those you wish to reach (Morgan, 2011). I agree with what Morgan (2011) says here therefore as teachers we need to enter the world of what interests our students and to understand what things our student’s value and learn how to use all of these tools to engage them in their learning.

According to Morgan (2011) “taken broadly, pop culture is a great way to ignite discussion and begin building those critical relationships. Any academic subject under the sun can be explained in some way by using examples from the myriad places students go for entertainment”. Just look at the 1997 movie Titanic. This movie was rated 1 in the top 100 movies of that year according to IMDb. While this movie is based on actual events it can lead teachers in the classroom to a discussion about the Titanic.

Technology is so critical in communicating to 21st-century classrooms. Morgan (2011) notes that through technology the teachers can actively connect with their students and help them engage with education and help motivate students to learn in new and exciting ways by using various technology. They are empowered by information all the time through the use of Google and other various Web 2.0 tools. As teachers we should embrace this new technology and use it in our classrooms to relate to the students. As Morgan (2011) states “It’s OK to leave the comfort of a well-established lesson or lecture to find newer and current ways of relating. Anybody can teach, but not everybody teaches well. You don’t have to water down the material in order to bring it down to a level that students can grasp”.

Below is a PDF file that can help us win back the reluctant readers in our classrooms:

Reluctant readers

(Reaching Reluctant Readers by T. Brooks, 2013)

Here is a very useful website that describes 10 ways to Build a Reluctant Reader Library:

10 ways                                                               (Screen shot from Random House)

Beach, R. & O’Brien, D. (2008). Chapter 27 : Teaching Popular-Culture Texts In The Classroom. In Coiro, Julie et al, Handbook of research on new literacies, (pp.775 – 804). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Boldt, G. (2001). Resistance, Loss, and Love in Learning to Read. Retrieved from: http://search.proquest.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/docview/215344182/fulltextPDF?accountid=13380

Brooks, T. (2013). Reaching Reluctant Readers. Random House. http://www.randomhouse.com/highschool/RHI_magazine/pdf/RHI06.pdf

IMDb (2013). Titanic. Retrieved from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120338/

Morgan, C. (2011, March 13). Putting some Pop in education. Retrieved from: http://www.post-gazette.com/Op-Ed/2011/03/13/The-Next-Page-Putting-some-POP-in-education/stories/201103130382

O’Sullivan, K. A. (2012). Books and blogs: Promoting reading achievement in digital contexts. In J. Manuel & S. Brindley (Eds.) Teenagers and reading: Literary heritages, cultural contexts and contemporary reading practices (pp. 191-209). South Australia: Wakefield Press/AATE

Rideout, V; Foehr, U & Roberts, D. (2010, January). Generation M2 Media in the lives of 8 to 18 year olds. A Kaiser Family Foundation Study. Retrieved from: http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/8010.pdf

Random House Inc. (2013). 10 Ways to build a Reluctant Reader Library. Retrieved from: http://www.randomhouse.com/highschool/RHI_magazine/reluctant_readers/delatteanderson.html

Random House Ink. (2013). Reaching Reluctant Readers. Retrieved from: http://www.randomhouse.com/highschool/RHI_magazine/pdf/RHI06.pdf

Week 7: Popular Culture When I was a Youngen

Hi, in the 1990s I was at primary school and just remembering what was popular then and looking back on it I find that some of those things are still popular with todays kids such as Smurfs, Teenage Mutant Ninger Turtles, Barbie, Care Bears, My little pony. I decided to make Pinterest poster to show what I was into when I was young. Have fun 🙂

Pinterest(Screen shot from Pinterest)

Week 6: Why Blog with students?

This is an interesting insight about a person who started blogging and not expecting it to take off too good. He explains why blogging enhances the learning in his class and what impact it had on his students.

Truss, D. (2009, October 4). Why I blog with students.


Hi and welcome to this blog. I am studying my Master of Libraianship course through QUT. The subject that I am creating the blog for is “Youth and Popular Culture.” This is my first time blogging so I am not really sure about what I will be doing. I have just finished my first assignment, thank goodness and now I am onto my next assignment which is about blogging. Currently I am not teaching or in a Library situation so hopefully that won’t matter to my blog. The topic for this assignment of blogging will be around about adoescent and things that are popuar for years 1 – 7. The resource pages will be books and tools that they can use. Or maybe I will call it Web 2.0 Pop culture for the classroom. Here is what I will be doing in my blog:


Youth, popular Culture and Texts

Eleventh Stack

A books, movies, and more blog from the staff at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Main.

Brave new world

The fringed curtains of thine eye advance, and say what thou seest yond - Shakespeare, ‘The tempest’

The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh!

Opening books to open minds.

Mr. Library Dude

Blogging about libraries, technology, teaching, and more

Teacher-Librarians connecting . . .

T.ogether E.veryone A.chieves M.ore - T.E.A.M.

Pop Tarts

A look at popular culture and things that sizzle and fizzle

Entering the Educational Digital Landscape

A site for new teachers and returnees.


4 out of 5 Teacher Librarians like Popular Culture

Mind the Gap: Popular Culture and Education

Kellie Spicer - Teacher Librarian

Youth and Pop Culture

Youth and Popular Culture

The Grapevine

A blog about the impact of digital technologies and popular culture on the way children learn and play.