Going Mobilely Digital in Religious Education

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This blog will be about my experiences of going mobilely digital with my Year 12 Religious Education class. Because two thirds of the class have access to either iPod Touches or iPhones, I have sourced a set of iPods for those who don’t own one or the other. It is my intention to teach the Religion and Life 1C/D units using iPod/iPhone technology. I will survey and interview my students over the twenty weeks that will make up their class time up to the end of Term Three. In Term Four, I will publish the results of my research.

In a digital society, learning becomes increasingly mobile. Mobile digital communication devices are just like a writer’s notebook, but with the potential to lay bare the world’s treasures – and also its shame. The world of the writer who makes copious notes throughout the day can become the norm for the student. The practice of texting friends can become the practice of note making as students think about the focus of their learning adventures.

I plan to produce readings as PDFs, which they will be able to load into iBooks via iTunes. One of the first activities will involve them in the task of copying a PDF to a reader, such as USB disk, or GoodReader Lite, both being free apps. Then they will be directed to copy parts of the document and pasting them into a note which they will make, first in Evernote, and second, in Springnote.

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Hello world!

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Hi! My name is Pat Branson. Actually, it’s Richard Patrick Branson. In my family, in each generation, there is one male with the first name of Richard, although the name is never used. You can understand why it’s so these days because I am often confused with Sir Richard Branson of Virgin fame.

I was born in Subiaco a long time ago and most of my life has been spent in WA. My childhood was spent in the country. We lived in Norseman, a gold-mining town south of Kalgoorlie, and my Dad worked on a mine there until he heard the call of the truck and went trucking for many years. Eventually, he settled down to selling trucks and was known for some years and Mr Mack because he sold Mack trucks to many of the big trucking companies in WA.

I went to all sorts of Catholic schools – I’m a Catholic and proud of it – and ended up at Trinity College for the final years of my secondary schooling. For some years after that, I was a member of a religious order and went to uni in Sydney. I was in the first group of students at Macquarie University in Sydney.

While my initial studies were in the Arts area – a double major in English literature – I have dabbled in other areas, including Maths, Geology and Geophysics. Since leaving the religious order, I have continued studying and have completed a MEd degree and a PhD, both in research into aspects of religious education. Currently, I am studying how to create apps that relate to RE and the life of Catholic schools.

My faith is important to me. We (my wife, my daughter and me) live in Armadale and we belong to the St Francis Xavier parish, which is where we go to Mass each week. If we aren’t there on a Sunday evening, you will find us at Mass in the Holy Spirit Chapel at NDA.