Life of Rosie is a fiction text aimed at meeting the needs of stage 1 students. The digital text was developed with the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) syllabus in mind (NSW PDHPE Syllabus 2018).
The audience is children aged six to eight although can be made adaptable to children in early stage one. As the users identified are young they have many potential needs. This includes their ability to interact with the text, understand what the text is about and apply this knowledge to a range of scenarios. Another key identified need is ensuring that the text utilised in the digital story was not about the reading level for those targeted. This text has a real world purpose with a study conducted on parents and children in Australia stating “that despite distinguishing the relative healthy value of different foods and activities, most children reported that they regularly ate unhealthy foods and frequently spent their unstructured time in sedentary pursuits“ (Hesketh, Waters, Green, Salmon, & Williams, 2005).
The intended purpose of the text is to meet the outcome:
PHS1.12 Recognises that positive health choices can promote wellbeing (NSW PDHPE Syllabus 2018).
This key learning outcome taken from the New South Wales PDHPE Syllabus has many indicators attached including positive and negative influences on health, smoking, sun care, different types of medication and ways of staying healthy. While all of these components need to be taught throughout the duration of the year, the text created focuses primarily on ways of staying healthy, in particular eating a balanced diet (NSW PDHPE Syllabus 2018). Matthews (2014) states that digital story telling can be positive in the health sector has it contributes to enhancing understanding to assist practitioners. The text is designed to sit at the beginning of a PDHPE unit as a way of introducing students to ways of achieving a balanced diet but also including aspects about the differences between all children. The protagonist, Rosie, does not want to listen to adults around her but rather takes the time to reflect on why she is different from her peers around her. The text aims to provide minimal opportunity for the focus discussion to be around body image and weight loss but rather on the bodies reaction to making poor food choices such as being out of breath and not keeping up with friends when they are playing games.
This text sits on a website supported by collaborative learning opportunities for students. As Tackvic (2012) suggests, any curriculum that entails writing, as the PDHPE syllabus does, can enhance students’ perceptions of expressing themselves through the written word. Through providing wondering questions in the digital text with the chance to pause the text, students can be engaged in a discussion however further to this the ability for students to engage to further materials on the website through writing provides these opportunities. This is further enhance by the use of the flip book with associated key words. Many primary setting utilise word walls to engage students in understanding unfamiliar words associated with a topic. This was done purposefully to engage students in key words associated with the PDHPE syllabus. By providing links to further sites which can be explored linked to healthy eating and looking after our bodies students can learn the topic with greater detail.
Diverse learning needs are met through the ability of the teacher to differentiate the text. As Usher (2016) discussed visual storytelling refers to an attempt to the story to be represented by more than data. The teacher can provide a voice over for the video while it plays to support lower literacy needs and students can take small elements of knowledge away with them. However further to this through the use of graphics on the site and the way the words are written through Rosie’s Story the reader can feel immersed no matter the literacy level. Through making the text fiction the topic of healthy eating is personalised and made real to students. This was also complemented through mentioning of things that most children do at age 6 or 7 such as playing tip on the playground.
The text can be utilised by a range of different stages and ages to meet varying degrees of need across the PDHPE NSW syllabus.
Hesketh, K., Waters, E., Green, J., Salmon, L., & Williams, J. (2005). Healthy eating, activity and obesity prevention: a qualitative study of parent and child perceptions in Australia. Health promotion international, 20(1), 19-26.
Matthews, J. (2014). Voices from the heart: The use of digital storytelling in education. Community Practitioner, 87(1), 28-30. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/1474889132?OpenUrlRefId=info:xri/sid:primo&accountid=10344
NSW PDHPE Syllabus. (2018). PDHPE K–6 | NSW Education Standards. [online] Available at: https://educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/portal/nesa/k-10/learning-areas/pdhpe/pdhpe-k-6-syllabus [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
Tackvic, C. (2012). Digital storytelling: Using technology to spark creativity. The Educational Forum, 76(4), 426. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/10.1080/00131725.2012.707562
Usher, N. (2016). Interactive journalism: Hackers, data, and code: University of Illinois Press.